Playing with Improv Piecing – Stripes

Playing with Improvisational Piecing - Stripes (from Shiny Happy World)

I finished my design wall (you can get instructions here) and immediately started sewing some blocks to pin up there.

You see – I have a specific project in mind and I’m sooooo eager to get to it!

This is the door between my office and my husband’s office.

barn door before upholstering with improv quilt - Shiny Happy World

I love that barn door – and from the very beginning we planned to cover it with a quilt. Basically, I’m going to make two quilts – one for the front and one for the back, and I’m going to hand-sew the door into them (like a model on Project Runway) with a strip of solid fabric all around the thickness of the door.

I want to improv piece the quilts – but I’ve never really done that before. So I want to practice a bit and try some things out before I start on the big door project. And for that – I really wanted to have a design wall. It helps so much to be able to see the design straight on as it’s growing!

For my practice pieces I’m making some placemats. Each one will use a different basic shape so see what I like – and what’s fun to do. 🙂

I’m starting with stripes. I love stripes!

Here are my rules for this one. . .

  • No rulers. I’ll use my rotary cutter and scissors – but no rulers, either for measuring or cutting. I want my lines to be slightly wobbly/crooked.
  • A limited color palette of rich grey mixed with pastels. (All my fabrics are from the Michael Miller Cotton Couture solids collection – and the pastels are all from my Rainbow Sherbet fabric bundle. Such pretty colors!
  • Big Stitch quilted with really dense stitching. Yay! I haven’t done any big stitch quilting for months and I’m itching to get back to it.

The first thing I did was measure out a space on my design wall – a little bigger than a placemat needs to be – and mark the four corners with pins. That way I can see what space a need to fill.

Then I started cutting and sewing. Remember – no rulers. I just grabbed some pastel scraps, cut a chunk of grey, cut them into strips, and sewed them together. This is so much fun! Once a finished a little chunk of pink, I moved on to other colors. Here’s a super short video showing each little chunk going up onto the wall.

After I was happy with all the chunks, I sewed them together. Easy peasy – nothing fancy.

At the end of the video you see it hooped up in a square frame all ready for stitching, stitching after one evening, and stitching after two evenings. So here’s a little more info about that part of the process.

It’ll probably take me about a week to do the quilting on this piece. It’s small (standard placemat size) but I only get to do hand work for an hour or two most evenings.

Once I’m done, I’ll update this post with more info!

Next up I’ll be doing more stripes – but this time slightly wavy stripes. No tight curves – just gentle waves. There’s a little trick to it, so I’ll be sure to post a video showing how. 🙂

Happy stitching!

Best,
Wendi

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