I made a quilt. Yes, I know… nothing new for me, but this one is a little different. I made my first, truly improvised, quilt.
According to dictionary.com - improvise means : to make, provide, or arrange from whatever materials are readily available.
That’s exactly what I did. My scrap tub was overflowing, so I tipped it out over my sewing space and began sorting the fabric into sizes. In hindsight, tipping it out onto a space that wasn’t my sewing space would have been a cleverer option, but hey, I was inspired and wanted to start sewing before I was needed elsewhere in the house.
I began all of my blocks with the same fabric (the fabric pictured on the bottom right of the image – white with tiny navy dots).
I cut the fabric (without a ruler) in various shapes and sizes. Some square-ish and some more rectangular. I began sewing coloured strips around this white centre - then pressing and trimming.
It started as a basic log cabin style block… until it didn’t. I got bored just sewing around in a circle pattern, so some of the blocks have strips added onto the same side.
As I was running out of long strips, I just joined smaller pieces together to make a long enough strip. If you look at the image below, what I just wrote, will make more sense.
I bordered some of the blocks on 2 or 3 sides with solid white/cream fabric. This wasn’t measured, just sewn on. Again, in hindsight, a little measuring wouldn’t have gone astray, but I was being all improvisational and free-like.
Can I just say, that having always made quilts, in which blocks are of the same size, or following a specific pattern which will end up square, this was really difficult for me.
Being free was hard work!!!
I lay out my blocks on the floor and added little bits of white or cream fabrics if they were much smaller than their neighbouring blocks.
Then I sewed the rows together.
I trimmed (or should I say straightened) the rows along the (long) lengths. By laying the rows out on the floor, I could see that some of the rows were a fair bit shorter than others, so rather than just add white fabric, I created a couple more improv blocks to add on the ends of these shorter rows.
Once the rows were all the same approximate length – I sewed the quilt top together. Yay!
I held off square it up precisely, until after quilting.
I used some black and white Ikea text fabric for the backing, along with some extra strips of cute animal prints to add enough width to the backing.
I rolled it onto my quilting frame and decided on little loops. Lot’s of lovely little loops.
And to make it a little more interesting, I quilted words in among the loops. I added all of our names. I also included words like Love, Laugh, Dream, Inspire, Hope, Create… and few others, which I can’t remember. I’ll have to go and search for them along with the rest of the family.
If you look in the red and white spot fabric above, the word “Love” is quilted in.
The quilt was squared off once quilted and bound in a black with tiny white spot fabric.
The best part of making the quilt was coming down stairs in the morning, to find my kidlets snuggled under it, watching Saturday morning cartoons.
And essentially, that is why we make quilts… to warm our loved ones. Playing with pretty fabrics is just a perk, right?
Have you made an improv quilt before?
What are your thoughts on improv piecing and quilts, versus the traditional method?