Blog / improv

2016 umbrella prints trimming competition

2016 umbrella prints trimming competition

This year, I'm so excited to once again participate in the Umbrella Prints Trimmings Competition, an annual sewing competition to transform a pack of scraps from the Australian fabric company into something fun. (You can see my 2013 entry here, and my 2012 entry here.)

Improv Wall Quilt by Salty Oat

As many of you know, my husband and I recently purchased our first home, so I set out to make a wall quilt from the trimmings to hang above our new bed. I took an improvisational approach to making this quilt, allowing the trimmings themselves to dictate the size of the blocks and the width and number of strips I created from each. I paired the trimmings with white and cream solids from my stash, and built of up each block until it was a uniform 8.5" square. 

Improv Wall Quilt by Salty Oat

After assembling the top, I basted the quilt and quilted it with matchstick lines, something I tend to reserve only for small quilts since it's a time-consuming process (but well worth it!). 

Improv Wall Quilt by Salty Oat

The quilting lines bend and pivot, creating right angles throughout the quilt. I also left a few rectangular areas unquilted to mimic the strips and vary the texture of the top.

Improv Wall Quilt by Salty Oat

For both the binding and the backing, I used a pretty peach-and-mustard print by Carolyn Friedlander that coordinated perfectly with the scraps, which I picked up in a fabric shop on a recent trip to Michigan. 

I'm so happy with how this quilt turned out, and I'm most excited to have our new bedroom finally start to come together!

Voting for the competition opens on June 1, and I can't wait to see what everyone else has created! If you'd like to vote for your favorite entries, simply re-pin, like, or comment on them on this Pinterest board until June 6. Happy pinning!

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modern sampler quilt along: block G link-up


The Modern Sampler Quilt Along is an informal and virtual quilt along where we make a block from Yoshiko Jinzenji's Modern Sampler Quilt pattern each month. You can follow the hashtag  #modernsamplerquiltalongon Instagram to get a peek at everyone's blocks, fabrics, and progress, as we work our way through the pattern together. On the last Tuesday of each month (or Thursday, in this case!), we...
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playing with color


Happy New Year, dear readers! I hope 2015 is off to a great start for all of you!

Over a year ago, I discovered Sarah Waterhouse's screen-printed fabrics and fell in love. I quickly decided that I wanted to stock her designs in my shop, and selected a number of prints from her Geometrics collectionto carry. Though her organic fabrics are a heavier weight---perfect for upholstery, tote bags,...
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improv slab quilt


I was recently commissioned to make a quilt for a family member, with the only parameters being that it needed to fit on a twin bed and should feature light blue fabrics.


Using the slab technique from Sunday Morning Quilts, I constructed blocks from light blue and aqua fabrics, including vintage prints and men's dress shirts. To keep the quilt from becoming too busy, I alternated the improv blocks...
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hand-printed hexagon wall quilt


English paper piecing has become my go-to project when I'm traveling, so after finishing my star blossoms quilt, I immediately switched over to a hexagon project I started ages ago, but had never finished. During plane rides this past fall to Salt Lake City for Sewing Summit and Houston for Quilt Market, I stitched away.


The main fabrics I used were hand-printed scraps by Sara Lee Parker, which I bought from her table at Crafty Bastards a few years ago. I paired her prints with an olive linen from my stash. I took an improv approach to the layout of the hexagons---I pulled basted hexagons from a pouch without looking, and stitched together whatever I pulled.

Once I'd stitched together all of the pieces I had, I decided to machine appliqué the entire shape to a rectangular scrap of muslin. I did echo quilting around the edges and then framed it all with a black binding.


I love how this piece turned out---and loved working with Sara's fabrics---and can't wait to hang it on my studio wall.
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