Tuesday, July 12, 2016

WIP - Improv Winged Square Quilt

I've been working on a new passion project - my guild's Crayon Challenge quilt. At the June CJMQG meeting, we picked three random colors out of a hat and hot dog! - would you believe I chose my favorite, purple?! And what a brilliant shade, too.

I was stoked but completely lost on ideas. I quickly purchased a quarter yard of solid coral and green, and 1.5 yards of purple (Kona Geranium) from my LQS and meeting location, Pennington Quilt Works. I also found some matching prints in my stash. I chose to use white as my one neutral since it would pop so well. The big question... what to make?

Since this is just a challenge (and the minimum requirement is a mini quilt 12" x 12") I was actually going to go small for once. However, once the idea came about, I couldn't get it out of my head. Just like most great ideas, this one happened because of the presence of a lovely quilty friend.

Jess (@jtlevitt) and I were discussing challenge ideas at a recent sewing night, and I started talking  about how much I LOVE the traditional block I recently made (aka the winged star/Sunshine pillow from last week). I immediately started to think about a modern version of that block (I already love the one Heather Jones made, "Fly Away"). What if... it was set in a traditional layout, combined with improvisation and wonkiness? Also, what if it was NOT a mini? What if it made a BIG statement, whether you saw it up close or from afar?

I played around in Paint to figure out which layout I liked best. Usually I sketch quilts in my sketch book but this one had a lot of half-square triangles (HSTs) - it just seemed like the easier option. Copy and paste for the win! Plus, I was able to choose colors similar to my crayons.

Some of the triangles were actually facing the wrong direction here, but it did the job as a sketch.

Then, I tried it with blank blocks (below). I liked that even more! You know how much I love deconstructed quilt blocks, right? This whole Paint investigation took place after I had already started sewing... I had to go buy a little more purple fabric, but it's going swimmingly.

I've been posting the progress of this project in steps under the hashtag #improvwingedsquare on Instagram. I'll make sure to write more about the process soon, though! Now, I have all the rows laid out, and I'm just putting the quilt top together!

How to quilt it? Well, I have a couple of ideas. The challenge deadline is our September meeting; I'm looking for a late August finish. I'm so fired up!

Tell me about your latest "passion project." What gets YOU fired up - is it the fabrics your working with, the design, the quilting, the person you're making it for, or something else? For me, I think it's often all of the above, but for this quilt, it's the design (and the purple). I'm unapologetic and obsessed.


  1. The green keeps my eye popping around while the geranium looks like an echo to the purple. Love how the piece is so strong, saying look at me look at me!.

  2. The colors you pulled work so well together, Jess, and I love the combination of improv piecing that you are doing with this. It is so fun to watch it come together!

  3. For me, lately, it has been the quilting. Trying different things and seeing them work. After gifting a quilt to someone and them and several others ho had seen the quilt, tell me how good the quilting looked, it gave me added confidence.

  4. I LOVE how this is going. Color/fabric gets me fired up, especially saturated color!

  5. How did you manage to draw such beautiful colors! I like your plan!

  6. I'm really interested in seeing this finished! Tradition with a twist is always a good way to go and those colors...YUM! Just about anything gets me fired up now a days!


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