Monday, 30 November 2015

Improv Meadow Quilt

I have a finish I can share with you as soon as it is finished! So many of my quilts are for publication these days that this is a bit of a novelty!

This is my Improv Meadow Quilt, which is actually destined to be a wall hanging. It measures 37 x 43inches.

I started this quilt back in February during the incredible and inspiring Mod Corsage workshop that I took with Anna Maria Horner (yes THE Anna Maria Horner!) at QuiltCon in Austin.

I wrote about the workshop in my QuiltCon Report post and here is the piece that I cam home with...

For many months it lurked in a bag, calling softly to me from time to time.

Eventually in late summer I had some spare time and started to work on it again. I put all the flower parts together over maybe 3 or 4 different sessions all of which were fantastic fun as I love 'playing' with fabric and improv piecing. It was also nice to stop machining and add the hand sewn details on the sofa later on in the day.

During the preceding months I had put a few oddments aside with the intention to add them somehow, this included the odd shaped portholes (with yo-yos in the centre) below. I had been experimenting making portholes with random shapes during a workshop.

That yellow flower was an EPP star I had made for a sample in my Advent Quilt class last year, except I used the wrong diamond template and it was too big! But with patchwork you never need to waste any sewing!

I had a plan to enter this for QuiltCon 2016 so that gave me the impetus to get on with it (the deadline for entries is today!) and I finished the top a few weeks back in a single session where I added the top low-volume part. This again was lots of fun, improv piecing this area using all sorts of squirreled away bit and pieces, many of which were given to me in a handmade 'charm pack' from lovely Dolores!

That purple flower was a mistake piece from my Buffer Wheel Quilt (the colour was fading dark to light in the wrong direction).

The purple and red flower below was entirely stolen from an idea that Danielle (my workshop buddy) had in the AMH class. This is one of the best things about attending a workshop, not only do you get inspiration from the teacher but also the other students. And hopefully I managed to offer and share some ideas too.

And then it was on to the quilting. I wanted to keep the improv vibe throughout the whole piece and began free-motion quilting with this in mind and not much of a plan! I left the flower areas largely untouched and quilted around them in as free a way as possible!

Over the last few weeks I have been adding all the hand quilting during all my 'resting time'. I LOVE hand quilting (even if my wrist doesn't!) and love how the mixture of quilting styles looks here.

When quilting the top 'negative space' part I tried a little Matchsitck FMQ, leaving some spaces for hand quilting lines as I have been doing a lot recently (see my last post). I also inserted very subtle motifs like dragonflies and leaves. These are so subtle that they didn't get picked up at all by the photos my husband took (in a rare moment of sunshine when we rushed outside with me holding the quilt!) so I took this extra photo of an extreme close-up...

I then filled in extra lines of wavering hand quilting between the FMQ lines, all in neutral or pale orange/gold shades.

Overall I was aiming for the look of a wild flower meadow, teeming with life on a hazy summer day.

As always I machine pieced/quilted with Aurifil 50, and used this for hand applique too. For hand quilting I used DMC perle cotton in either number 8 or 12.

I managed to get it all finished in time to enter it for QuiltCon 2016. I entered 3 quilts in all, this one, my Off-centre Medallion, and one other which will be part of the QuiltCon magazine (and will therefore definitely be hung at the exhibition - which takes the pressure off a bit!).

It would be lovely to send this to Pasadena next year but if it doesn't get in then I will not be heartbroken.

I have created something here that pleases ME immensely. It is already one of my most favourite pieces ever and I will always treasure the memories it holds.
And that's the most important thing.


  1. The fact that it pleases you is the most important aspect, espacially with the memories it holds.
    It makes me yearn for summer days.

  2. That is freaking glad to be of service!:)

  3. oh wow loving this you are certainly the improv Queen. This certainly m=needs to get to quilt con so it can be seen by loads of quilters

  4. Really amazing Jo, what a talented lady. Has just the look of a wild flower meadow teaming with colours and life.

  5. That's really lovely - second cousin to my small world, but much more relaxed! Love it

  6. Love your improv 'meadow quilt', lots to look at! and lots of different techniques, I especially like your EPP yellow flower popping up there!

  7. It's beautiful Jo! I love how you've used so many different elements but it has an overall cohesive look :0)

  8. I've loved this from the very first piece of it that you showed us.
    It does look like a busy meadow humming with bees and full of flowers that have seeded all over, and such a variety of flowers too.
    Love the lttile flowers in the squares as well as the larger ones.
    It's tremendous how you have used the low-value fabrics in the background to set off the colours.
    it's a great modern quilt.