The challenge this month came from Kaja: “pick up a piece of fabric you love, that you are saving for just the right time, and make this that moment.” Then December happened. I did some sewing in December, but only by fits and starts. I told myself I did not have time to start a new project, with the holidays looming. Finally, I had some time to attend to the AHIQ challenge of the month. I went looking for a special fabric, and found four. I had been thinking that each of these might be a featured fabric in its own quilt or something else, but when I looked at them all together, I liked the riot of color and the contrasting patterns. So I decided to cut into all four of them. The red millefiore fabric is the only one that I actually bought new, on deep discount from Craftsy. The rest were collected at different times from the local donation/thrift store where I volunteer (and shop, of course). I never know what I’ll find, but these were all nice one to one and a half yard cuts.
I decided to work through the Floating Squares score in Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters. I’ve had the book since it came out in May last year, and though I had done the Mod Mood Quilt and some bias-curved piecing, I hadn’t actually worked through a full score in the book. I chose the red Millefiore print and the turquoise larger scale print as the fabrics for the squares, and the multi-stripe as the primary filler fabric. I used the multi-stripe as filler for the first and second passes of joining squares, and then began to add in the magenta and orange stripe to complete the larger units. Here are the freehand cut squares. In retrospect, I can see that my size ranges were not quite broad enough, but there it is. Lesson learned for next time.
I have now joined each square with another one using filler fabric, and then again joined the paired squares by twos or more into larger units that are approximately 18″ square (actually more rectangular than square). A surprise in this phase was how big this quilt is going to be…I haven’t ever really measured out or planned the size of an improv piece, but just used fabric until it got as big as it was going to get. Here is a photo of the bigger units over-flowing my midget-size “design wall” which is only about 3 x 5 feet. And these are only about 2/3 of the total big units I completed. I apologize for the bad lighting in the picture, it’s that time of year…and it’s too cold to go outside for a photo shoot!
So far, I like the way it is shaping up. It is decidedly a busy, loud quilt, and I am just ignoring my inner censors telling me that it is too bright and clashy, not enough variation in tone and value, all that stuff. It pleases me, and reminds me of scenes I have seen in some tropical places I’ve visited like Costa Rica and Hawaii. Pura Vida meets Aloha.
The next step is to begin joining all the larger units together. I feel like I’ve been too stingy with the filler fabric, so I’ll be using larger pieces of that, but have not really decided whether they’ll be mixed into all the block joinings, or grouped in certain parts of the quilt, or perhaps around the edges. We shall see. This is an interim report, since I’m about to head out of town for the weekend, and won’t have time to sew or post more before Sunday.
Linking up with Ad Hoc Improv Quilters. Happy New Year 2016 my friends!