Thursday, February 19, 2009

Improvisational Quilts 2

Update - hand quilted and finished 2013
to see it - to here


Where do you get an idea from?

I had 2 bundles of fat quarters, a library book
- The Quilts of Gee's Bend and spotted a book
on my shelf by Jenny Beyer - Quiltmaking by Hand.
On pg. 7 Jenny says "...generations of quilters made do
with minimal supplies ... All it took was a needle and
thread, a thimble, a pair of sharp scissor, cardboard..."

Hmm, I thought about that for awhile.

The rotary cutter was created for quilters in 1979.
I wondered if I could manage to make a small quilt not
using a rotary cutter and piecing it by hand.

No ruler, just a large piece of cardboard and pencil
to draw my squares and strips.
I also wanted to experiment with colors - using colors
together that I never tried, instead of gravitating to my
old favorites. This was really a challenge for me. At
first I thought I couldn't stand to see certain colors next
to one another but I kept persisting.

I started by cutting out a square piece of fabric and
using that size as my template; I did the same for my strips.
Using my cardboard and pencil; I found that the sizes varied!
Part of the charm of some of the Gee's Bend is that not all of
the seams are perfect and the some fabrics don't match
- that to me adds to their beauty and uniqueness.

Surprisingly, it doesn't take long to hand sew all of the
pieces together. Using a running stitch; I made a couple of
squares in no time. I was tempted to draw a 1/4 " seam allowance
but I decided to just "wing" it. After all I don't want it to be perfect
- that's the point.

After all of my squares were sewn together; I have to
admit I couldn't stand it anymore and broke down
and got out my mat, cutter and ruler! I had to add the border
and I wanted it to be straight. You have to give credit to
the women who made quilts without these conveniences
that we have today.
I also wanted to add a piano like border - those were
cut with the rotary cutter BUT they were all hand sewn
also - 1 1/2" x 5" abt. 166 pieces! I must be nuts!

I'm very satisfied with the way it turned out.

Only I think it will be a long time before I hand piece another quilt top!


  1. Nuts or not....that quilt is beautiful!!!

  2. Thank You Mimi! Lot of work
    and it had to grow on me but
    I love it.

  3. Your quilt is a treasure: the colors are luminous. Maybe you won't hand piece another quilt for awhile, but your experiment with color and design is a big success.

  4. This is great! I love the way this turned out. I took to quilting initially because of the limited supplies needed and that it traveled well. I think too often it's easy to buy into (pun intended) the belief that we need a lot of supplies to quilt. A great exercise!

  5. I love it too! It would be so cool hand quilted with lots of textures. The colors are fun and cheerful too.

  6. Quilt looks awesome. When I first learned to quilt. My Grandma used brown paper bag for templates and cut everything with scissors. It was so slow. Long live the rotary cutter.

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  8. Thank You Ladies! I appreciate your
    comments and for stopping by my blog.

    I probably will
    handpiece another quilt top; I find
    it very relaxing. And yes, Debra
    I agree with you "hand quilting
    with lots of texture". I'm loving
    it already.

  9. OMG... you hand pieced the whole top? Just beautiful... quite my style!! Well done. Lx

  10. Ciao, I've seen you follow my blog.
    I've been to your blog, it's very very pretty and I'll see everything better little by little.
    Ciao, ciao from Italy

  11. Good for you! What a wonderful quilt. I find hand piecing very satisfying and it really does take that much time.

  12. What an incredible quilt you made! My first quilts were cut out using a pen and cardboard templates and .... lordy .... the day I bought a rotary cutter, ruler and mat was the best day of my quilting life.


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