Tuesday, August 16, 2016

WIP: Modern Cathedral Window with Improvisation

Ever since I first made a Cathedral Window mini quilt (Circus Tent - and thank goodness it was mini, because it took forever and tons of fabric!), I've been interested in making more modern versions (like Wanderer). Namely, with bias strip piecing and improvisation, which are the main aspects of my latest workshop offering, the Waterfall Quilt Class. I experimented with the concept for Wanderer, and it reminds me every day how much I enjoyed the process - that one hangs right beside my computer!

I decided that I'd make a larger version of ONE cathedral window shape for my August 20 class with the Baltimore Modern Quilt Guild (which still has a couple of seats, in case you're interested!). I won't finish it in time for the class, but I'll have a top and I'll use it as a future class sample.

I started by piecing together blocks of solids I receive from a solid swap with the Central Jersey MQG late last year. I arranged them vertically in color order and only took a couple out that just didn't seem to work - otherwise, this background is completely from that fabric swap (CJMQG, you rock! I can't believe how well all of our random colors mesh). Also, to begin with the improv look, I sewed them in rows and then just a little "off" when piecing the whole top.

I thought this would be it. You can see that I have my bias strips ready to piece into it. Then, yesterday, 5 days before the class (of course), I decided to make it a little more interesting. I was a bit apprehensive about cutting into it, but it's an easy enough process once you get the hang of it.

I pieced together some solid scraps that were generally in color order, to be spaced out across the quilt. My only stipulation was to sew a thin strip alongside each one. It gives each piece an unexpected dimension (more than just the tinier scraps). Below, you can see what the quilt looked like after piecing in the top left and right middle pieces. I won't apologize for my dim nighttime picture - I was on a creative high at the time and process pics are important! I love that background has so much more depth already here.

 Here was the quilt top this morning, completely pieced together. It needs a really good pressing and a lot of Best Press, but overall, I'm extremely pleased with it. I already pieced in the white bias pieces, but I'll share that with you at a later date. The Baltimore MQG will see it first!

The BEST part about cathedral windows is that they make orange peel shapes. I'm going to quilt it with that in mind, I think. Hmm.


  1. This looks great and will have a very cathedral window / stained glass effect when you are done, Jess! Adding in the additional piecing was a great decision, and I am eager to see how the orange peels factor into your quilting. I sure loved quilting them in the mini I made you. :)

  2. Gee WOW I love this Jess. I love this the best.
    I am excited to see how this finishes!

  3. The colors are fantastic...the more the merrier, I always say! I am really looking forward to seeing this finished. Great idea with bias tape, one thing I've wanted to dabble in for some time now!


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