I am making a improv block in this tutorial. I have made a few predetermined decisions before I started this block or mini quilt. I wanted it to be a wonky log cabin style with inserts of thin orange fabrics that are about 1 1/4″. It also will be a square 15 inch block that will be sent off as a collaboration with Leah Day!!! She is very inspirational and has tons of information on her blog about quilting and piecing. Her blog is here. She will be a guest on my podcast later this week, so more information about her and her business will be on show notes when it airs. She will post a podcast where she interviews me and will reveal how she free motion quilted this mini quilt in a few weeks.
A few tips, make your pieces way oversized and trim down to desired size. When you freehand cut curves make them gentle and not too drastic-see first pic in the post. I have to slow down when piecing for a smooth curved seam.
I started with a blue rectangle and then free hand cut a curve. Then I sewed the orange strip. Note: I sewed straight orange pieces to the curved cuts in this quilt to accent the wonky feel of the block. More detailed tutorial on curves will be another post in the future.
The pieces are trimmed to be wonky and sometimes I made the seams wonky to add to the effect of it not being square. Add next round of color and trim it as you go, in a log cabin style. I prefer to add the next round with the strips added to be on the side of the previous rows seams.
Now I make some decisions as I go and take a couple of risks, like the next one!
Remember I said to make pieces oversized and trim down? Ok, I decided not to use the dark fabric but it shows that this could still be used if trimmed down.
In this picture I am making more decisions on placement of my color of the oversize strips in the last round. I just keep moving it around till I like it!
Some final thoughts: I learned how to make improv blocks by jumping into the deep end of the pool…. I just grabbed some fabric and tried it. I thought whats the worst thing that could happen, I may throw out a few pieces of fabric? I was ok with that as an option. However, my first attempt worked out and I kept practicing. If the curves are new to you then start with strips of fabric and keep building up your quilt till you like it. Then, try free hand curves later when you have more confidence.
Final step: Square it up and you will have a block or mini quilt !
I can’t wait to see what Leah does with this!!!
This looks great fun, will try it I love obscure ideas. Well done
I think you might really like it, there is a ton of information for this type of piecing and you may find that it is something that you love!
What fun! I’ve got to try this. I just got a Sweet 16 and am trying to do some pieces with more open space to quilt this is perfect!
I am so happy you took time to comment. I think that you will find so much you can do with your Sweet 16, enjoy !!!
This is excellent! I love improv piecing because I always set myself the rule – you cannot change it once it’s arranged. So often with traditional piecing I fiddle and fiddle and fiddle a quilt to death. Whenever I do improv quilting I completely relinquish control. It’s honestly liberating! I can’t wait to quilt your beautiful little block!
Thank Leah for collaborating with me. Improv is so much fun and really like the feeling that you can do what ever you want! I am so happy for the opportunity to work with you on this project!
[…] project! I am so excited to see how it looks after she quilts it. I did write a tutorial here if you are interested in making an improv […]
So much fun!! I can’t wait to hear y’all’s interviews and see the quilting!
Thanks for commenting, it is really a fun block to make. The podcast should post tomorrow!!
I have to say, this looks like fun! I’m going to have to give it a try! And what a fun project to collaborate on with Leah Day!
Kristin, thanks for commenting. I really enjoy making these types of blocks. I can’t wait to see what it looks like at the end, her quilting is so amazing!