Tag Archives: improv design

Diluting Orange

A while back I made a quilt of 6 inch squares that was way too orange. I don’t really remember what I was thinking.

orange infant quilt

uh oh

The brown fabric did have orange in it.

curves-brown fabric

I either forgot about proportion or decided to ignore it. So the top has been on time out until I could figure a way to dilute the orange. I’d considered “slice and insert” but that seemed it would take too many narrow strips to accomplish my goal.  Along comes Sherri Lynn Wood’s Improv Handbook. I decided Score 7, Layered curves, would be the ticket. (Why start with #1 when you can start with #7? And there are plenty of cross references where needed.)

I divided the original top into four and will add three fabrics to each 18-inch square. I’ll end up with 12 blocks around 16-17 inches square.

Here is the first cut.

curves first cut

And here are all three after the second cut.

I’m being cautious: Wood says gentler curves are easier to piece. I’ll probably be more daring by the end.  I’ll finish all 12 and lay them out and then decide if I need any more cuts. Or sashing. I’m aiming for 50 x 70.

I had planned to use three shades of blue; however, the third one is too close to the darker one here. It would work most places, but not where it isnext to the darker one. So I may just use two.

Linking with Needle and Thread Thursday (button in sidebar)


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More on Improv

The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters: A Guide to Creating, Quilting, and Living CourageouslyThe Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters: A Guide to Creating, Quilting, and Living Courageously by Sherri Lynn Wood

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My opinion changed as I progressed.

At first I wasn’t thrilled with the assumption that I didn’t do improv because I was afraid of failure and that I needed meditations to decrease anxiety. I am not afraid of failure, and I try many new things. I am not convinced that I need to abandon use of rulers entirely. I did not like the first several “scores” (what Wood offers instead of patterns). But I usually finish a book I start, and as I continued I began to like the samples better and  Wood also decreased the assumption of fear. So by the end, I enjoyed the book.

In the ten “scores” and the color chapter there are an interesting variety of approaches to improv piecing. I’d say I started out with about two or three of her tactics in my repertoire. It was good to have options expanded. Her explanations were mostly clear (and I reasoned, on those few times when I didn’t understand, So what? it is improv.)

A valuable section is her tools section where Wood explains techniques unique to improv: how to solve problems and inconsistencies that occur because of the free style cutting and stitching, like bumps and bubbles and matching up irregular seams other than straightening them.

A valuable book for quilters who want to do improv in more ways than random bits of fabric and wonky log cabin.

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Mystery Quilt Clue Two Finished

It took a lot of gazing and shifting of the circle to finally decide on this:
Circle insertedWhile the folded fabric looked fine on the right in the audition (here), when I played with a larger circle there was no “right” place. I gave up my original thought, which was to insert something into the squares that did not get the red streak. It occurred to me that there would be other chances to put something there. So I started moving the circle around. It is small plate size–wait a minute while I measure it–I’m back. The diameter is eight inches. I had thought I wanted ten inches, but I don’t think any larger would have worked.

And I must say, it is the best job of inserting a circle that I have done yet. I use the Ricky Tims no-pins method. On my other tries I’ve ended up with small tucks or pleats. The last time I tried I didn’t trim the seam allowance down to the scant quarter inch, so then the concave couldn’t stretch enough to fit the convex. And the first time I tried a smaller circle than recommended. On all previous times I’d been rather careless about the angle of my registration marks so that matching them wasn’t exact. This time I was careful to make them perpendicular to the circle line. Both details helped a lot.

Clue three has been give–click if you want details. I am pretty sure where I want to put the two “neutral” rectangles; I am totally clueless where I might put three triangles. I have two weeks to ponder.

Oh, and I cheated a bit. Directions were to stitch all squares. I stitched only the ones that needed to be together to add the circle. It is easier to work with small pieces. We have photographic evidence of my plan, so I’ll not be able to cheat and rearrange any squares.

Linking to Design Wall Monday even if it is a design floor. And Let’s Be Social and WIP Wednesday–use button on sidebar.


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Mystery Clue Two Auditions

The mystery continues. From Step 1, here, I’m ready to move on. Moira of The Quilted Snail posted clue two. First assemble blocks as you wish.

Layout 1

Well, if I arrange the red as I want it, it would turn out like this. Very symmetrical arrangement of the bordered, unbordered and of the two without red strips.

On the other hand, I could focus on the borders.

layout 2I lose the alternating vertical/horizontal of the red, but get both “neutral” colors in each side. Hmmm. The two without red are together. In spite of  (because of?) the loss of symmetry, I rather like it.

After sewing them together we are to add a circle somewhere that it touches two squares. I have two fabrics to audition for that circle. First the purple–it has a big aqua flower in it, and here is a place I know that the piece will be big enough to show it. Ah here is where the mystery rub comes in. Since I don’t know what is coming next, I don’t know if I’ll have another chance.

Auditioning purple batik

I’m thinking a ten-inch circle; it depends on what size plates and bowls I have for patterns. Here is a close up to show the aqua flower.

flower, detail

I have a second purple in my six “other” fabrics, so it would not stand alone. But there is also a reddish  batik with aqua marks that looks good.

Auditioning red batikAs much as I want to use the purple, I think this one looks better. It seems to finish the red markings. I’ll have to take my chances on using the purple with the whole flower showing later.

Linking up with Needle and Thread Thursday and maybe some others. Depends on what else may get worked on. I know I’ll not be linking with any of the Friday finish blogs–no finishing is going to happen. And it isn’t an art quilt. Another week for those.


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