Tag Archives: planned improv


Way back on July 20, I started a new 100 Day Project. I knew that with everything I had going the scope of my project would need to be lightweight and flexible. I also wanted a more focused scope than the last 100 Day Project (which morphed over time and I stopped after day 49).

I chose for this new project to be 15 minutes of sewing daily to work on expanding my series of Improv Log Cabin mini quilts that I started at the beginning of the year. 15 minutes a day meant some days I would be piecing. Some would be quilting, or making binding, or even just choosing fabrics. Forward momentum daily. For consistency, I would continue making 16 1/2" x 16 1/2" mini quilts. Why these dimensions? Because I have a ruler that size and a fat quarter can easily be used for backing fabric. Win win!

The first two in the series were created in response to Project QUILTING prompts in January and February. In each of these quilts I had limited myself to a palette of black, white, and one color. My bindings were solid black.

Generally speaking, I gravitate to the design and piecing steps of the quilting process. A finished quilt top can hang around for a long time in my life. The flexibility of this project allowed me to just piece quilt tops for the first many days. On day 30, I finished my 4th quilt top and decided it was time to switch gears so I'd have some finishes before day 100. On day 56, I finished my second mini quilt, the one I'm sharing with you today.

I chose a variety of values of green Kona and white in order to maintain my "black (the binding), white, and one color" rule. This is the first quilt in the series to be entirely solids (on the front). The logs of my 3/4 log cabin are 1 inch wide (finished). I chose nested Cs for the quilting, alternating direction for each color. The center was filled in with pebbles. (This is infinitely easier now that I own an open toe free motion quilting foot for my machine.)

The white background was filled in with wavy triangles. These were created by first making the large wavy zig-zag (see below) and then filling in on each side with echo quilting.

It just takes a little bit of free-motion quilting for me to remember that I really do enjoy it. I favor motifs like the wavy zig-zag that are more organic, and therefore forgiving. But I just can't resist the siren call of more precise and picky designs. Even if my work isn't perfect, the resulting texture is so rewarding.

I chose to match my thread to each fabric. My lightest green fabric was lighter than my lightest green thread, so I used white thread on both the lightest green and white fabrics. Left to Right these are 50wt Aurifil Forest Green (#4026), Very Dark Grass (#2890), Grass Green (#1114), Spring Green (#1231), Light Avocado (#2886), and White (#2024).

I'm backing my mini quilts with fat quarters from my stash in coordinating colors. I chose Mini Pearl Bracelets for this one. (I look forward to using the scraps of this fabric in a future project.)

The quilt is machine bound in solid black.

I would really love to work with this design again either on a larger scale or making a block-based quilt with a bunch of these blocks.

I have two more quilt tops to quilt up and bind. Then maybe I can squeeze a 5th mini quilt into these 100 days.

Have you done a 100 Day Project? What was the scope of your project? Did you enjoy it? Where there parts of the project that you found challenging?

You can read all about the other quilts in the series here:


I had such a great time making my project for Project QUILTING 11.2 that I knew I wanted to turn it into a series. I held back from starting a second one before this past Sunday in case I could make it work for PQ 11.3. Low and behold, I could! So I chose Kona Cerise (the February 4 Kona Color of the Day) as my starting point with a vague plan to make an improv log cabin with Cerise, white on cerise prints, and black and white prints. And I would work in triangles to the piecing so I could include it in my Show Me Something with Triangles linkup this month. I decided my hearts for the PQ 11.3 Put a Heart on It challenge would come in the quilting.

Then after I started piecing on Tuesday morning, Laura of Slice of Pi Quilts reached out to see if I could host TGIFF this week. I thought for a second. Sure! I'll just get this quilt completely finished and posted in the next day and a half, no problem! I finished stitching on the binding just after midnight last night, leaving me this morning to photograph and write it up. This may be the earliest in the week I've ever finished a Project QUILTING challenge! Scroll down for the TGIFF linkup.

I like for a project to be a twofer or a threefer, if possible. This one has worked out to be a six-fer! (A new record for me!)

