Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Basket Love, A Completed Improv. Quilt Top

First off, I'd like to say congrats! to Paulette from The Way I Sew It blog. Her comment came up as the winner to my 7 yr. Blogiversary giveaway! The whys and wherefores of what might motivate any of us to comment on blog posts made for great conversation! The main thing that stood out was that most of us like to feel a connection, however that might come about. Time is too precious to comment just for the sake of commenting. And that's okay. We all seem to prefer those comments that feel heartfelt and sincere.
Improv. basket blocks
It's time again for the AHIQ monthly linkup over at Kaja and Ann's. These lady's are so talented, it's hard to keep up! I love the open ended style of their link-ups though, and the fact that they actively encourage learning and growing in personal technique and style, plus instinctual decision making. After over a year of dipping my toes into this adhoc. improv., I have to say that I'm having so much fun with it! Not ready to quit yet!
The green string columns

This particular project was in response to the 2-block challenge set up by Kaja last quarter. I determined to make free style basket blocks and then join them with vertical columns of strings. As usual around here, I pulled my fabrics in advance, tinkered with them awhile {weeks actually} and then started cutting and sewing only after I felt satisfied with the newly blended palette. The interesting thing about these colors is that I didn't choose the sour greens until all the other colors were stacked together and seemed to be missing a necessary spark. Then they just sort of jumped into the pile as though they couldn't help themselves. Okay! I'm game for about anything that looks intriguing, even if I'm not sure why!
Sewing the first set
It's so much fun to drag difficult fabric colors out of the stash totes and try to give them their moment in the sun. Really quite addictive in its own way. I'm always confident that playing with them one more time will give me the clues to getting all sorts of kinks worked out. This time could be the magic moment when that perfect blending of colors is found!

After I had enough baskets prepared, I added a darker coping border to the blocks in order to bring them all to the same exact size. Then I moved on to the green coins {or strings}. With these, I free cut strips--in sets of 2 fabrics each--until I ran out of at least one of the fabrics. That determined the length of each particular color blending as I decided to leave the string sets in two color groupings {sewing them length to length} rather than mix up single strings throughout an entire column.

Since I was working strictly with the greens for the strings, it was easy enough to divide them into rough groupings of light, brights for one pile and medium, darks for the other. That value change is stronger in some sets, but subtle enough not to make the quilt read as a super bold 'stripe' quilt. The columns actually read more as a background and allow the baskets to steal the spotlight, which is totally what I was hoping for!
Basket Love--Approx. 70" x 91"
It was only after the entire length of the string columns were sewn, that I went ahead and added the setting triangles to the basket blocks. I wanted high impact, heavily saturated and light or bright colors that would 'pop'. Initially I intended to mix them up a lot more and have all four corner triangles be a different fabric. Then for some reason I changed directions and decided to make it less busy, which meant cutting more fabric repeats. Sometimes that makes for a stronger look. This is probably the most purple I have ever intentionally put into a quilt and the crazy thing was, it didn't even make me wince. Not my favorite color! The more I quilt, the more it seems that there isn't any truly ugly color, just meh! {to me} color palettes! And yes, I'm well aware that I don't always get it right! lol
Looking at the quilt with the sun shining on it!
An interesting side effect of sewing such long lengths of strings together was having the seam allowance rip out here and there from the weight of the fabric. I pinned at every single seam, tried to be very, very careful in the way {and amount} I handled the columns, and even went back and backstitched where it was coming apart too far into the seam allowance. Hopefully next time I'll remember to use a smaller stitching length when sewing the original string sets. This was NOT fun! And after the entire quilt was together, I sewed a basting stitch on the sides of the quilt too. Fingers crossed that will stop any more unraveling!

So that's it. I'm calling this a completed quilt top. No borders for this one! I'm proud of how far I've come feeling comfortable in free cutting my string sets, excited to use up some oddball green fabrics, and thrilled at ending up with such a bold {for me} looking quilt! And, drum roll..... there was almost no waste with these string sets! Yay! I'm starting to get the hang of that basic math which makes me feel like the super, good, frugal quilter lady.*sigh  Gotta take our victories where we can!

Linking up to Kaja and Ann for AHIQ #23. Moving on, I'm pondering yet another 2-block improv. quilt, perhaps a Sherri Lynn Wood score? the next interesting AHIQ challenge {of course}, and oh yeah, trying to make a Kaja style improv. quilt--one little unit at a time. Oh well, there's a couple weeks to make that decision. So many possibilities.....


  1. There are so many things I like about this one. I love the unusual colour combinations, and those two-coloured sets of strips, and the way the columns of baskets are shining out of the more muted background. I've also learned a thing or two - I am particularly thinking I might allow more time to consider a fabric pull before I start a quilt; it definitely works for you. Thanks for linking up with AHIQ.

  2. I love it, especially the pink saturated colors, the green strips too! How do you choose which fabrics to buy? Did you like those "sour greens" originally, did you have an idea when you might use them? Do you buy fabrics for quilt projects or do you buy them because they attract you? I ask because I'm going through my fabrics now thinking I need to reduce my stash.

  3. I am so inspired by you! Your quilts are amazing and the fact that you share the journey with us is just plain super-nice of you. Thank you!!!

  4. Audrey felicidades a Paulette.
    tus cestas son maravillosas, me gusta tus tiras de union

  5. Purple is one of my favorite colors and this combo is sensational. I'm a sucker for strippy quilts. Just love this one.

  6. First of all Happy Blogaversary! I am in love with baskets right now. Everything you do makes me want to make that too! I need to get back to my stitching!

  7. How lovely. The purple perfectly complements the greens. I love your two-color coin sections. They remind me of mine but I especially like that you only used two fabrics till they were done. I tried to "blend" mine by changing to one of the next fabric pairs. (Does this make any sense?) Yours works better.
    I didn't have problems with unsewing on this but have found stitching in the ditch along questionable seams will keep it from unravelling.
    Congratulations on your beauty and thanks for linking with AHIQ.

  8. What fun! And looks like a good stash buster too.

  9. Love how you have used the greens as your background, the coloums of baskets really glow!

  10. I've fallen in love with your baskets, your colours just glow!

  11. Great contrast and design!
    Everything works together to equal one happy quilt.

  12. all those pink, purple and black blocks certainly pop against the green, lovely

  13. Your strippy is quite zippy! (Sorry the rhyme just came out). I agree the strings make a subtle color background for those vibrant baskets. The quilt is a great finsh. You should be pleased with the final results and your growth in your liberated journey.

  14. "Kaja style," lol. That's something I've been considering too, and I imagine we may have different ideas about what that will look like!

    In any case, your top turned out beautifully! I love all the rich colours. And I have started using a fairly short stitch length too, whenever there is going to be a lot of cross cutting. Great finish!

  15. Looks like you had fun with this project. It's interesting that in the bottom photo on my computer the greens look more mustard and gold.

    I recently worked from my stash to make a tulip quilt from a Quiltmania magazine. But I dis buy background fabrics I decided I needed some low volume greys to work with some turquoise fabrics. I also changed the block size and added leaves that I designed. Fun to break rhe rules and make a design your own.

  16. Love that color combo! And looks like you successfully completed that challenge!

  17. I love the baskets and string columns! Very cool combination, the brights against the earthier strings. And thanks so much for the giveaway. How exciting to win!

  18. Stunning. Almost Amish in the intensity of color.


  19. Really really wonderful -- such a great idea and such a fun-to-read post. WELL DONE!!!


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