A few months ago, I was really happy to receive an email from Kelly @ My Quilt Infatuation. She had a brand new book coming out this spring, teaching a fantastic improv technique to make a whole variety of fun projects … and she asked if I wanted to make one of the quilts to help celebrate the launch of the book.
Her Grand Bazzar quilt on the cover fit my style so perfectly, that I was super happy to say, YES!
Now, I am not a stasher and typically don’t make scrappy quilts – I admire them, but my brain doesn’t work that way (easily). I typically make a quilt and pass on any leftovers to a new home. I don’t have a great deal of storage space in my studio, and I just get immense satisfaction from finishing a project, getting rid of any leftovers, and starting the next project with a clean slate and sewing space. That being said, thanks to my six Gloaming fabric quilts from quilt market last fall and preparations for my Moonlit Paths quilt – this year’s free annual mystery quilt along, I do happen to have a great big bin of Gloaming scraps hanging around in my studio. Since there’s such a good variety of shades, I thought they’d be perfect for a scrappy little project that would stretch my comfort zone a bit.
Improvisational piecing is not a technique I’ve worked with a great deal, but after playing around with it, I’m a bit smitten! Kelly’s process has you sewing together large blocks of scraps, and then sub-cutting your quilt pieces. It was very relaxing to just sew blocks together without any rhyme or reason. I’m typically left with a usually unproductive half-hour between lunch and my afternoon school-run … and that turned out to be just about the right amount of time to whip together a few of these blocks.
My biggest stumbling block – my fault, not Kelly’s – was over analyzing my block units. I would typically start out with some large scraps, and then keep sub-cutting and sub-cutting them down. Some of my pieces turned out quite tiny with some jam-packed seam intersections, but overall, the variety of size lends a charm and a true improvisational feel to the finished project.
I found that once I just relaxed a bit and just let my blocks turn out how they would, things worked out much better. This style of improv is so enjoyable and easy, and the projects are so fun that they are approachable for all quilters of all levels – improvisationalists or not!
I made a miniature version of Kelly’s Grand Bazaar quilt with dark and light-themed blocks , against a subtle grey woven background. I am very excited to be back home from Quilt Festival and get to work on quilting and binding it.
Be sure to stop by Kelly’s website every week to see more projects from her book, and to find out how you can win your very own copy of the book, Stash Statement. Thanks so much for sharing your great book, Kelly!