Modern Improv Round Robin Quilt

Improv is one of my favorite techniques, and it was even more fun when we added a group of quilters and some time limits!

Modern Improv front view

Last Fall, one of my local quilt shops offered a Round Robin Improv class that was loosely based on the book, The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters: A Guide to Creating, Quilting, and Living Courageously, by Sherri Lynn Wood. (I currently have no affiliate links)  For the class, we each brought a bin of scraps along with a larger piece of our signature fabric and two other pieces of fabric.

Yardage to mix with scraps for the upcoming improv class

Yardage to mix with scraps for the upcoming improv class

For my signature fabric, I selected the colorful Alison Glass print shown above.  I loved the print, and I thought it would be fun to have a piece that held lots of opportunities for fussy cutting and had plenty of colors that would coordinate with a variety of fabric types.

The round robin format meant that we each worked on every quilt top in our group of six. Our scrap bins, along with our other fabrics (except our signature material) get passed around the group in half hour increments.  In the first time slot we each worked on our own quilt, using our signature fabric and any of the other materials we brought with us.  To make this even more interesting, for the entire day, we weren’t allowed to use any rulers or rotary cutters- scissors or tearing were our only fabric cutting options!

The section of the improv quilt that came out of the class

The section of the improv quilt that came out of the class

When the first time slot ended, we passed our quilt top and all of our fabrics (except our signature material) to the next person in the group.  The main goal was to incorporate our signature fabric into each quilt and make sure our contribution to the quilt top was attached before the end of the half hour time limit.  This is where my background working in theatre may have given me an advantage:

  1. I am used to working on other people’s designs/projects so I was not afraid that I would “ruin” their work (As a side note- everyone’s quilt tops looked really good, so this fear that a lot of people in the group expressed proved to be unfounded!)
  2. Time limits are a fact of life in theatre- Over the years I have learned to do the best possible work in the time allowed.

As we went through each top, I fell into a rhythm where I looked through the fabric in the first minute or two and determined how to incorporate my signature print.  My signature print went really well with some fabric collections, but not as well with others.  Fortunately, we could use any amount of the signature fabric, and my material had lots of different colors that did help it to tie in with various color schemes.  I found it really helpful to have a print conducive to fussy cutting because it gave me a jumping off point, and then I could design on the fly for the rest.

Churn Dash Improv block with my signature fabric fussy cut in the center

Churn Dash Improv block with my signature fabric fussy cut in the center

My goal was to sew steadily until the final five minutes, then attach what I had done to the main body of the quilt top and press the entire piece before passing it on.  My personal goal was to always hand off a piece that was relatively square.  We weren’t allowed to cut off anything that another group member added, so I tried to be nice and not give anyone a difficult shape to deal with :)

I tried to not let the lack of rulers limit the designs I used.  I made half square triangles (HST) by pressing (instead of drawing) a diagonal line across a square and stitching on either side, and made flying geese in a similar manner to how I would normally approach the task.  I tried to not let the fact that it wouldn’t be perfect deter me from trying different designs, and I ended up making variations on lots of traditional blocks including log cabins, pinwheels, flying geese, churn dash and wonky stars.

Modern Improv Wonky Star block

Modern Improv detail A

Modern Improv Flying Geese

I wish I had taken photos of everyone’s project, but in the heat of the moment, I was much more focused on just getting my contributions finished!

By the end of the day we each had a top that was a bigger than a mini, but smaller than a lap quilt, so I went home and added to mine to create a generous lap quilt.  I stuck to the no rulers or rotary cutter rules and tried to work at a similar pace to what I had done during the class.

The backing is constructed using several different fabrics, but these were all larger pieces than those used on the quilt top.

Modern Improv back view

In keeping with the spirit of the class, I did the quilting with no rulers and tried to move quickly while embracing a wide range of designs.

Modern Improv pinwheel and quilted geese

The binding is created exclusively from my collection of binding scraps that I connected randomly and continue the improv feeling all the way to the edge of the quilt.

Modern Improv binding detail

I cannot recommend this type of class enough- it was so much fun!  If you are in the Columbus, Ohio area this class is being offered again in March at Quilt Beginnings.  It was a great opportunity to move out of my comfort zone and work collaboratively with a wonderful group of quilters.