  1. Project QUILTING 11.3 Put a Heart on It project
  2. Second in a series of Improv Log Cabin variations (see the first on here)
  3. Show Me Something with Triangles (my monthly linkup)
  4. Class sample for my Improv Log Cabins workshop
  5. Used a Kona color of the day (from their 2020 wall calendar)
  6. TGIFF finish (see linkup below)


When I began I didn't have a plan for the placement of fabrics and colors. My last quilt had a less organized structure, but this one fell into a pattern of light and dark. Unlike my last quilt, I also preserved the same direction of my piecing (adding pieces in a counter-clockwise pattern. I chose to piece in triangles to some of my strips. (This makes the project fit my Show Me Something with Triangles linkup theme.) They also follow a counter-clockwise pattern of placement.

My initial fabric pull included two small spools of Aurifil 50wt. Red Plum (#1100) was the perfect color, but I didn't have much left. So I also chose Light Magenta (#2588). The majority of the quilting was done with the Red Plum and I swapped to Light Magenta once I ran out of Red Plum. I used Light Magenta in my bobbin for the entire quilt since I didn't have a Red Plum bobbin. (Curious, very curious.)

I used another fat quarter from my stash for the backing and two corner triangles for easy hanging (label on one).

I had just enough remnant solid black binding. Score! I'm not sure I'll stick with solid black for the whole series, but it is a nice, unifying detail. Machine binding with Aurifil 50wt Black (#2692).

My quilt finished at 16.5" x 16.5", another detail I'm keeping constant for this series.

Thank you for visiting!

You can read all about the other quilts in this 2020 series here:



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After a slow start to the season when I didn't have time to participate in the first challenge, I'm happy to share my completed quilt for the Project QUILTING Team Colors challenge.

Now, I don't have strong sports team affiliations, so I had to think a bit before getting started on my project. But with a one week deadline, there isn't much time to think. I could have gone with Team Gryffindor, Team Jacob, or some other literary or art reference. In the end I decided to pick a sports team with colors I like. ;-) So, I chose the local San Jose Sharks (ice hockey). Teal and black for the win! I pulled everything used on the front of my quilt from previously used scraps. 100% of my project is from stash (probably common in a one week challenge!). You just can't go wrong with black, white, and one color as a palette.

With only the slightest of planning in my Planned Improv, I knew I would do one improv log cabin for the mini quilt. I opted for the teal (Christa Watson) print in the center since I felt that was the closest to the Sharks color. I pieced a shark fin of the same fabric into one of my strips. Beyond that there wasn't a plan for color placement, and I opted for wonky with regard to my strips. When I started in the middle I went clockwise around the center piece for the first eight strips before that broke down. I've really been enjoying Cassandra Beaver's improv blocks, especially her skinny strips. I included a couple in my log cabin. My only other conscious consideration was that I like high contrast, so I tried to avoid putting fabrics next to each other that blended.

Next up, thread and quilting. I chose Aurifil 50wt Light Turquoise (#5006) and Dark Turquoise (#4182) with a plan to use a variety of motifs in the different strips and start with the dark thread in the center and swap to light closer to the edges. I consulted three books for quilting motif ideas (affiliate links):

I especially like the Shape by Shape books for this because the book is arranged by shape of space you are quilting and they include borders as a section. In the end each piece of fabric in my quilt had a unique motif.

I am always so happy when I take the time to do more detailed quilting. Perhaps this is an indication that I should slow down and do more of it. I kept my quilt to 16.5" square so that I would have time to quilt the life into it. Much bigger and I would have opted for "get it done" quilting. ;-)

I used a fat quarter from my stash for backing and two corner triangles for easy hanging (label on one). The easy choice for binding was a black solid since I had remnant binding already made. Score!

Improv Log Cabins is a workshop I've started offering for 2020. There are so many ways to improv a log cabin. This piece has me considering a series of black, white, and one color improv log cabin mini quilts. The real question is, what color do I do next?

I've linked up with Project QUILTING 11.2. View all the projects there for the Team Colors challenge. (For those of you who have voted it past years, there is no voting this year.)

I'm also linking up with Beauties Pageant, TGIFF, Peacock Party, Can I Get a Whoop Whoop?, Free Motion Mavericks, and Off the Wall Friday.

You can read all about the other quilts in this 2020 series here: