When the prompt came out on Sunday for Project Quilting, Sew Not a Square, I knew immediately what I wanted to do: I wanted to create a baby sized quilt using improv curves.
I went to my scraps and pulled out my solids that ranged from red/orange through teal. I immediately fell in love with the idea of the quilt being a colorwash and moving around the colorwheel. I had no idea if I had enough fabric here to create what I wanted, but the only way to find out was to start sewing.
I decided to take a closer look at the fabrics I pulled to see how they worked together. I decided to omit some oranges (I had a LOT more orange fabric than anything else), the lightest yellows, and the teal greens. Spoiler alert: the teal greens ended up making their way back into the quilt.
I started working on the blocks when my husband and I were having a Zoom chat with his parents on Sunday. I didn’t take any pictures while I was piecing, but here is a photograph of one of the blocks after squaring it up to 6″ wide by 8 1/2″ tall. 6″ x 8 1/2″ was the nice, random, non-square size that made the most sense to trim my first block to, so all the other blocks conformed to its size.
And while I don’t have photos of the improv process I used, I do have an Improv Quarter Circle Tutorial that more or less walks through my general method. In this case, I didn’t fully overlap fabrics, just enough to free hand cut a curve.
By the time the Zoom chat was finished on Sunday afternoon, I had made really great progress on the blocks and decided that I wanted to make 6 rows of 7 blocks for a 39″ wide by 48 1/2″ quilt top. Looking at how much fabric I had left, I realized at this point that I was going to have to keep moving around the colorwheel and use the teal greens I had set aside to have enough fabric to make the quilt that large.
As I was sewing the blocks together to finish the quilt top, my Oliso iron stopped working. At the same time, my husband experienced a surge in the 220V circuit in the hangar. I may never know if the iron died because of that power surge, but I suspect that might be what happened. Thankfully, we had a very old Black & Decker iron that I could use to finish things up.
I really loved my Oliso, so I placed an order for a new turquoise Oliso iron. My first one lasted for 7 years, and as I mentioned above, I suspect it met an untimely death due to a power surge.
Because the quilt top finished at 39″ wide, I was able to use a single width of fabric for the backing. For the backing, I picked Kona Cotton in Burgundy. As you can see in the basting photo above, I rotated every other basting pin (one pin runs north/south, the next runs east/west, and so on) and I pin basted the batting to the backing just outside the quilt top. I’ve found that I don’t struggle with tucks on my quilt backings with this pin basting method. However, I had no idea what I was going to do for the quilting. At this point it was Tuesday evening, so I decided to think about it for a while and sleep on it.
Well, I proceeded to have so much fun that I didn’t really take any additional progress photos. And we also got several big snow storms in a row, so my life got a bit distracted by digging out and handling other life things.
I opted to quilt soft, wavy lines using my walking foot. I used 2 different 50wt Aurifil variegated threads for the quilting: 4650 (Leaves) and 4662 (Creme de Menthe). I used 4650 for the top ~1/2 of the quilt and 4662 for the bottom ~1/2 of the quilt with the two thread colors alternating in the center. The spacing between the lines varies from about 3/4″ to 3/8″ but averages out at around 1/2″.
You may also note in the photo that I opted to use a two tone binding, an orange and green. All of the fabrics in the quilt top and backing were solids, so I picked out two tone on tone prints to use for the binding. They are so subtle that you can’t tell they are prints in these photos, but trust me, they are!
It was so cold here overnight on Wednesday night that the snow crust was frozen and we could walk on top of the snow for a bit on Thursday. Thankfully the sun was bright and warmed up and melted a lot of the snow on Thursday, so part way through this photo shoot I started sinking further and further into the snow. I had put on my wellies, but by the end I would have been better off using my snowshoes.
I love this baby quilt. I love the shapes, I love the flow of color, I love the fun I had piecing it, and I love that you can just get a sense of the beautiful snowy sparkle in the photo above. This was an absolute delight to make from start to finish. There’s not a square in this quilt: just curves and rectangles.
I had meant to write and publish this blog post earlier in the day on Thursday, March 2nd, but after 2 weeks of not going to the grocery store or being able to go for a walk, I prioritized a few different things this afternoon. With the kitchen restocked and after an hour long walk with a friend, I’m feeling recharged and grateful for a few hours out of the house!