Courthouse Steps Mini Quilt

My first quilt finish this year.

I’m off to a slow start this year with my broken leg in January, but I’m hoping to catch up soon!

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I started this one to submit to the Curated Quilts Mini Challenge for the ‘Stripe’ issue coming out later this year. The challenge was:


Please use “balance” as inspiration for your quilt design. Balance can be interpreted at many different levels and we encourage you to explore what balance means to you. You can improvise or paper piece your mini quilt. We love seeing how creative everyone is and appreciate all forms of piecing in your mini quilts. The color palette we would like you to use is included in the image above, soft grey, jade green, bright pink, bright blue, purple, and highlighter yellow. 

Originally I was going to make a striped mini, with circles cut into it and in the circles the lines were going to go in a different direction. Maybe I still will make that one, but I saw a lot of others using circles and I didn’t want to anymore. But I kept making my stripes until I figured out what I wanted to do!

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Balance was the inspiration…

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I started my stripes picking out some of the colors from the challenge. Well, all of them except green and purple. I started with paper piecing the stripes, still unsure where this was going.

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I drew lines on a large piece of freezer paper and started sewing. The lines are spaced in 1/4″ and 1/2″ increments.

Doing this wasn’t very quick and it gave me time to realize where it was going.

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To balance the color, I went all grey. To balance the precise straight lines, I went improv.

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It almost killed me, but I finally got up the nerve to cut into all my stripes. They were so pretty just the way they were that I didn’t even want to cut them!

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The traditional courthouse steps quilt pattern was my third ‘ode to balance!

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I was falling in love with this mini quilt and knew I couldn’t keep it small enough to submit it for the challenge and that was perfectly fine with me! The challenge submissions can’t be bigger than 16″ square. This one ended up about 24″ square. Maybe one day they will do a Courthouse Steps issue and I’ll submit this then. in the meantime, I’m just loving on it!

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I also got new labels this year. Similar to all my other ones, but these are put together a bit different than last years version. Maybe I’ll do a blog post one day! I think these are my favorite.

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I love a good challenge to get me trying new things! I had never freezer paper pieced anything, much less small lines. I wouldn’t have picked these colors together, yet I love them! I had a great time making this one, even if I struggled for the design for a while.

The Daily Improv

I’ve said it other years, but this is my year of cleaning out my WIPS! I’m doing a good job of it, now to get them photographed and blogged about!

This is my first quilt I finished this year! It’s not one of my oldest WIPs, but it was sitting there just waiting! All the blocks were done, they just weren’t put together…

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Amy Ellis of Amy’s Creative Side had a one week Improv Challenge last year.  The intent was to get you started in improv. I love improv and am not new to it, but I couldn’t resist her one week challenge. Who knew it would actually over a year for it to all come together though… (well, I should have known based on my track record!)

Each day you get a prompt and make one block from that prompt.

And actually, it looks like anyone can still do it any time. Just sign up here!  Each day sends you a new prompt and it’s a great way to try something new or different with out the commitment of a long term sew along!

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I really love how it turned out!

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I think the first day was stripes. In this picture you can see my stripes block and one of the triangle blocks to the right. The top one was the paper pieced improv block challenge. I still struggle with the idea of paper piecing and improv in the same sentence. To me they don’t go together! Other people would totally disagree with me and that’s ok! So I made a couple of paper piecing patterns and went with it. We’re trying new things, right?

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This is my favorite one! The Log Cabin block! I love improv log cabin blocks. love love love! I actually made two of these!

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And curves. Another of the prompts was curves. I think I ended up with two curve blocks, too. There’s even more curves bceuase as I was squaring up the blocks, I would use those cut off pieces in other blocks areas to make the blocks ‘fit’ with each other. I love the little bits of curves here and there.

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And then the back was a big improv block in itself! As I mentioned before, I used a lot of my ‘cut off’ pieces to piece the front. I also incorporated smaller scraps to fill in the background space. I had a few smaller pieces left over for the back, but I mostly used the bigger scraps. When I was done with the back, I had just enough of this fabric pull left for the binding!

