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Graphic & Improv Modern Scrap Quilt

Modern scrap quilt by Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

One of my latest projects is a fun modern quilt that is just back from suZquilts and ready for binding (pictured above). suZquilts owner Susan Bentley did an amazing job with the longarm quilting!

Scraps of colorful printed fabrics ready to go into the quilt

I often profess my love for black and white print fabrics. I love them as is, and I love to overdye them too — you’ll find swatches in my Inspiration Packs, which also include hand-dyed found textiles and fibers for art quilts and other fiber projects. For this quilt I left my graphic black and white prints alone and added color with long strips that were pieced from coloful fabric scraps (above) from my stash.

Strips of fabric sewn into larger pieces to further cut into strips

I began by freehand cutting strips (including some of my black and whites) and sewing them together randomly to create larger pieces of fabric. I embraced the wonkiness and worked without rulers or stitching perfectly straight lines. You can see at the bottom of the photo above that I was able to use strips that weren’t all the same length — nothing goes to waste.

Randomly cut strips of colorful cotton prints

My cuts from the pieced fabrics were also free-hand and random, resulting in different widths. You can see the variety of fabric used, but I did focus on my modern cottons stash versus the batiks and Australian Aborigine-designed fabric I often gravitate to.

Cutting a black and white print block to inset the color strips

Working improvisationally, I sliced my black and white fabric blocks (not perfectly square and again, different sizes and widths) and sewed my colorful strips in.

Black and white print block with two color strips inset

I don’t think any two blocks are the same — some have one strip, some two or more, some strips intersect — and there’s a wide variety of angles involved.

Blocks and their inset strips are all random

As you can see in the photo above, I also didn’t worry about having each block the same height. I played around with the blocks until I had a layout I liked.

Laying out finished blocks to come up with a layout and to square the quilt up

As I finalized the layout, I started making the adjustments to “smoosh” the blocks together, stitching vertical rows. (FYI, the lighting in my studio shows the colors unevenly here.)

Adding vertical strips to the finished blocks for the final quilt design

I had so many scraps pieced into strips that I was able to inset vertical rows of them too.

Finished quilt, missing only the binding

Most of my work are small art quilts or medium wall hangings, so working large for bed-size quilts is still somewhat rare for me. I love how this came together!

Striped border accents the improv blocks

The striped fabric worked perfectly for the border — it continued the look of the colorful inset strips without the time necessary to piece them. This closeup also lets you see the beautiful quilting by suZquilts.

Detail of improv blocks and longarm quilting by suZquilts

This freeform, improv method of construction was a lot of fun and I love my final result. Give it a try!

Posted in Fiber, Quilts, Tutorial | 2 Replies

About Judy

I am a fiber person. I have been involved in fiber art since elementary school. After graduating college with majors in Fashion Design and Business Marketing, I have since learned to weave, sew, dye, stamp, quilt, bead. All those experiences and contacts have bought me to fiber art and mixed media through art quilts and my fiber jewelry. And I inherited the collector gene too - I enjoy hunting and gathering really cool stuff which the casual observer would think has outlived it's usefullness and use it in my art.

2 Comments to “Graphic & Improv Modern Scrap Quilt”

  1. Susan gantz

    I am totally in love with this. I have so much potential fabric from all the thrift store rejects. Have to do this. One strip at a time.

    Reply

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