Friday, September 4, 2015

Primary Improv Rainbow Quilt

I am so excited about this quilt! I made it to satisfy the urge to make an autumnal quilt in the summer (and secondarily as a sample for my improvisation and modern quilting lectures :) ). Cloud 9 Fabrics sent along a fat quarter bundle of Anna Graham's new Rain Walk fabrics, and though its not my usual color combination, I was so inspired (thank you, Cloud 9!). Those low volume/almost low volume prints were begging to become a scrappy background!

I constructed this quilt based on the "planned improvisation" techniques that I teach in my classes, but first, I organized the prints in a primary color cascade from lightest to darkest (including the low volume prints). Wonky crosses are one of my favorite blocks - there are just so many options when you make them (cross size, angle, block size, etc.). I had some Cirrus Solid in Bark on hand to add in the strips; the quilt felt incomplete without them.

The quilting was an adventure. I love when a quilt really puzzles and stumps me. I try not to force a quilting design because a) I won't be happy in the future and b) why rush creativity? Unless there is a deadline of course, in which case the creative process can be encouraged along its path.... :) Anyway, I let this one sit for a couple of weeks and received encouragement from my guild friends Neva and Laura. Ultimately, I decided to quilt the backgrounds of the wonky crosses with three different motifs (planks by Christina Cameli, rainbows/scallops, and swirls), and the crosses themselves with squiggles and pebbles. The bark solid looked good with pebbles of varying sizes. Oh how I love pebbling!

I also snuck in some coordinating Morning Song fabrics by Elizabeth Olwen. This quilt is completely made of organic Cloud 9 fabric!

I decided to quilt the background with a loose woodgrain motif, using my free motion foot. After the middle was done, it was easy to quilt up and down the sides. I used Aurifil #2326, which has a pretty gold-like shine to it.

To piece the backing, I used fat quarter scraps and some Cirrus Solids. I also bought a length of the orange leaf print (Swish in Orange) from Pennington Quilt Works (it's my favorite of the whole collection) to complete the backing. So autumnal! I also had some extra half square triangles leftover from Sonnet, so those serve as a focal point for the back.

It was super windy outside when we tried to get pictures! That's why the quilt looks so uneven, but I assure you, it is square. ;)


Fun fact: When I was finished, the middle of the quilt seemed unbalanced to me, so I cut off some of the left side and sewed it onto the right. Can you tell? Now it's perfect! ;)

 Sharing the quilt at the August CJMQG meeting

This quilt makes me look forward to the fall - I'm definitely ready for cooler/quilt weather! It's is so hot here in New Jersey. I have a layer cake of Autumn Woods by Kate and Birdie that I'm itching to use, plus some Oakshott solids. It's funny that I've only made one other autumn quilt in five years (granted, it is double-sided so it feels like two quilts!). How many autumn-inspired quilts have you made?

P.S. Don't miss Sew Me a Song's 25% off bundle sale this weekend (until Sunday) - I may have picked up some Loominous, finally! Another fall quilt ready to be made!


  1. What a beautiful finish, Jess! I love the pebbles on the bark, too - it looks great! The balance of the quilt seems perfect, so we'll done for changing it up!

  2. I don't know if I've made any autumn inspired I love how to chopped off part of the quilt and added it to the other side for better balance! It looks great, and no, it's not obvious! I love the chunks of bark you added, it helps break up all the LV pieces, and the different quilting motifs work great with the fabrics!

  3. What a great quilt - love the way the crosses meander across the surface. The bark quilt pattern is really effective too :) I've made a couple of things inspired by autumn colours, my favourite was a postage stamp quilted pillow, I used a bronze coloured metallic thread to quilt it and it catches the light beautifully!

  4. The softness of this quilt is coming through in the photos. I really just want to reach out and touch it. Very well done!

  5. Cute quilt, your quilting is gorgeous!

  6. Love it. I love Modern Quilts. Thanks for sharing your Fabulous work.

  7. Awesome finish! Wonky crosses or modern crosses are some of my favourite blocks to make! Your quilt is just beautiful!

  8. I love the organic look of your quilt. It is a great combination or modern and utility. It looks so natural! Great finish!

  9. Nice quilt. Looked great a bit from distance in my feed :)

  10. Lovely finish. I always admire your "imrprov" projects. I have yet to tackle something improv. I usually stick to the traditional...

  11. Very dynamic through scaled crosses! Smart idea! Wonderful!


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