Improv Quilts Week, Day Four

Now we go beyond the Log Cabin. How about some LARGE pieces of fabric doing the work?  Still irregular, indiscriminate blocks for a clean, timeless look. This is Blocks and Strips, original by Loretta Bennett (2nd picture below). My rendition is the first quilt.

Blocks and Strips: 50" x 62"
 This is the original quilt by Ms. Bennett (it's the only photo I have and it's rather small, I know). Don't you just love that skinny strip in the center with the surprise brown rectangle breaking up the monotony of just beige. Draws your eye in, doesn't it?

If you look close, you will see four large blocks/sections. But it's still in the improv category. Who says you have to chop it up and make some crazy angles?

Let's look at some of the exercises I gave my students, in case you're in the mood for more detail! This is from my first class, No Sneaky Peeky (and the art and steps are included in my class notes pattern).

Make a large 4 Patch (maybe four 5" squares). Press seams. Now, slice off two opposing corners as shown in the first photo.

Rearrange the pieces or introduce some new ones. This certainly looks like it was harder to make than what we did. The secret's safe with us!
Rearrange the pieces
Or, how about this? Make a large half-square triangle and then slice it into 4 sections (don't measure; just do it). Insert vertical strips and sew back together.

Slice up a half-square triangle
Here it is with another sample, only the top unit I've flipped the left section upside down for a totally different look (or maybe I just made a mistake when I was staging the photo!!)

Vertically slice, maybe rearrange the sections
One more quick pic of a class sample showing how to cut things up and insert strips and pieced units. The lower section shows a set of various sizes of strips pieced. Then I cut them into straight units. And some were cut at an angle. Put them back together, turning every other one upside down. Like that?

As you've seen this week, I am playing with color drenched fabrics. We had a palette of about 2 dozen fabrics. We used a lot of them in the next quilt that has only one Log Cabin block and a lot of diagonal piecing in sections.

One of the quilts that is color drenched is the Medallion Variation. I made it more than once. Here it is as a birthday gift for my oldest daughter's best friend, Meg. I hung it on the wall in my kitchen with that sign on it. She came for a visit and it took her about 20 minutes to see the sign (she was in the kitchen the whole time). Can you imagine her surprise?

Meg and Me standing in front of her birthday present
This certainly is not limited to a Log Cabin block, is it? And, yes, it was hard to pattern it. Look at the next picture and you can see why. We patterned the CENTER of Louisiana P. Bendolph's quilt. There is a LOT of white in this first quilt!

Medallion Variation by Louisiana P. Bendolph: 52" x 72"
And my rendition of the center:

Medallion Variation: 52" x 76"
OK. Enough for Day 4. Tomorrow is Saturday and I have a nice surprise for everyone (can you say FREE?) I think you will like it! See you then.


  1. I've been following along (but no time to comment) all your posts. I love seeing the improv. When I have time, I need to try some of your techniques. I'm a fan of Gees Bend and your versions.

    1. Just tuck the ideas away and you'll get to them (even without thinking). Thanks for being a fan of these quilts. I'll pass on your kind words.

  2. I'm enjoying this week's improv quilts. I will have to add an improv to my 2020 project list.
    Thanks and Take Care

  3. Thanks, Kay. I'm glad these simple ideas have inspired so many. See you next week for EPP!


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