Happy Saturday block hoppers!
Today, I'm going to talk to you about improvisation quilt blocks; which is just a fancy shmancy way of saying "I'm making it up as I go along!". This is my go-to way of sewing on almost every project I begin where I am the designer, and I have to confess, that even when I'm following another designer's pattern I improv many parts of the pattern to fit my need or mood. This is a really useful skill to hone as not only a quilter, but in many other creative areas of your life including cooking. The basis of improv is learning to go with the flow when combining your mediums; you are literally tapping into the creative juice that floats all around us, and making with no restrictions.
The best example of this is a 7 year old child; when you ask a 7 year old to draw you something, it never enters into their mind that YOU may not like the drawing or even be able to decipher it's meaning. They just tap into their creative juice and improv it Baby. That's not to say I don't go into making without a plan or intent; quite the opposite actually. I usually know WHAT I want to create, the details on how I'm going to get there are just a bit fuzzy, because I dry run or audition parts as I go thru the process.
I like to use the basic log cabin or wonky log cabin as the basis for many of my quilted blocks. It's super forgiving when it comes to sewing straight lines (something I personally suck at in a major way), and it's very easy to follow. You start in the middle with a small square, and then add fabric (a log) that equals the side of the block you are attaching it to by going around the outside either clockwise or counter-clockwise depending on your mood. I don't have a specific pattern for this block since you are making it up as you go, but here are the steps to recreate a similar quilt-as-you-go INKED improv block of your own.
- I started with a 4" x 4" bright orange square in the middle. Stitch straight lines from top to bottom starting in the middle and going outward. I lengthened the spacing between them to add visual texture.
- Next I added another orange strip (roughly 2" x 4") and sewed it RST (right sides together) onto the top of the center block. Open & press. Moving CCW (counter-clockwise)
- For this side I added a 2"x2" black block to the top of the strip with an orange 2"x4" below it. Repeat this step for the bottom log.
- That takes you around to the right side where I have a black 2"x2" on either end of the 2"x4" orange log.
- You've now completed a round of your log cabin, and every round after this is going to be the same 4 basic steps repeated clockwise around the block.
The fun comes in when you realize that the only qualification for a stip is that it be the length of the side you are adding it to. This allows you to make your fabric stips either very simple (1 fabric) or crazy-complex. By finding new ways to combine your fabric you will have blocks that are similar enough to sew together into a quilt or so different they help the fabrics take on new life. Sometimes this creates really unexpected results, and one of the colors will pop in a way you've never seen before. So tap into that juicy creative flow, and imrov away!
You can find a fabulous photo of the complete INKED quilt over on Lynn's Blog. I hope you'll explore the blogs of the other INKED quilters that helped create the amazing finale.
PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW & I WILL DRAW ONE NAME TO WIN A FAT QUARTER OF THE INKED FABRICS I USED IN MY QUILT BLOCK!
Here is the Block Hop schedule:
March 2 – Susan Brubaker Knapp
March 3 – Teri Lucas
March 4 – Jessica Darling
March 5 – Debbie Grifka
March 6 – Lynn Carson Harris
March 7 – Jen Osborn
March 9 -Flaun Cline
March 10 – Lynn Krawczyk
March 11 – Cheryl Sleboda
March 12 – Maddie Kertay
March 13 – Lynn Krawczyk