Sunday, August 25, 2013

Improv Baby Quilt

I wanted to try improv curved piecing, something new to me, which looked interesting.  So I started by cutting 2.5 inch strips from a really bright yellow cotton valance someone had given me, which I'd washed and thrown in the scrap box.  Then I picked out a turquoise bit of scrap and cut that into strips as well.  I hadn't considered that yellow-turquoise color combination until I saw a quilt with similar colors and really liked it.  (I probably have said this before, but I love Pinterest!)


Since my yellow strips were about 10 inches long, I aimed for something 9.5-inch squarish, alternating the yellow and turquoise.  

The yellow scrap netted about four blocks, which I arranged in a way reminiscent of a Gee's Bend quilt.


Then I thought:  Now what? 

At that point, I did what I always do when I hit a wall.  I went to bed.

Got up on day two and started poking through the stash.  Found a fun little Michael Miller scrap that kinda-sorta worked, and made a narrow border.


Again:  Now what? 

Later in the day (and after a nap), I decided to carry on with more improv curved strip piecing.  It was pretty fun, after all.  Pulled a couple more things from the stash, drawing inspiration from that fun border print.  Gray?  Pink?  Sure, why not.


This time, I worked with longer strips, about 20 inches, which I then promptly chopped into five-inch bits and sewed back together in a row.  I was thinking this would be another border, sort of wonky piano key style.


Except I didn't love it.  So now what?  Eh, I think I'll sleep on it.

The next day, I made some more improv curved strip pieces but left them whole this time.  That seemed a better border idea—except they were too short.  Some deconstructing of the previously made row of five-inch pieces followed, which I then used to make the side pieces long enough and also used for corner sections in the border.


Now what?  Do I stop here and make it a wall hanging, or make it bigger, like baby quilt size?  Some of the scraps were running low, so there was that too.  Solution:  Go to bed.

Bright and early yesterday, I took stock of what scraps were left and determined that if I cut 5-1/4 inch strips of the remaining print and turquoise fabrics, I could eek out just enough for a pieced border.  That would bring it to baby quilt size.


And it worked!

This was a fun, creative exercise.  Not a particularly expeditious way to make a quilt, but it did have me trying a different technique and thinking about the improv piecing and design process.  I'll definitely do more like this again.

As for the baby quilt top, now what?  Keep it and finish it up, or donate it?  

You guessed it:  I need to sleep on that.

Edited to add:  To be donated!

http://swimbikequilt.com/2013/07/100-quilts-for-kids-charity-quilt-drive-starts-today.html

10 comments:

Janine said...

I love your sleep on it solution! It obviously works - this just got better and better :)

Mom Wald said...

It looks fantastic as usual. It is amazing what great things you do when you "wing it". Wasn't the quilt of your grandmother's all curved piecing? I think you've nailed it.

Michelle said...

That is a really neat effect! How interesting! It turned into a really happy baby quilt.

And love that Michael Miller fabric. I have some in my stash. :)

Kevin the Quilter said...

I love how you just let it happen after you slept on it with this quilt. It looks awesome, and thoroughly modern. Definitely reminiscent of Gee's Bend, but, with an edge!

Sarah Craig said...

Cute cute cute! And I think you've got the name for it, too - "Sleep On It"!!

Whoop whoop!!

Quiltdivajulie said...

If you suspect you'll have an occasion to gift this beauty, then finish it. I, too, use the "sleep on it" theory . . .

ANudge said...

Thank you for sharing the process of your "sleep on it" quilt - turned out a new modern baby classic.

Shay said...

Well as far as Im concerned all your going to bed in between the steps of this mae was absolutely the best call...I love how this turned out and hearing about your step by step process. Its a real gem and those subtle curves are impressive !

Diane said...

Amazing! I do my best quilt planning in bed... instead of counting sheep I design quilts with my stash... some get made, many do not, and I am going to sleep thinking of something happy instead of worrying about something!

Elizabeth said...

It's been a few sleeps and I'm interested to hear what you're going to do next.

I loved reading about your process. I love those colors together. What a fun improv project!

xo -E

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