After my daughter and I completed the tree quilt for her bedroom she wanted to continue sewing. Instead of trees we now made improv blocks to make a large scrappy improv quilt. She picked pieces of fabric from my scrap bin and told me how to piece them together. After a couple of pieces were joined, we sewed it to another larger piece to create blocks. At this point we did not pay any attention to shape or size of the blocks.
Assembly of the scrappy improv quilt top
Eventually, I thought we had sewn enough blocks to start assembling them into a quilt top. Since the blocks were really odd sizes and shapes, I decided that the best course of action would be to simply put them all up on my design wall. We then used larger cuts of fabric to fill in the gaps. My daughter happily dived into my fat quarter drawer to pick out pretty fabrics. It was a challenge to ensure that the final top ended up somewhat rectangular and the correct size to use on a single bed (the final quilt is ±140×200 cm). We even made more blocks to add length, but we got there in the end.
After the top was completed, I took her on a trip to the local fabric store to pick out fabrics for the back. Since the front already has so many tiny pieces and is so busy, I thought it best to keep the back as simple as possible. There wasn’t enough left of any of the fabrics that she loved so we picked two.
Top and back sat in my room for a very long time because I kind of dreaded basting and quilting this huge beast. On a day that my daughter was too ill to go to school but not quite ill enough to quietly stay in bed, we basted it together. My daughter threw pinmoors or safety pins at me and I basted. The batting is Hobbs Tuscany cotton wool. I love that this batting is pretty lightweight so the quilt did not become too heavy for me to maneuver during quilting.
Wavy grid quilting
Since there are so many tiny pieces in this quilt, I wanted to quilt it pretty dense to catch as many seams and fabrics as possible. A grid works well for that, but I thought a straight grid would not really fit the crazy improv piecing style, so I made it wavy. This had the added benefit that I could just veer off into another wave to catch a certain fabric. When I did the first direction of wavy lines, I did not really like how it looked. When I started to add the lines in the other direction and got these wavy squares (not sure how else to describe them) I loved the texture. So, sometimes you just need to soldier on and hope for the best. Naturally, most of the threads used for quilting were variegated. The binding is a scrappy combination of strips cut from yardage.
Sewing and quilting were really a trip down memory lane. Remnants of nearly every quilt I finished prior to this top ended up in this quilt. There are also several block experiments that never made it into one of my own tops that my daughter was excited to include. It contains fabrics that I was given by quilty friends and fabrics that I still intend to use in a quilt. There are also the memories of piecing this top. I am not really sure how long it took, but I think the first pieces were sewn second half of 2020 and the top was finally completed in August 2022. It was fun to see which fabrics and colours my daughter wanted to combine. The excitement when she discovered another batch of scraps had made it into the scrap bin. How she wanted to operate the scissors button on my sewing machine and later the foot pedal. How she disorganized my fat quarter drawer in order to find the perfect fabrics (honestly, it’s not been the same since).
I hope she’ll treasure her scrappy improv quilt for many years. I am also fairly certain that this won’t be the last quilt that we make together.