Modern Improve Quilt draped

 

Quilt Stats

Title:  Modern Improv Round Robin

Size: 53″x71″

Techniques:  Improvisational Piecing (no rulers or rotary cutters!)

Quilting:  Hand guided free motion (no rulers!)

Fabric:  Alison Glass print, two prints from the Zen Chic line, lots of scraps

Batting:  Warm and White

Thread:  Pieced with Gutermann Mara 100, Quilted with white cotton 50wt Wonderfil

Binding:  Scrappy

This was my One Monthly Goal for February:

Goal #2 is Complete!

Goal #2 is Complete!

February One Monthly Goal

My works in progress list is extensive, and I have been a bit undecided on what my one goal for this month should be.  Ultimately, practicality is winning out.  February is a short month that also will include a trip to QuiltCon, so the project I will complete this month is my Improv Round Robin quilt.Improv round robin process

This project is a generously sized lap quilt that I started in a class last October and quilted shortly thereafter.  To finish this one up, I just need to square it up and bind the edges.  Hopefully I can manage that!

The Web We Weave: Mini Quilt #33

Happy Halloween!  I have been eager to try out metallic threads with the longarm, and this Halloween-appropriate mini quilt was a great opportunity to experiment.  Web We Weave front view

The piecing on this quilt top is very simple with only five pieces.  I cut a 12.5″ square out of solid black fabric and then slashed it in two places where I wanted to indicate abstract tree branches.  The fabric for the trees is a batik that is actually printed to look like trees, but I cut it on the cross-grain to create a Birch tree-esque effect on a slightly larger scale.  The resulting quilt top gave me a great space to play with the metallic thread.

Now for the fun part!  I was a bit nervous about trying metallic thread since I hadn’t yet ordered any specialty needles for the longarm.  The metallic thread I chose was a silver WonderFil with a rayon core.  I loaded a medium grey cotton quilting thread in the bobbin, and decided to give it a try.  It was awesome!  One of the nice features of the A-1 machine is a small pad that the top thread feeds through which holds a few drops of liquid thread conditioner.  It really does help decrease thread breakage.  I practiced some ruler work with the main lines of the web, defining the tree branches, and some background work with black cotton thread.  The curved areas of the web are free motion.Web We Weave back view

The backing and binding is made from the same black fabric used in in the quilt top.  The batting is Hobbs 80/20 in black which I pulled from a sample pack I received earlier this year.  It was so nice to not have to worry about white batting working its way through the fabric of the quilt.  My cat adds enough white fluff to my dark quilts without having the batting contribute!

Quilt Stats

Title:  Web We Weave

Size:  12″ x 12″

Techniques:  Machine Piecing

Quilting:  Ruler work and free motion quilting on an A-1 Elite longarm machine

Fabric:  American Made Brand black cotton and a batik print from my stash

Batting:  Hobbs 80/20 Batting in black

Thread:  Pieced with black Gutermann Mara 100, Quilted with silver metallic WonderFil thread with a rayon core (with medium grey Signature cotton thread in the bobbin), black cotton quilting thread

Binding:  Matching bias binding, cut in 2″ wide strips, machine stitched to the front, hand stitched on the back

What was new?

Metallic thread on a longarm

Quilt 33 / 50

Quilt 33 / 50

Goal #1 is finished!

Goal #1 is finished!

 

2015 Fourth Quarter Finish Goals

It’s hard to believe that 2015 will be coming to an end so soon.  This quarter will mark the one year anniversary of my blog, and there has been a great deal of evolution in my quilting life since that time.  Last quarter was a super productive one for me, but most of what I ended up doing was not on my original goal list.  I am listing everything I currently have in the works. While I know that everything will not get finished, it is helpful to me to keep an eye on everything that I have going.2015 Finish Along Q4This quarter, I will continue to link up with the Finish Along hosted by Adrianne at On the Windy Side.

2015 FAL at On the Windy Side

So here is my ridiculously long goal list- think big, right!?

The Major Goals

Goals 1-18

Finish up Mini Quilt Mania!  I am excited with everything I have designed and discovered during this project, and I am looking forward to finishing up and sharing the remainder of these quilts.

