Star Light, Star Bright

Friday, August 30, 2019

Which came first? The pattern or the fabric?



This month, the fabric!




Improv star quilt using Island Batik fabrics and Aurifil thread



Last month, Island Batik sent me my second box of goodies for the year as part of their Ambassador program (look in the box here). Inside was a pack of 2 1/2" strips from the Petal Pushers line.

Petal Pushers fabric by Island Batik

I absolutely loved the bright colors, and the pink-teal-purple-green combination is pretty much at the top of my favorite color palette.

Petal Pushers fabric by Island Batik

Just like "money burning a hole in your pocket," I just *had* to sew with this fabric first!

Petal Pushers fabric by Island Batik

This month's Island Batik Ambassador challenge was to make a throw sized quilt inspired by "stars."

I designed a few different quilts in EQ8 using the colors, but found the limitation of the 2 1/2" strips to be - well - limiting.

Petal Pushers fabric by Island Batik

Inspired by this post I found on Pinterest, I finally landed on a design that would work!

Improv star quilt design by Laura Piland of Slice of Pi Quilts

I cut the Island Batik solid white into 2 1/2" x 4 1/2" strips and 4 1/2" squares and got to work!

Island Batik fabrics

First, I cut through the factory fold of a strip. Then I cut a 2-3" piece off that end, cut it diagonally, and used the four triangles as the four corners on the square. No real measuring. Just eyeballing what would work and sewing it on.

Then I folded the remainder of the strip into fourths, cut through the folds to create eight pieces, then sewed each one onto a background rectangle at an angle.

I completely eyeballed each one, and just alternated between "left" triangles and "right triangles" as I sewed. Here's a look at my process.

Making an improv star quilt
Making an improv star quilt
Making an improv star quilt
Making an improv star quilt

After sewing through one strip, I'd have a set of one square with improv corners, four "left" triangles, and four "right" triangles.

Making an improv star quilt

From the back side, I used the original white rectangle and square as a guide and trimmed away the excess colored fabric.

Making an improv star quilt

Then I folded up the colored fabric and cut away the excess white fabric underneath each triangle.

Making an improv star quilt

One strip yielded exactly enough pieces for one improv star.



Making an improv star quilt

After finishing a test block, I started chain piecing!



Improv star quilt using Island Batik fabrics and Aurifil thread

One 2 1/2" strip pack later...



Improv star quilt using Island Batik fabrics and Aurifil thread

The proof of an improv project - the mess!

Island Batik Petal Pushers scraps

After trimming, a quick layout on the kitchen table proved it was going to work!

Improv star quilt using Island Batik fabrics and Aurifil thread

I put all the pieces up on my design wall (really a cheap flannel backed vinyl tablecloth held up with push pins by my sewing machine).

Improv star quilt using Island Batik fabrics and Aurifil thread

My cone of Aurifil 50wt #2021 White was perfect for all the piecing!

Improv star quilt using Island Batik fabrics and Aurifil thread

For the backing, I sewed several strips of the purple and green coordinating fabrics together to get a back that was both interesting and long enough for the quilt top. I layered that with Hobbs Heirloom Premium Cotton batting on my longarm.

Hobbs Heirloom Premium Cotton Batting

After considering several quilting design options (and sleeping on it to further decide procrastinate), I decided to go with small (about 2") swirls as an all-over design. I liked how they contrasted with the sharp points of the stars.

I free-motion quilted the design on my 1989 Gammill longarm using Aurifil #2024 thread. I used the 50wt in the bobbin and the 40wt for the top thread.

Free motion quilting my improv stars quilt

I usually quilt quite large designs on my longarm (because they're fast!), but the smaller size of these swirls made for the absolute best quilty texture!

Improv star quilt using Island Batik fabrics and Aurifil thread

I tried to pick pink for the binding. And green. And purple. Really, I did! But of course the turquoise won. Teal/turquoise/aqua is always the answer!

Two quick victory laps around the edge to machine sew on the binding (tutorial here), and it was ready for some pictures!

Improv star quilt using Island Batik fabrics and Aurifil thread
Improv star quilt using Island Batik fabrics and Aurifil thread

Here's the view from the back. The finished quilt measures 48" x 64" - a perfect throw size!

Pieced quilt back

I love how the swirl quilting shows up on the back too!

Quilting with Aurifil thread
Quilt back

Usually, mismatched points and misaligned triangles are like fingernails on a chalkboard to me. But since it was all on purpose, it doesn't bother me one bit!

Improv star quilt using Island Batik fabrics and Aurifil thread
Improv star quilt using Island Batik fabrics and Aurifil thread

This was a fun quilt to make! I enjoyed not following the "rules" and not measuring each piece precisely. The relaxed method allowed me to really enjoy sewing with the fabrics!

Improv star quilt

The finished quilt is bright, colorful, and fun! Exactly the kind of quilt I love to make!

August star quilt challenge for Island Batik ambassadors

Linking up with What I Made Monday, Monday Making, Modern Patch Monday, Moving it Forward, Design Wall Monday, Colour & Inspiration Tuesday, To-Do Tuesday, Midweek Makers, Wednesday Wait Loss, Needle & Thread Thursday, and Put Your Foot Down.

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15 comments:

  1. I usually feel the same way about improv and mismatched angles, but it really works in this quilt. Your method for getting the most out of a strip was pretty genius :) And I often don't know what to do with a strip pack because I find it so limiting. I have a few just waiting to be used...

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  2. I adore this quilt! I'm learning to love improv lately, and it is hard! On first looking at your photo on Instagram, I wanted to ask if they were intentionally wonky, but it's like asking if a woman is pregnant! I might have to try this pattern out myself. It's very cool.

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  3. I love it, especially because if you make a mistake, it won't be a mistake...great quilt...

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  4. So fun! I didn't notice the stars were improv until you said something and I looked closer. These fabrics are soooo pretty! I got this line as well and am waiting to find the perfect project to use it in!

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  5. Well done. It's amazing. I didn't notice mismatched points until you pointed them out.

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  6. Limiting they are, but you seemed to overcome that in a genius way. Its a fun quilt and really turned out well. I hadn't noticed how different they were....great idea!

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  7. Such a fun use of the 2 1/2" strips--and a terrific collection to use! Well done, as always. Thanks for linking up to What I Made Monday.

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  8. Hi Laura, that is a wonderful improv quilt. That's what I'm good at - not measuring! The colour are stunning and the FMQ a lot of fun. I hope you'll link up with Muv on Thursday for Free Motion Mavericks. Congrats!!!

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  9. This is really fun and I love how bright the backing is.

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  10. Hi Laura! First, let me say thank you for linking up. I appreciate it so much since I'm new to this whole thing. Those fabrics!! I have to admit that I almost always start with the fabric . . . and then figure out a pattern that appeals and will work. I love those closeups of your quilting - I am definitely going to be PINing some of them. This whole line is gorgeous and I love that stack of goodness just waiting to be placed on your design wall. Just curious - did this pattern use most of the strips? It's nice when it does, although having leftovers is sometimes nice too. ~smile~ Roseanne

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  11. What a fun improv star quilt design! Love the swirly loopy quilting!

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  12. Interesting. The photo above the Hobbs batting, the top looks like a stained glass window. Not so much into bright colors but I really like it. Thank you for linking up to Put your foot down.

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  13. Your quilt is beautiful! Thanks for sharing your process.

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  14. Fast quilt! Really enjoyed seeing your process. It's nice to do something improv every once in a while. Thanks for sharing on Wednesday Wait Loss.

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  15. Love it!! And thanks for sharing your creative steps!!

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