Thursday, February 12, 2015

Sewing - Improvisational Quilting

AT the end of 2014 I attended a live quilting class on Creative Live. The class was called "10 Ways to Love Improvisational Quilting" and presented by Malka Dubrawsky.  I've been interested in quilting for a while, but traditional quilting, though beautiful, never really inspired me. Malka was hardly 10 minutes into the class before my curiosity was peeked. By lunch time my fingers were itching to get started.

All I can say is that I completely enjoyed the process. (I thought Malka taught very well and very clearly btw, and the course is available for purchase at the link above if you are interested.)

With Christmas coming up, and a bag with small to very small pieces of scrap Christmas fabric I decided to try my hand at this 'improvisational' quilting idea. 

I wanted a focal point and decided a poinsettia would be good, partly because I have the fabric for that(yellows and reds) but also it features in some of the scraps. I searched the internet for a poinsettia quilt block design, and started to put my pieces together.

Now the whole point of improvisational quilting is that you don't measure and you cut freehand. Which - naturally- means that you will have endless inconsistencies and uneven edges/sizes etc. You can see that clearly here in my pieces. Smaller scraps are added to fill the 'holes' until you have a block piece that can be trimmed to fit a space you have for it. This method means that you continue to design all the time you piece. You make decisions and adjustments all the time. Colour, shape and size is all decided as you go along. I only knew that I wanted this block in the center, that I had a limited amount of fabric and the theme is 'Christmas'

See what I mean by filling in with small pieces and edges that are not straight?

The central yellow square was added and all the blocks sewn to that. Bottom right shows a filler piece sticking past the edge.

And here the edges are all trimmed to leave an (almost) square piece. I just wanted straight edges to continue on, not a square.

Next I added an even (mostly!) strip of the same fabric to frame my block, followed by a series of half square triangles. Inconsistencies abound, mostly because of the sizes of fabric that I had to work with.

Lastly I added strips of green and red in between the half square triangles to make up the gaps and filled the corners with yellow accent pieces. 
Then I framed the piece again, this time with poinsettia fabric on the sides. I did not have enough of that to do the corners too, so the holly fabric filled those gaps.

And that was all the fabric I had.

Next up was quilting it but I had to wait for a walking foot that I had ordered to be delivered before I could do that. The batting I had was too thick for a regular foot.

You can see the finished wall quilt below.

That was literally the only fabric choice I had for the binding, everything else was too small. It measures roughly 22 1/2 " square (57cm) I say 'roughly' because as you can see, it isn't perfectly square. I opted for that, rather than trimming that outer strip of fabric. I thought my eyes would live better with that option.

It is a wonderfully warm and bright splash of colour and will really brighten dark December days in the future.

I have another top pieced and should have enough fabric for one more....will that be the end or the beginning of my quilting journey...I wonder...

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