I’m a total control freak. Its hard for me to “let go” when I create. I like balance and order. But more and more, I see wild improv quilts and I love them. But sitting down to try my hand at the style has mostly left me frustrated and less than pleased with my results.  But I think I’ve managed to find a happy medium. In my last quilt, The Starry Eyed Girl, I used composed elements and  treasured pieces of fabric to improv piece a top. I’ll post about it soon but here’s my first truly “Ale improv” quilt.

For me this is the best of two worlds, it has order and there is thought in every block, but allowing them to float or setting them otherwise free from a traditional block layout is all the liberation I need! I was so very thrilled with the way this turned out, that I decided to try the same approach with Ben’s quilt.

I combed through some books and my pintrest board and came up with some pieced elements:First, this block is called Erica’s Honesty/ Jazz Hands from the Material Obsession 2 book. This tutorial on Y seams was really helpful. It was going really well until I went to join the two sides and then something weird happened to the center hexagon seams. It got all weird and wonky. I can’t decide if its worth it to try to take it apart and fix it…hrrmmm what do you think? It’s less noticeable from a distance.

Next up some panther portholes. I used this awesome circle tutorial. It works just as nicely with an oval shape, just gather the fabric slowly, pressing and smoothing with your fingers as you go. Then starch the hell outta that mother! Seriously though, I sprayed this until the whole thing was damp and pressed on my hottest setting. It helps give it a polished look and it hides any bulk from the seam allowance. 


Some stars and a chevron

So not too shabby for a friday night. We had to put our dog Sophie down this week, she was 14, we got her when I was a freshman in high school. So I’m losing myself in projects and trying not to feel too sad. She had a good doggy life and a gentle end surrounded by people who loved her. I like to think that she’s up in doggy heaven, chasing the horses and living on Lindt truffles (her favorite, that dog’s mission in life was to find and eat all the chocolate she could. Which she frequently did, no matter how we tried to deter her!). The rains have finally started too. It feels fitting. Time to settle in for the long wet season, full of quilts, cuddles and hand work.


About Alexandra

Mother. Chef. Artist. I live in beautiful Portland, Oregon with my husband, Ben and our daughter, Willow. This is an account of our rambling adventures and a place for what's inspiring me right now.
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3 Responses to Improvisation

  1. Janessa says:

    I love your “ale improv” quilt! Could you shed some light on the fabric that you used!? I am I love with the colors!

    • Alexandra says:

      Sure thing Janessa! I used a wide range of prints in the improv quilt. There are also a lot more closeup pictures in my flickr stream. You can see the prints a bit better over there, leave a note on any you don’t know and I’ll tell you the name!! However off the top of my head, there are some violet craft prints, a few from liesel gibbon, a heather ross far far away 1 unicorn, several Anna Maria Horner prints ( from good folks and lou louthi) Flea Market Fancy prints from Denyse Schmidt. Prints from Erin McMorris’ weekends and wildwood. Riley Blake Chevrons and Michael Miller Cotton Couture for all the solids. You can always submit a color request or theme for a fabric friday post. I’m always happy for a color challenge and my fabric stash can usually rise to the challenge 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!!

  2. Gail says:

    Awesome improv… totally says: “Ale” too! Sorry to hear about Sophie, it’s so sad. At least you have a lot of projects to work on!

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