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I’m usually a straight line, one pattern all over kind of quilter. Trying new things with piecing doesn’t scare me. trying new thing with quilting does! In this one, I tried to change the quilting in different areas to reflect the improv shapes of the blocks. You can see it here on the back pretty well.

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What do you think? Are you up to the challenge? Give it a try!

The Daily Improv

41×44

Design by me, with prompts from Amy’s Creative Side

Quilted my me

Completed in  March 2020

 

Improv Mini Quilts for Curated Quilts Issue 5

I used to post 2 to 3 times a week, every week… Life has gotten in the way of that. Now with my haphazardly posting routine, I just realized I never posted my mini quilts for the Improv Issue of Curated Quilts!

 

Yes, Issue 5 was released by in 2018… But I still love these mini quilts!

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I made and submitted three mini quilts for this challenge, but only one was chosen to be featured in the Mini Gallery. Down the Rabbit Hole is the one that made it in. I called it Down the Rabbit Hole because I had only intended to make one mini quilt, but once I got started making, I went down the rabbit hole of mini quilts and made 3!

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My original design idea was to make one of my Quilt Design a Day quilts into a mini.

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And I started it, but my first block was too big to combine three of them into a mini. So I went with this block and made a mini with it.

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I kinda ‘framed’ the circle piece inside an improv log cabin. And this is the one that was selected to be in the magazine.

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I love a pieced back, but for these mini quilts, I almost never piece the backs! At what size do you decide to make a pieced back versus a single piece of fabric back? My first mini submission for Curated Quilts, I do have a pieced back, but that might be the only mini with a pieced back I have done.

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Then I went back to my original project idea and made three smaller circular pieces to match the original QDAD design.

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The funny thing is, I made this one, and was so excited about it. But once these first two were done, I knew my favorite was the Down the Rabbit Hole!

So then I still had a pile of scraps from both of these quilts and what was I do to with them, but make a third mini quilt!

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Keeping in line with the improv curves, I decided to try out one of my office doodle designs!

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If you follow me on IG, you know that I have a habit of doodling during office meetings and lectures. It does actually keep me focused on what is being discussed! I had this one in my sketch book and decided to try it out!

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And this is what became of it! and this started me on a course of many more quarter improv circle quilts. I’d say in the last two years, it’s probably my favorite design! You’ll see it more once I start blogging my more recent finishes…

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And now I want to turn them all into pillows! What do you think?

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What do you do with your mini quilts?

Improv Flower Pillow. Done. Finally.

WAYYYYYY Back in 2017 I took a fun little class to make one Improv Flower Block with Mr. Domestic.

And I made the block. Right then! I had these grand plans to hand quilt it. But it just sat there and got moved around my sewing room for literally years… Then last month, I was like, forget the hand quilting, let’s get this done! And I did!

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I’m really missing my friends at the Seattle Modern Quilt Guild these days! The guild offers a lot of fun classes and this one with Mr. Domestic, back in July of 2017, seemed like it would be fun. He’s quite the personality!

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I honestly don’t even remember the steps he taught us to get to the finished product, but it’s basically an improv process of sewing strips together and then cutting them into strips again.

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Here’s the crazy thing. I had half of it finished before I even left the class. And all the other strips done, too. I went home and finished the block two days later. Then it took me 2.5 years to get it quilted. Which took about maybe 2 hours or so… Then another 1/2 hour to turn it into a pillow. WHY???? Why do I let things sit for so long before finishing them????

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My original plan was to hand quilt it, but I love the texture I got  with the quilting I did do!

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Like usual, no quilting on the back. I do like to use two pieces of fabric on the back though. I cut two solid pieces and serge the edges. It gives it a more solid feel. I don’t know how to explain it, but I like it.

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I did my new love, the invisible zipper. But I’ll let you in on a little secret. Invisible zippers are more invisible if you match the zipper to the fabric! I was on a roll and didn’t want to wait until I got the right colored zipper, so I went with what I had. And I’m ok with it! ha!

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And that’s it! 2.5 years in the making… Has anyone else made this block? Did you make a quilt or a pillow or something else? It would be fun to make a mini version into a pot holder!