The idea for this quilt came about after taking a class at the Purple Stitches Quilt Retreat. Whilst there I took a class with Nicholas Ball to learn Improv Curved Piecing. I’ll be honest I thought I was going to hate the class: I am not into chancing things, I’m a planner and I like things to be perfect. So the idea of deliberately making them not perfect was a bit weird to me! So I was very surprised to feel liberated by the experience!
After making a mini version of this (pictured below), I sketched out a variation. The mini had just been one square of improv curved strips of blue fabric, cut from an ombre piece of fabric.
But for the large one I wanted to use Kona solids instead. So I picked out twenty and spoke with Sulky Threads who kindly supplied me with the matching rayon threads. My variation was going to be much bigger than my mini so I thought it would be more interesting to separate the chunk of blue instead of having one square. Slicing it up made the circle shape more obvious.
I knew I intended to enter this quilt into the modern section of Festival of Quilts, so after studying their category requirements I was in a bit of a quandary. I had planned to do the graffiti quilting around the edge as I had done on the mini, but I felt that this wouldn’t really fit their description. So I thought about splitting the area outside the circle diagonally and doing straight line quilting on one side and pebbles on the other. But this left me feeling deflated. One of the things I had really wanted to work on this year was graffiti quilting after seeing so many lovely quilts with it on last year at Festival and also on Instagram. I am a big fan of Carolyn Moffat’s work of Free Bird Quilting and she had so inspired me to do this. So after chatting with some friends about it I decided to make the quilt the way I wanted, after all it was going to be living with me afterwards, not the judges!
And I’m so pleased I did. I thoroughly enjoyed quilting this piece I’ve definitely used shapes that I’ve seen in Carolyn’s quilts and others that I’ve seen online. But I love how sometimes I started off with those in mind but as I was quilting I added new things or changed it to suit me.
All in all it was a liberating and fun project. It is quilted on my Bernina 770QE which is a large domestic machine.
Instead of binding the quilt, I decided to add a facing edge instead to compliment the modern aesthetic.
I’ve had so much fun with this project and so I’ve added a class to my workshop page for Improv/Graffiti quilting.