Thank Goodness It’s Finished!

I belong to an art quilt group at a local quilt shop that meets monthly to learn about an assortment of techniques and to get ideas about how to use them in quilting. Often, I end up with some small pieces of fabric that have been painted or stitched or had flowers pounded into them or something–and then I don’t have a plan for using them. Sometimes, a project pops into my head and I whip up something small and feel really good about myself.

Painting on Fusible Web
Like this handy tool holder made from an experiment with acrylic paints on fusible web…
Dress Form Mini Quilt
…or this mini-quilt. I think we used Mod Podge to create the fabric for the dress? I really should take better notes.

Other times, I just kind of forget about things until they resurface when I clean.

Abandoned Project
Like this. What even IS this?

Last month, we played around with some simple improvisational piecing. I’ve been working a lot with improv lately, so I just kind of dialed it in and made six little blue and orange rectangles. Right after I finished, there was an unfortunate incident with my old tomato pincushion and a glass of wine, so I grabbed one of the rectangles and threw together a quick and functional rectangular pincushion. Then I promptly forgot about the other five pieces until our next meeting, when I decided I’d better do SOMETHING.

Yes, and….

I got to thinking about the rule of improv comedy where participants aren’t supposed to reject an idea that’s thrown at them, but instead accept and expand upon the idea. The concept is known as “Yes, and…”. So I decided that rather than just put together a mini quilt exclusively from the five pieces, I should expand upon them and mix them up with some other ideas I’d wanted to try.

The way I laid out the rectangles on my table made me think of a flower, so I grabbed some tracing paper, put it on top of a rectangle, and drew a petal. Using that petal as a reference for consistent (but not identical) size and shape, I drew four more. Tracing Paper PetalsI took a piece of linen blend that I had no plans for and arranged the petals, then used an embroidery transfer pen to mark the petals on the background fabric. I thought it would be fun to try reverse applique for the first time…so that’s what I did.

Reverse Applique
Put the applique fabric on the reverse side of the background fabric and baste about 3/8″ outside the drawn line. Carefully cut away the background fabric approximately 1/4″ inside the drawn line.
Reverse Applique
Clip corners and curves, then fold the seam allowance under, following the drawn line. I used my machine to straight-stitch around the shape, but you can use a zig zag or hand-stitch. (I satin-stitched the piece for the center of the flower because I trimmed the seam allowance too close to the line, and I didn’t want any fraying to show.) Then clip the basting stitches and trim the excess fabric from the back.

After that, I drew a center for the flower, plus a stem and leaves, directly on the fabric and used scraps for the reverse applique. I thought I needed a word on the quilt, I used Adobe Illustrator to draw the word GROW into the shape of a flowerpot. I reverse appliqued the top of the pot, but I just fused the letters and satin-stitched the rest of it. GROW Applique Flowerpot

The Finish Line!

I used my walking foot and monofilament thread to quilt it, then finished the binding by hand. Voila! A finished banner to celebrate the arrival of spring (finally!) and to remind me to GROW by continuing to try new techniques and mix them up to my heart’s content.

GROW Improv Reverse Applique Banner

Improv Pincushion
P.S. Here’s the pincushion I made to replace the wine-soaked tomato. RIP Tomato, and RIP glass of wine.

Now it’s your turn to share! What have you finished? Link up here, add a TGIFF button and a link to this post on your blog, and visit all of those other friendly bloggers who post!

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10 Replies to “Yes, and TGIFF

  1. What a great project from start to finish! We are probably all guilty of cluttering up our stash with bits and pieces of experiments but you have made something really lovely from yours, you are an inspiration 😁

  2. Hi Becca,
    Wow – what a great use for those improv blocks! Very creative and the finished project looks really nice. I really love the mini dress quilt – so darling. ~smile~ Roseanne

  3. That is a fantastic little quilt – I’ve never tried reverse applique; very interesting and I love the look! thank you for hosting TGIFF this week!

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