Improvising Tradition: 18 Quilted Projects Using Strips, Slices, and Strata
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Improvisational piecing methods anchored within traditional quilting designs.
Improvising Tradition pairs improvisationally pieced elements with more structured, and perhaps more familiar, quilt patterns to create projects that share a fresh, clean, and modern aesthetic. Author Alexandra Ledgerwood introduces readers to three basic improv piecing techniques: strip sets, piecing improvised strata, and slice and insert, then marries them with traditional quilting designs such as log cabins, coin and bar quilts, and even Hawaiian quilts.
By using improvised elements within traditional patchwork quilt designs, Alexandra merges new and old quilting styles into projects that will appeal to a wide range of quilters. Eighteen original and modern quilting projects combine the beauty and familiarity of traditional techniques with the fresh, fun spirit of improvised quilting.
shine. The organic, wavy horizontal quilting, paired with the earthy colors of the quilt, adds to a feeling of the panels cascading over the edge of the bed, like a waterfall. Work from your scrap basket or choose a progression of colors from a fat eighth bundle, keeping each panel within a single color family to achieve a similar look. A single strata panel makes the matching pillow sham a quick project to complement the quilt. The off-center panel engages the edge of the pillow. Adding the
needle to sweep the seam allowance under, folding the marked line barely into the seam allowance so it is no longer visible. Hold the folded portion under with the thumb of your non-sewing hand, about 1" (2.5 cm) in front of the needle, as you go. From the wrong side of the fabric, bring your needle up through the fabric, catching a couple of threads of the appliqué shape edge. Put the needle back through the background fabric, slightly underneath the edge of the shape. Take a stitch about every
together. Using your sewing machine’s walking foot and a zigzag stitch, sew around all edges. (I like to do this with the pillow front facing up.) The zigzag stitching will keep the front and back of the pillow together, compress the bulk of the layers, and make it easier for you to bind the edges. 2. Bind the edges of the pillow just as you would a quilt. Using this thin strip of double-fold binding creates the appearance of piping, but it is much easier to apply. 3. Insert the pillow form
take the time to mark when I want to add a new design element to the quilt top that cannot be guided by the piecing, or when I need reference lines to keep the quilting even. Even in this case I mark as little as possible. My favorite reason to mark a quilt top is to repeat a pieced motif in the negative space. These “ghost” shapes add interest to the negative space and reinforce the pieced design. Block quilted with a motif (Granny Square Baby Quilt, made and quilted by the author, following
that, you can avoid wasting fabric by staggering the strips as you sew them together. Simply sew the second strip onto the first one about 1 inch (2.5 cm) or so from the end of the first strip as shown (fig. 22). Add the third strip 1 inch (2.5 cm) from the second strip, and so on. The direction you stagger the strips as you sew will determine the angle at which they can be cut. As with strip sets cut into straight sections, I recommend limiting the length of your strips to the length of your