Improv Quilt with Jessica Darling

In February I took a workshop called Color Play by Jessica Darling through Portland Modern Quilt Guild.  About a dozen of us each brought a yard of focus fabric, which Jessica called party host fabric.  Then we just started sewing away with whatever coordinating fabrics we brought along.  We also had a communal table where we contributed unwanted scraps and shared with each other.  The concept of this free style sewing was brand new to me and scary.   But with Jessica’s help, I started making blocks.  The way I went about it was to pick one main block and then expounded from there.  Here’s what it looked like after the workshop.


Then came the hard part.  Putting it all together.  Even though it was “improv”, I tried to keep the blocks in certain proportions, i.e. 12″ square, 10″ x  6″, and so on, so at the end I wouldn’t have to do crazy math.  Well, that was a nice thought.  It didn’t always go that way.  In order to fit certain blocks in certain position, I had to make more blocks.  It kept growing.  So, my solution was to draw a diagram.



In the end, I had to do crazy math because I had cut things wrong or read my diagram wrong.  One nice thing about improv is that you can slap a piece of fabric or cut up and re-sew to fix whatever mistake you made.  Like the 7″ block was adjusted to be 8″.  Overall, it was really fun.  I came up with my own block designs and tried new things.


Now it’s all done!  It’s all free-motion quilting.




Challenge Quilt

NW Quilt Guild every year asks its members to create challenge quilts for the annual quilt show.  The theme for 2015 was “grow where you are planted.”  We were given four 2.5 inch square fabric with vegetable print.  Mine was kale.


Normally I would not take on this kind of a project because I’m not good at designing based on a theme.  I’m not creative in that way.  But I was sitting next to the person in charge of the challenge when she was recruiting participants.  I could not say no.  That was a few months ago.  I put it on the back burner thinking I’ll get to it one of these days.  Famous last words.  Five days ago I get this email reminder the quilt was due April 1st but they were collecting finished quilts today at the guild meeting if possible.  I had no design in mind.  I spent hours trying to come up with a design.  I flipped through magazines and books I had to draw inspiration.  I  finally came across a log cabin pattern that looked like a landscape.

I tried to design it using EQ7 software.  Well, my home printer only prints 8.5 by 11.  So,  the pattern looked like this.  But it all worked out.  Very simple design.  My sewing room  looked like a hurricane came through after I was done.  I had to pull all kinds of scraps and various colors from my stash. You’d think I have every color and some more in my closet full of fabric stash.


Here’s the end result.  Calling it “Four Seasons”.  My interpretation of the theme is “I draw inspiration from each season.” Can you tell which one is what season?