Monday, August 23, 2021


Hopefully by now you're familiar with the periodic challenges hosted by Quilt Improv Studio. I have participated in two previously, making Utterly Blue for the Blue Repetition Challenge and Bow Ties No. 1 for the Black and White Challenge. And now my newly completed Redwork is my response to the current Monochrome Dreams Challenge, which runs July 1st – October 15th, 2021. 

Of course I debated a while over which color to use, finally settling on red, or rather redS. I've grown to love the mix of various reds over the last couple of years, so I was eager to revisit them. I had quite a few in my stash, including Kona red, rich red, wine, brick, crimson, Chinese red, cardinal, lipstick, and ruby. 

I started by taping off a 24" blue painter's tape square on my design wall and filling it with shapes. I started with various sized rectangles, then somewhere along the line I created some triangles, a few HRTs, and some stripes. At the point shown in the photo below, I was confident enough to begin sewing pieces together, while knowing that I still needed to build out some, as the minimum size for the challenge was 24" square. Still, I liked where it was going.

So you can see in this next photo (below), that most of the build out happened on the right side and along the bottom. I ended up incorporating more triangles as I pieced, as well as more of the other elements. The top, when complete, measured 26.5" square. 

When I shared the blue tape photo on Instagram, Latifah Saafir commented that she loved the contrast of the reds with the blue. I totally agreed, and chose to combine the two for the quilt's back. I included both a solid (Kona Harbour) and a blue print, as both were such great matches for 'painter's-tape blue.' You can see I also had just a few small leftover striped bits that I was able to incorporate. Quilt backs aren't usually my favorites to piece, but this one was totally fun.

For quilting, I used two red threads, Aurifil 50wt #2250 [Red] and #1103 [Burgundy] and once again used the Fancy Straight Line from Jacquie Gering's WALK book. It just goes so nicely with this kind of improv, and provides awesome texture, though I think this is the smallest scale I've done it. The finished, trimmed quilt measured 25" square.

It was difficult to get a good shot of the quilting once that was underway. I tried both indoors and out, and I couldn't get the colors to show true. Thankfully a follower reminded me to try putting a white sheet of paper in the photo and then crop the photo afterwards. That definitely helped. The photo below was actually taken indoors on a big sheet of white foam board near my best light source. The first photo in this post was taken outdoors on a pretty cloudy day, so you can see there's a difference no matter what I did.

Here's a closer look at the quilting. Between the palette, the improv, the smallish-size, and that quilting, this project was truly enjoyable; and being my first finish in weeks, felt delightfully good.

So there's still time if you're interested in joining the Monochrome Dreams Challenge. And if you want to see more of what folks are creating, just check out the hashtags #qismonochrome and #quiltimprovstudio.


  1. What a rich, deep composition of REDS!

  2. I'm so glad that Latifah made the comment about the blue and you incorporated it into the back of the quilt - what a lovely extra detail to have tucked away in the memories of this make. I am definitely drawn the areas with the small piecing in the quilt top and like how they are spread out in the composition helping me to look over the whole piece.

  3. thank you for your participation in our games and the nice words you dedicate to us !!!
    Fabolous quilt, back, photos and article!!!👏👏👏👏💖💖💖💖

  4. Thank you for sharing with us your thoughts and work! They are both brilliant and inspirational!

  5. Love your use of reds and improv shapes. It's fun to see all the various shades of a single color.

  6. I love this so much! Both sides are beautiful!

  7. I love how the different values make your eyes move. I first jump between the darker pieces but my highlight are the small stripe parts :) Enjoy your finish!

  8. painters tape blue! haha I love that! your reds are so good and the back is equally good. I keep meaning to try out your painters tape square on the wall method....

  9. This is so good Debbie! I love that in some of the photos, all you see are the gorgeous reds, the texture of the straight-line quilting and then the zig zag pops out a bit.

  10. I am new to improv piecing and quilting (except that I LOVE to randomly piece quilt backs). I think the quilting on this piece is marvelous! Could you please tell me you do the zig-zag stitching or the straight line stitching first? Does it matter?

    1. Hope you are able to see this reply! I do the straight line stitching first , then the zig-zag, as shown in Jacquie Gering's WALK book. I DO sometimes add a few more straight lines once the zig zags are done.... Just whatever seems right! Feel free to email me if you have more questions!

  11. Awesome finish, I love the monochrome front and the pops of blue in the back. The quilting with the straight lines and the zig zags was an awesome choice. Thanks for linking up to the Favorite Finishes Monthly Linkup Party!