Sewing Without a Plan

Usually when I start a quilt, I plan most of it ahead. I even choose my binding fabric before I start cutting fabric for the top. For the quilt I’m currently working on, I didn’t and I’m really enjoying it. It all started with a charm square bundle. At one of our guild meeting, we organized a rainbow charm square (5″) swap. The participants had to bring a solid charm square and a coordinating print charm square in one color of the rainbow for all others participating. Here is what we came home with.

This year, the guild is making quilts for a palliative care center. I decided use my charm square bundle to make one. So, this was the start for my quilt. I started working on it at our last sew-in. I decided to make simple pinwheels for each color by slicing the charm squares in half and sewing them with halves of white charm squares. Then, I sew 4 units together to create pinwheels. Because of the seam allowances, I had to trim them down afterwards. I ended up with 8″ blocks.

With the blocks done, I worked on their layout on my design wall to decide on the arrangement of colors. I thought it would be interesting to extend the secondary pinwheels created by the white fabric in the border. I just had enough Kona in Medium Gray to make additional blocks and the border for a good size lap quilt. I think it will end up a bit less than 40″ x 50″. I didn’t measure it exactly.

Pinwheel Quilt

I finished assembling the rows last night. I don’t know yet what I’ll do once the top is finished (backing, binding and quilting). For the quilting, I might try to extend the pinwheel pattern in the gray border too, but I don’t know how I’ll do it.

But, before I start quilting this quilt I have another one to quilt. It’s also for the palliative care center. This one was pieced and basted by my friend Cinzia from Deux Petites Souris. It features small improv houses from the same bundle. Even though it started from the same fabrics, it looks so different. I love it. She gave me the challenge to quilt it with a a contrasting variegated thread in orange/yellow. I’ll try to show some pictures when I’m done quilting.

Cinzia is really a reference for improvisational piecing. I admire her work. This is not natural for me, but I might be tempted to do this again. I’m not ready to make something without my rulers though. I have another charm square pack waiting (Pretty Potent collection by Anna Maria Horner). I might do something along the same lines as this pinwheel quilt. I think projects like this without too much math and no need to calculate everything in advance are perfect for summer.

3 thoughts on “Sewing Without a Plan

  1. Izzy

    Very sweet quilt top Josée! I like that you've extended the white pinwheels into the border. For the quilting, some kind of spiral or circles would give the pinwheels movement. :-). I agree with about Cinzia's work. Improv doesn't come naturally to me either and I'm in awe of anyone who can just sit at the machine and design on the go… And come up with such gorgeous pieces.

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  2. cinzia

    Hi Josee great to see you work without aplan! It's not always easy, but it helps to take on a carefree (summer) attitude.
    Your pinwheel quilt is beautiful! It is a great example of using negative space in an effective way. In this case with the white pinwheels.
    Can't wait to see what you do with my quilt!

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