Improv Quilting Class #2

We had another great improvisational quilting class, ya'll.  There's something so inspiring about being creative with other people (especially when those other people are so delightful).  I love the community that builds around working with tangible things in creative ways!

We had a little show and tell (you better believe that these ladies are talented!) and then set to work with a technique I've dubbed "Sew and Slice."  I'm sure some real quilters out there have come up with a better name, but I'm going for the basic descriptive term.

Start like this:

  • Cut strips of the same widths or varying widths (2.5" is a good place to start, though anywhere from 2-3.5" wide is pretty good too.)
  • Sew them together to form stacked strips of fabric (like the one you see on the left, below).

Improvisational Quilting: Sew and Slice
You can either leave it like that as a stacked strip (which is absolutely OK), or you can grab your rotary cutter and slice.  I would like to suggest that you go for the slicing, but be warned: it's addictive.

If you're going to slice it up, here is a place to begin ...

  • Make 1, 2, 3, or 4 vertical cuts to slice the stacked strips into smaller strips.  Rearrange or flip smaller strips, then re-sew into a block.  Look at the photo above on the right: no, I did not cut all those little squares and painstakingly piece them together in a checkerboard pattern.  I just did a sew and slice, and inverted two strips!  
  • If you're trying to do some quilting math, here's a little pointer ... every time you sew something together, you lose 1/4" on each side of fabric for a total 'loss' of 1/2".  So, in the block on the right above, I had it 1 1/2" wider than I really wanted it to be.  I sliced and re-sewed, and ended up with the right size.

If you want to get a little crazier, try this ...

  • Trim your stacked strip to a desired shape (rectangle, square, triangle) and sew white strips of fabric to the sides to make your block as big as you want. (See the triangle/Christmas tree/party hat on the left)

Improvisational Quilting: Variation on Basic Sew and Slice

  • Or, make 1, 2, 3, or 4 straight or diagonal cuts to slice the stacked strips into smaller strips.  Rearrange or flip smaller strips.  Sew solid strips between the pieced strips.  Re-sew back into a block.  (again, on the left)

Improvisational Quilting: Variation on Basic Sew and Slice
And, finally, be prepared to have your mind blown.  This is a technique that two of the quilting buddies played around with to fabulous results.

  • Make lots of little vertical slices (at least 1" apart - either all the same or varying widths) and then re-sew, staggering the seams ever so slightly.  Here's what I mean:
A little improv take on bargello quilts!

  • You'll end up with something rectangle-ish - just trim the uneven edges, add white (to get the size you're going for) or just leave it as-is.  

There you have it, my friends - improvisational quilting a la sew and slice!  Happy day to you :)

PS.  You can see what we were up to in our first improv quilting class by clicking here.  You know, if you are curious.

1 comment:

  1. fun! wish i could take your class! :) and it's been a while since i've clicked over to your blog... usually read it in my reader - i like the redesign.