Friday, February 3, 2023

improv in an afternoon

have you ever gotten the urge to just make something right away? to sit down with a project and see it through to completion in an afternoon?

one recent saturday morning i was quickly browsing instagram when an image caught my attention and i suddently needed to get making the thing instantly. i wanted to create something on a whim and it was something that could be done in one day if i put in the work. i just wanted to see if i could do it.

i liked the mix of bright colors and low-volume blenders; and i especially liked the giant flying geese blocks surrounded by randomly sized strips.

so i walked into my sewing room and started pulling fabric.

i decided my flying geese would be made from the gorgeous large-scale floral by dylan mierzwinski for free spirit fabrics. there was a small pile of fabrics from an order that hadn't been put away yet which i thought coordinated really well and had the same feel i wanted.

first, i made the flying geese. i wanted them to be as big as possible. i had a generously cut half yard of the dylan m floral to work with, which allowed me to cut four rectangles at 18.5" x 9.5".

i prefer stitch-and-flip construction for my geese because it allows me to trim to size when completed. if i didn't always get distortion from my horrible pressing (ironing) habits, i could use the no-waste method. but i know myself and i go stitch-and-flip 99% of the time.

i referenced this article by alderwood studios for its measurement equations, which it has for three different methods for making flying geese.

for stitch-and-flip construction, you add .5" to the finished size to get your cutting dimesions. my finished geese were going to be 9" x 18".

the squares for the "sky" portion of the geese (outer triangles in the corners surrounding the central "geese" triangle) are the height of the rectangle squared, plus .5".

i liked the yellowish tan color krystina paired with her pink geese, and looked through my solids stash for something suitable. i had a half yard cut of the perfect shade (i think it's moda "sunflower"? not exactly sure), but it wasn't as generously cut as my half yard of the focal floral, so i couldn't get enough squares out of it. i auditioned many yellows in my stash and finally settled on the one from the ruby and bee solids collection by heather ross for windham. it was a touch brighter than i wanted, but it was the best i had.

i recently saw a tip to sew both seams for the hsts before you cut the outer triangles off, just like you would when making a pair of hsts.

what a great idea!

my personal tip: i always press before i cut my hsts off.

there you have it - four super-sized flying geese blocks.

you can see i kept placement of the different yellows consistent along the sides. i considered mixing them up or doing two geese with one color, and went with this set up.

once my geese were made, it was time to fill in around them with the other fabrics.

one reason i like the stitch-and-flip method is i enjoy all the extra hsts it creates. i think it's a bonus method, not a wasteful method. i had 8 hsts leftover from my flying geese and decided to incorporate them on the front. i wasn't sure if it would detract from my focal point of flying geese or not, but the only way to find out is to try it.

i made one pinwheel block and one diamond block with the hsts, wanting both to run off the edge of the quilt. 

i had a large piece of batting leftover from another quilt make which was a nice small throw size - bigger than a crib or baby, but not quite as large as i usually make my throw quilts. since this was very much a make-do, use up stash and scraps kind of quilt, i chose to use it to determine my dimensions for this quilt that had no set size.

i got out that stack of fabrics i wanted to use and just started laying pieces out in a pleasing configuration, folding them up to fit different sized spots.

i pulled a few more scraps and coordinating fabrics out to fill in little gaps and to add a bit more blue.

once i liked it, i began cutting pieces to size and sewing.

i found a spot for a small bit of my robert kauffman umbrella girls.

i used a cutting of heather ross's sleepiing beauty in blue at the top. i've worked heather ross's princesses from her far, far away lines into several quilts lately and am really enjoying it.

i had a small cutting accident when cutting my squares - the fabric was folded in a tiny bit along the top fold, so it made an inny on one square and an outy on another.

the inny cut showed up in my pinwheel block, so i patched it with a small piece of this pear fabric.

i actually really like the effect it creates; one more little make-do moment in the improv quilt.

two and a half hours after i started piecing it all together, i had a completed top.

it measures about 46" x 64" and i absolutely adore the results. it's soft and bright and feminine and lovely. i left it out in the open on the floor outside my sewing room for several days because it just makes me so happy to see it.

this is definitely one project that makes my heart sing.
it was a joy to put together and the results are so pleasing.

if you're ever in need of a fun and quick make, give an improv quilt built around a few large blocks a try.

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