Tuesday, September 5, 2023

In the Moment

After weeks of sewing 6.5" improv blocks along with Shannon @shannonfraserdesigns and Amanda @broadclothstudio, hosts of the #30DaysOfImprovQAL, I finally have a finished quilt to share! If you want to be reminded and look back at all the different categories of blocks, there were Stripes, L shapes, Triangles, and Curves. Honestly, I could have gone on and continued with more themes, but other projects are waiting, so I stuck with the QAL schedule. Ta da!

So once my blocks were completed, I put them all up on the design wall to see what I had to work with. I also made a reel if you want to see each one up close.

Next, I rearranged the blocks so like fabrics or colors were touching.

And then I began pinning up possible filler fabrics. Some remained to be a part of the final quilt top, but I think through my process, I settled on 'less is more.' I was definitely using what scraps I could to fill in, but at this point also had to begin pulling larger pieces from my Carolyn Friedlander fabric stash.

Below is a progress shot, with the bottom right corner and right side yet to be finished.

And finally, we had a quilt top!

I moved right on to piece a quilt back, using pretty much all of my remaining CF scraps, as well as pulling a few pieces from stash.

For quilting, I chose a lovely Aurifil 50wt from my 2022 Aurifil Artisan welcome pack - 2612 [Arctic Sky]. I had originally thought to quilt with a light gray, but when I happened across this blue-gray, it felt perfect. I quilted vertical straight lines ranging from 1/16" to 1/2" apart, then went back and added in some slightly curvy organic straight lines as a nod to the handful of improv curve blocks in the quilt. Unfortunately, it's very hard to photograph!

And then came the question about binding. After a thorough search, I confirmed I had enough of absolutely zero of the CF fabrics used in the quilt left to bind with. So that meant a new print entirely. I thought I had settled on a gray and black print when at the bottom of my stack, I found a fat quarter of an old (no offense! It's a treasure.) print from Carolyn's very first line, Architextures. One of her ledger prints, it had just a touch of black, but also a red-orange and blue that my other choice did not have. It's a much lighter frame that I'd usually go with, but it felt like the best of the bunch to me. And as it ends up, I really like it!

This piece finished at 34.5" wide by 32.5" tall. I finally settled on the name "In the Moment," as such is the nature of improv. There were so many 'in the moment' choices during the making of each block, composing the top and back, and even the unique choice in binding. I think that's one thing I like about improv - that it's a very different style than much of my life, where I like to know what's next, and am always consulting lists and such. The freedom of improv is always such a breath of fresh air.


  1. It's good to see your process pictures, and how you ended up where you did. The quilt turned out great! I love your pieced back as much, if not more, than the quilt front. What a good use of Carolyn Friedlander fabrics. I took special note of the binding print because that's one I used to have in my stash. You made "In the Moment" in just the right amount of time.

  2. The binding fabric does pull in other colors nicely, and I think it makes a great frame and contrast to the quilt. I have even used a bright white as a binding before; it's not something I would do often, but sometimes the quilt can benefit from a bigger contrast and the way to get it is to use a light fabric. I really love the thread choice for the quilting, too, it's the perfect shade to blend in! Congratulations on the lovely finish and using up so much of these beautiful prints in a great quilt.

  3. Your quilt is great and your back! I love it! I love the fabrics, the curve and the two red-orange pieces. Your composition is so great! To see your quilt give me joy :-)

  4. Your quilt turned out so well. I love the choice of fabrics, and how satisfying to find that fat quarter for the binding, a perfect way to finish the quilt!

  5. That is such a cool quilt! I have enjoyed watching the progress of the blocks. The backing is just as cool as the front!! This is a great one

  6. It is always inspiring to see your process behind the improv designs. Thanks for sharing! And enjoy your finish! Which is actually pretty double sided. I like the back as much as the front ;) xo

  7. Oooh, I love the way you've connected your blocks together, and the backing is pretty too! In the Moment is beautiful, wrapped in a great binding ;)

  8. You are so fast! It's amazing how much different the final layout is from just the blocks next to each other. I love how you put the final layout together and added in the extra pieces. love that bottom left curvy piece!