Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Tidy Up Tuesday - IMPROV Scrap Swap Challenge Edition

Welcome to another edition of Tidy Up Tuesday!!  Many moons ago, I signed up to participate in an IMPROV Scrap Swap on Ravelry.  From there, I joined the IMPROV Scrap Challenge issued on March 5, 2018.  Along about June of that year, I used the scraps in my bag to make these blocks:


All fabrics included thus far were from Katyknitsnyc.  (Except for that cool camera fabric, which was a scrap from Graylagran the very first time she join my Raleigh Bee for a Sew Day.)  What a great assortment I received!  I was pleased with the way they came together.

But then...

The blocks seemed to want something MORE.  Enter, the scraps from my friend Sfgwife and a change of direction:


With the layout set (and no direction), the blocks went back in the bag.  My excuse was a commission quilt that needed to be completed.  Projects came and went.

Two YEARS later...

The project made it back onto my radar and (more importantly) back on my design floor.  I laid them out and contemplated my next step.


I set them straight and determined that the blocks were begging for some breathing room.  Next, I pulled from my very own scraps baskets.  A bit of sashing fit the bill:

After letting that idea percolate overnight, I decided on another color for the remaining sashing strips.  I plan to go with turqouise.  With a twist.  I'm going to partially piece the top before adding those strips.


Prior to piecing, I thought I better go back and check the parameters of the swap.  In doing so, I discovered that I had departed quite a bit from my inspiration piece made by Pearlie Irby Pettway (c.1898 - 1955) and the goal of "Select a Gees Bend quilt for inspiration and make it to suit you. It can be a copy of the original or your interpretation. Both are valuable processes. You can make it ‘regular’ or you can make it ‘wonky’."...  Or had I?

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Gees Bend quilts were intended to be our guiding force for this long ago swap challenge.  Along the way, I apparently got lost!!

DO you care, Joyful???

Hmm...  That's a REALLY good question!!  At this point, I'm not really sure that I do.  The challenge was a real... well, challenge for me.  In the 2 years since the challenge was issued, I've come to realize that this type of IMPROV really isn't my style.  Deliberately making a "make do" quilt doesn't feel right to me.

The way from here...

... Is becoming quite clear.  While I appreciate the beauty and inventiveness of the Gees Bend quilters,  I don't feel compelled to remake their quilts.  Yes.  I worked in an improvisational way.  I didn't work with a pattern.  No.  I didn't work without a ruler.  Yes.  I worked with the scraps provided in the swap.

Let's roll the video tape...

Err, I mean let's review the Challenge parameters:

"Select a Gees Bend quilt for inspiration and make it to suit you. It can be a copy of the original or your interpretation. Both are valuable processes. You can make it ‘regular’ or you can make it ‘wonky’."

Ultimately, I created a design that was pleasing to me.  It's not "wonky", but "regular" falls within the "rules" of the Challenge.  It appears that I didn't get lost, after all.  I've pieced the blocks into four sections.  A departure from how I would normally do things:

I chose a solid colored fabric for the sashing and went in search of just the right cornerstone:

The top four choices above came in a scrap bag that I recently brought home from my friend Diane's.  One of those scraps fit the color story and the mood of my challenge piece perfectly:

Joining the sections into rows...

Just a few more seams and it will be a quilt top:

Ta-da!!!  It's NOT a completed quilt, but it IS a completed quilt top:

While it may not LOOK like your typical improvisational quilt, I worked in an improvisational way and (after a very long time) arrived at at completed quilt that pleases me to no end.  (Now is where the tidy up part from the title comes into play, as the pieces have come together and the quilt top can be put away to await quilting.)  I'm hoping for sooner, rather than later.

Until next time...
Know your limits and CHALLENGE them!!!


  1. I'm with you on "deliberately" making something look "make do." Apparently neither of our brains is wired that way! I think you met the parameters of the challenge: you were inspired by a piece and you put it together in a novel way--for you.

  2. I love the combo of colors in your piece! Clearly the palette of "reds appearing where they want to" was working in your brain. I am also a person who needs a bit more structure to be happy with my work. It's all good! :)

  3. I agree with Libby and Louise - you made this challenge work for you! I like how your version turned out. The turquoise sashing was a great idea - it really pops against the reds in the blocks!

  4. I think it came out great and you stayed within the limits of the challenge and made it your own.

  5. I agree! You were inspired and you made it to suit you! I’m liking the way you put it together. In quadrants with a different sashing! Unique!


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