Sunday, March 19, 2017

improv arrowhead quilt

I think I talked before about my process, and 95% of the time, a quilt begins with either a- a color palette I want to create something out of, or b- a pattern I want to try.

For this quilt I am sharing about, it's origin was in the other 5%-- rather than beginning with a color palette or a pattern in mind, I started with a fat quarter.

So, I am kind of cheating here, because while it was a single piece of fabric that marked the beginning, I think I was drawn to the fat quarter (that I had gotten in a whimsy girl bundle from Whimsy Quilts a long while ago) because of the colors. The combination was pretty, but surprising. It had coraly reds and ocean blues, and kind of a lemony yellow. In the picture below, it is the fabric on the top row, sandwiched between that bright lemony yellow and that soft pale mint. But the print was sketch-like, and was drawn to the big drawings of floral. Which brings me to another thought-- I love it when a fabric can contradict itself. Like with florals-- I love it when they can be modern or fun, and not super soft or girly. Or anything geometric-- when a geometric print's stiffness is lessened because the pattern is softer-- love that! But I could write an entire blog post on that, so suffice to say for this quilt, I was drawn to the big loops and lines in the floral that was pretty without being overly floral, if that makes sense.

I had it in my stash for a long while, and I decided to make something out of it, and pulled other fabrics that played off the colors in it.

Initially I wanted to just create a few rows of rectangular bars, with white sashing in between. But around that same time, I had also made some improv chevron-ish linen pouches.

I loved the sharp wonky angles, and I really enjoyed improv piecing them, so rather than stick with my rectangular bar rows, I decided to do an arrowhead-ish, improvy chevron row instead.

To begin, I used my triangle quilt ruler, placed it on a piece of fabric and cut, without paying attention to straightness or size. From there I just cut strips in varying widths and pieced it log cabin style around the original triangle. The key was really just in pressing, because the angles and varying widths sometimes wanted to stretch, so I had to press those bits into submission. And even with that, there was still a couple spots that had a little bit of ripple (probably not explaining that right, they just didn't sit perfectly flat), but quilting made them sit back down.

Once I had enough of the little chevrons, I trimmed it to become a bar of arrowheads. Then repeated that whole thing a couple more times. I added white sashing in between and outside the rows, and voila!

I think I will be making this again, because everything about it appeals to me. The nature of improv and choosing as I go, how it highlights the beauty in imperfection, and how it allows for a busyness in the pattern, but calms down with the white space.

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