Wild Violet Quilt (and tutorial)
April 15, 2015
On a complete and total whim a few weeks ago, I decided to make an improv quilt. The fabrics, mostly Shelburne Falls by Denyse Schmidt, just spoke to me as I was wading through the stash. I don't know what drew me to the purple - perhaps the wild violets that show themselves in the grass every spring? No matter! Purple it was! And bonus because I have a dear friend whose birthday was around the corner and she loves purple like I love green. No better time than that! I grabbed the fabrics, pulled in a couple of other prints (a purple gingham, the pink pez, red and pink dot) and some Kona snow (always on hand!) and started cutting.
If you'd like to make something similar yourself, the process is super simple. I cut full widths of the printed and the white fabrics about 14" long. Then I sub-cut them into smaller strips using my rotary cutter without the ruler. I was intentional in making them different widths and a little wonky/angled, but not too crazy. I paired each printed strip with a white strip and sewed them together.
Once that step was complete, I took each print/white pair and sewed it to another print/white pair so that I ended up with "blocks" alternating 2 prints with 2 white strips. I find that making blocks like this to arrange in the quilt top is measurably faster and easier for me. It takes much less time to lay everything out, I have fewer design decisions to make and I make them faster! Once I had the blocks arranged the in five rows (one for each of my friend's children), I sewed the blocks together. Due to the irregularity of the strips, the sewn rows had to be trimmed down before I was able to sew them together into a quilt top. You do lose a bit of height on all of them - two rows ended up being 12" unfinished and the other three were 12.5" unfinished. I was aiming for a 60" quilt so it is good to cut the strips taller than you think they need to be.
After I had the rows sewn together and the quilt basted, I let it sit for a couple of days before quilting it. I wasn't sure if I wanted straight-ish lines or if I wanted to free motion something. In the end, I decided to quilt it with free motion loops from side to side. I didn't mark the rows, but rather used the seam lines as a general guide and that seemed to work well. The quilting was fast! Maybe an hour and a half? A good reminder that free motion quilting often takes less time than straight lines - I always forget that!
The back was pieced with a 60" wide piece of the purple gingham and a strip of other prints along one side. I bound it with a stripe from the same collection that I didn't use in the quilt top. Oh - and one little part of the binding is another print that was a mistake I added as a design element. I think it gives it a little extra charm.
I washed the quilt so it would be soft and crinkly. I loved how it came out and had so much fun making it. I'm already plotting the next one!
It's beautiful! and You are so talented.
Posted by: ellery | April 15, 2015 at 07:24 AM
Posted by: Sarah | April 15, 2015 at 07:28 AM
hot dayumn...!!! i LOVE it!!! this is my favorite kind of quilt... i feel so much more comfortable with improvisational quilting/piecing than precise/accurate cutting and piecing. which, not surprisingly is more like my personality!
Posted by: beth lehman | April 15, 2015 at 07:48 AM
love it! maybe my next quilt will be more improv than the past few i've done...and an hour and a half for quilting?! holy crap woman!
Posted by: julia | April 15, 2015 at 10:19 AM
You have made a beautiful quilt!!!
Posted by: Michele T | April 15, 2015 at 07:09 PM
Posted by: Cheryl Jaeger | April 15, 2015 at 08:36 PM
I love this so much and that binding design element turned out to be an awesome choice!
Posted by: Darcy | April 16, 2015 at 09:51 AM
This is so simple yet so beautiful, I was inspired by your orange Hop, Skip and Jump quilt and this one is wonderful too. I've already pulled some fabrics! Thanks for the tutorial....for my first one I'm going to try to follow the templates just to see how the improv version will compare with the actual pattern. I also love how simply you quilted it, I'm going to try this....Keep on quilting ✂️
Posted by: Jeannine | April 16, 2015 at 01:05 PM
Simple and quick and beautiful. Awesome.
Posted by: Melanie | April 16, 2015 at 04:19 PM
I'm trying to imagine, even though you cut wonky strips (but not too wonky, you were able to sew them easily to another strip? I would really like to make a quilt like this, I've never done improv. Nice work as usual, Erin.
Posted by: Barbara | April 17, 2015 at 08:26 AM
Love this design and your fabric choices! Very pretty!
Posted by: Jen | April 18, 2015 at 09:25 AM
I cannot even begin to tell you how much I love this quilt. So, so good, Erin.
Posted by: Molly | April 21, 2015 at 05:08 PM
okay...I think I could handle this..maybe a good summer project?
Posted by: jane | April 26, 2015 at 09:50 AM