It’s quilt play with improv composition week!
And I know this step can be scary for you, but as we’ve been saying throughout the 30 Days of Improv Quilt Along, there is no right or wrong here.
The important thing to remember is that this is your quilt journey.
You call the shots. So, focus on what catches your eye and gets you excited!
Let’s dive in!
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QUILT COMPOSITION FEATURING IMPROV QUILT BLOCKS
This is exactly the approach I use when I’m tackling my improv quilt layout. I like to tune everything else out and focus on the blocks in front of me and how I’m feeling as I connect them.
Once I get myself in the right mindset, I then pull my improv blocks out and start laying them out on a design wall. If you don’t already have one in your sewing room, I encourage you to make your own! Here’s a tutorial so you can do just that!
Honestly, having a design wall is such a game-changer in your quilting routine. Being able to lay out and rearrange your blocks till the layout is just right is super handy. I love being able to stand close and then take a step back and see how the overall composition is coming together.
If you don’t have a design wall, then I encourage you to either tape a piece of batting up on the wall or use the floor or bed. Anything that allows you to lay your improv blocks out to see what shapes you’re creating.
I try not to overthink this step. You could spend hours arranging and rearranging your blocks and if that makes you happy, then certainly go for it! But I tend to prefer laying my blocks out, stepping back, assessing how the blocks are connecting, seeing what new shapes emerge and then making edits from there.
The minute something feels ‘right’ (which is entirely subjective to each of us 😊), I leave it as is. That becomes a foundation piece that I continue to work off of.
In case you’re wondering, the final composition took me several hours to complete.
There’s lots of thoughtful contemplation that goes on as I’m connecting my blocks and I encourage you to be mindful of how your pieces are coming together. This is not a throw-it-up on the design wall and see what sticks (although, you can certainly do that too!), my approach is to consider the tiny details as well as how the quilt looks from afar. It’s all about zooming in and zooming out.
I’m in love 😊
QUILTING YOUR IMPROV QUILTED WALL HANGING
My favourite thing to do with my improv quilted wall hangings is sneaking in all the fun texture and details with my thread.
Which probably explains why I usually like to bring in a selection of threads to work with.
Where do I start?
Normally with my colour card 😊
I know, I know, I yammer on about colour cards all the time, but that’s because they work! And make it super easy to order your threads online where screens have a tendency of deceiving us as to their true colours.
This time around, I decided to go with a soft lilac thread as my main machine quilting thread option.
Turns out, I love this colour as I already had it in my thread stash in 50wt, 28wt and Aurifloss! This colour is rivaling my 2425 as a staple!
After doing some improv machine quilting in the ditch, I then switched my focus to hand quilting.
My approach with my big stitch hand quilting was to incorporate more movement within the composition. It was feeling quite geometrical and linear, and I wanted to soften that up a little with some hand stitching.
A first for me was sneaking in a 12wt variegated thread. The colours aren’t an exact match, but the tones were similar enough to blend nicely in the lighter shades and give a little pop on the darker ones.
FINISHING YOUR IMPROV QUILTED WALL HANGING
Last year, I went with a traditional binding with some big stitch hand quilting. I loved the look it gave, especially the pop of Squared Elements* against the solids in the composition.
This year, I wanted the wall hanging to feel like it was floating and boundless, so I opted for a faced binding, but still went with the big stitch hand quilting when tacking down the faced binding on the back. I love how the hand-quilted stitches look against the Deco Stitch print*.
If you need some tips on how to hang your quilted wall hanging, check out these two tutorials:
Here’s a list of the materials and notions I used to make my 30 Days of Improv QAL quilt blocks:
- AGF Pure Solids in Blueberry Zest*
- AGF Pure Solids in Field of Lavender*
- AGF Pure Solids in Peach Sherbet*
- AGF Pure Solids in Apricot Crepe*
- AGF Pure Solids in Sweet Macadamia*
- AGF Decostitch Elements in Lilac Dusk*
- LDH Scissors*
- Sewing Machine*
- 50wt Thread for piecing*
- 40wt Thread for machine quilting*
- 12wt Thread in 2525 for hand quilting
- 12wt Thread in 2420 for hand quilting
- 12wt Thread in 4651 for hand quilting
- Aurifloss for hand quilting*
- Cutting mat*
- Pressing table
- Pin cushion
- Design wall – tutorial to make your own
Thank you for joining Amanda @broadclothstudio and me in this end-of-summer improv journey! It’s always so heartwarming to see you step outside of your comfort zone, explore new techniques and be open to the unknown creative destinations improv offers 😊
Keep up your improv quilting practice as it will continue to help you connect with your creative instincts and open up new ideas for you to challenge yourself with.
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