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!

January One Monthly Goal

I was very excited to see the new One Monthly Goal link up hosted by Red Letter Quilts.  I enjoyed participating in the 2015 Finish Along, and am currently working on my goal list for the first quarter of 2016.  One Monthly Goal caught my attention because I sometimes (ok-frequently) get distracted, and I am hoping that this helps me to focus on completing at least one project each month.

For the first month I am going to focus on one of my oldest WIP.  The only reason I’m not calling a UFO is that I have had brief moments of progress on it over the last few months.  Please meet my bauble quilt:

Baubles Quilted Process Shot

Baubles: Quilted and waiting for thread tails to be buried and trimmed

This project started in November 2014 when I made the blocks, and in December 2015 I did all over free motion longarm quilting on this quilt.  I’m in love with it!Baubles Blocks

It has been squared up, and I buried the threads tonight.  The only things left to do are adding binding and embroidering “hanging string” lines for the baubles.

 

Giveaway Day Winners!

Today, I am so excited to announce the winners of the two Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day prizes I offered this time around!  The first giveaway was for a PDF pattern of Rainbow Rotary that is for sale on Craftsy.  The second giveaway was for an edge to edge longarm quilting service.  I do have a few openings for edge to edge quilting before Christmas, so please email me if you would like help finishing up those last minute gifts!

Rainbow Rotary

Rainbow Rotary

Comments were numbered in the order they were submitted, and then the random number generator did the work.

The winner of the PDF Pattern of Rainbow Rotary is Margaret!  I hope that this pattern inspires you to give a mini a try, or I would love to see how you incorporate it into a larger quilt.Rainbow Rotary WinnerMargaret

Free edge to edge longarm quilting is headed to Lauren and her mom!  I am looking forward to working on either one of your quilts!  Screen Shot 2015-12-15 at 6.18.54 PMScreen Shot 2015-12-15 at 6.22.06 PM

Congratulations ladies!  I have sent you each an email as well.

Thank you all so much for all of your suggestions for tutorials you would like to see in the coming year!  A lot of people are interested in seeing more on various types of machine quilting, so I will plan to incorporate some more posts on that topic in 2016!

Win Edge to Edge Longarm Quilting for Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day!

Update:  This Giveaway is now closed.  Congratulations Lauren!

Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day rolls around twice a year and today I am thrilled to offer free edge to edge quilting for a lap or twin sized quilt.  It is such an honor to be involved in your creative endeavors, and I love to help you bring your quilt tops one step closer to being used and cherished by your loved ones.Edge to Edge Quilting Services

I quilt on a computerized A-1 Elite machine, guaranteeing beautiful, accurate stitches.  The edge to edge designs I am currently offering are all quilting patterns that I have created myself using AutoCad.

Interlocking is my most popular design, and it looks great with a variety of contemporary quilt styles.  Graphic block based quilts, improvisationally pieced designs, whole cloth quilts, and T-shirt quilts all look great with this quilting design.

Interlocking Edge to Edge Quilting Design

Interlocking Edge to Edge Quilting Design

Floral Spirals has a whimsical feel and is a lovely way to soften a graphic pieced design or add interest to a simply pieced or whole cloth/panel quilt.

Floral Spiral Edge to Edge Quilting Design (finished quilt has been washed to soften and enhance crinkle effect)

Floral Spiral Edge to Edge Quilting Design (finished quilt has been washed to soften and enhance crinkle effect)

I am adding new designs all the time, and I can also work with you to create a customized edge to edge pattern to coordinate with your fabrics or quilt top.

This giveaway will be for quilting services for one quilt that is up to 6,000 square inches, but I still have plenty of openings available if you would like to have your quilts done for Christmas!  My edge to edge quilting rates are 2 cents per square inch.  (To calculate the square inches, multiply the quilt top length by the quilt top width.  For example a quilt measuring 50″ x 70″ would be 3,500 square inches.  Multiply that by .02 to determine the quilting cost.  3,500 x .02 = $70.00 )  Please email me at cassandra(at)thenotsodramaticlife(d0t)com if you would like more information about the quilting services I currently offer.

How to Enter

  • This giveaway is open from Wednesday, December 9 to 11:59pm Eastern on Sunday, December 13th.  I will notify the winner both by email and on the blog by Wednesday, December 16th.
  • Due to Shipping costs, this giveaway is only open to United States shipping addresses (I do have another giveaway of a PDF pattern that is open internationally, so I hope all of my readers will check it out!)
  • If you are selected, I will send you a form to fill out and enclose with your quilt top, quilt backing (which should measure at lease 8″ larger than the top in both width and length), and batting of your choice.  You are responsible for shipping these items to me.*  I do ask that your quilt top arrive between the the winner announcement of this giveaway and March 31, 2016.
  • Turnover is usually 7-10 days from the time the quilt top is received, although it is sometimes sooner.  I will provide a single, solid color, high quality quilting thread for your quilt.  Aurifil is my most common thread, but I will occasionally use King Tut or WonderFil.  Once the quilting is complete, it will be shipped to you via the USPS in a priority flat rate box at no charge to you.*
  • In the coming year, I am hoping to include several tutorials of quilting/textile techniques on the blog.  You may enter this giveaway by leaving any comment, but I would really love to hear about what kinds of tutorials you would be interested in seeing!
  • The winner will be determined by a random drawing.

* In the event that the selected person is located in the Central or West Central part of Ohio, an in person pick-up/drop-off may be arranged.

Good Luck!  Please be sure to check out all of the other fantastic giveaways going on this week on Sew Mama Sew!