Mini Mania 2015

Goal 19

My first Instagram mini quilt swap will conclude this quarter.  The top is pieced, and will be getting quilted and sent off in the next week or two.  I really hope my partner likes the finished product!Mini Swap Quilt Top

Goal 20

This fabric will become a variation on a plus quilt.  Once this is complete I am planning to release the pattern on Craftsy.Plus Fabric

Goal 21

I am making up making up this Carolyn Friedlander pattern with the hope of possibly teaching a block of the month class at an awesome local shop.  I am super excited about this, and I really hope it works out!CF Quilt

Goal 22

One of the challenges the Modern Quilt Guild has for QuiltCon is triangles.  My personal goal for this project (aside from using triangles :) ) is to experiment with altering fabric prints based on the way they are cut and reconstructed.Triangles

Goal 23

The other challenge for QuiltCon is the Michael Miller fabric challenge.  I have drawn out several designs for this, but now I need to choose one and get it made in time to meet the entry deadline.MM Challenge

Goal 24

I’m eager to make a large version of a mini I made earlier in the year.Violet Quilt

The Minor Goals

Goal 25

Finish up the large version of my Happy New Year mini quilt.  This may be a good project to work on my longarm ruler skills, so I would really like to make time for this to happen soon.

Starburst process

Goal 26

I started putting this “Baubles” quilt together in Q3 from the blocks I made last December.  I would like to at least get the top together so it will free up my design wall!Baubles

Goal 27

The pillow that is still awaiting a zippered back and finishing

Pillow Top

Goal 28

The Bionic bag that probably only has about 2 hours of work left on it, but has been hanging around far longer than it should

Bionic Bag process

Goal 29

Placemats that need the binding finished

placemat process

Goal 30

I started this hexagon project in order to have some handwork ready to go, so it isn’t really a priority.  I am looking forward to seeing where this project goes.Hexagon process

Goal 31

This potholder style quilt is close to the bottom of the priority list, and most likely won’t even be touched this quartersecret project process

Goal 32

I made several baby quilts last quarter to practice my longarm quilting skills, and these blocks were made up as part of this process.  At some point I would like to finish up these little quilts.Peach Baby Quilt

Goal 33

Another baby quilt in a different color scheme than Goal 32Green Baby Quilt

Goal 33

I’m taking a class next weekend on Round Robin style Improvisational quilting.  It would be nice to finish up the project that we will be working on that day.

Yardage to mix with scraps for the upcoming improv class

Yardage to mix with scraps for the upcoming improv class

I’m going to get some sewing down now :)  What are your goals for the end of the year?

Orange Segment: Mini Quilt #27

This mini is a continuation of my series within a series focusing on a single color in each mini.  Green was entirely free motion quilting, and Yellow and Violet were quilted exclusively with straight lines.  For Orange I decided to combine techniques and use both straight-line and free-motion stitching.Orange Segments

The piecing of the quilt top uses straight white lines to divide the small sections of orange.  Curved lines break up the overall composition of the piece and the expanse of white in the center of the composition left ample room to bring in a strong texture with the quilting.Orange Segments front detail

Quilting this piece started by using a walking foot to define the graphic areas of the quilt.  I extended the straight lines of the white fabric dividing the smaller orange segments to give an architectural element to the project.  The straight line designs continue through three of these segments.  Free motion quilting pulls together the rest of the quilt.  Two Types of orange variegated thread add dimension and texture to the quilt.Orange Segments back view

Binding for this project is scrappy, drawing on several fabrics included in the quilt top design.Orange Segments back detail

Quilt Stats

Title:  Orange Segments

Size: 20″ x 20″

Techniques:  Machine piecing, Improvisational piecing

Quilting:  A combination of straight line quilting done with a walking foot and free motion quilting, both done on a Bernina 1008

Fabric:  White Kona cotton and assorted orange cotton prints

Batting:  Warm and White Cotton Batting

Thread:  Pieced with white Gutermann Mara 100, Quilted with two different colors of WonderFil 50wt variegated cotton thread

Binding:  Scrappy orange binding, cut 2″ in width, machine sewn to the front, hand stitched to the back

What was new?

Orange and White color scheme

Combining straight line and free motion quilting

Quilt 27 / 50

Quilt 27 / 50

Goal #4 is finished!

Goal #4 is finished!

 I have linked this post up with Sew Cute Tuesday at Blossom Heart Quilts.  Please drop by to see all of the fantastic projects being shared!