Monday, September 27, 2021

Scrappy Improv Quilting: Cherub Wings

Hello, there—and welcome to my stop on the Scrappy Improv Quilting blog hop!

If you’re new around here, I’m Michelle, a quilt maker and independent pattern designer based in Massachusetts. I am a long-time fan of Kelly Young’s work and am happy to share my version of a design from her new book today!

I made Cherub Wings, pictured above, a 29-inch by 30-inch mini quilt. : )

Me and Improv

I should start off by coming clean: I’m not much of an improv sewist. The truth is, though, that anyone can learn to sew improv, and Kelly’s book provides a framework to do just that. 

With Kelly’s technique, you sew large improv pieces—Cherub Wings requires chunks as big as 13 inches by 18 inches—and then cut them down to use in a regular pattern. It’s the best of both worlds for quilters, like me, who are hesitant to delve into improv.

Me and Scraps

I should also talk about the scrap situation at From Bolt to Beauty world headquarters: I am a disciplined scrap keeper and organizer ever since I participated in FeelGood Fibers’ scrap overhaul event, back in 2020. (Psst ... Another one is starting soon.)

When I’m done cutting a project, I store larger scraps by color in neat piles in a drawer. (Yes, a single drawer. Photographic evidence can be found here.) Smaller bits are cut into 2-inch or 2.5-inch squares for future projects.

For Cherub Wings, I went right to my scrap drawer. Even though those scraps are not super small, once they were sewn into the required units and cut down, they were perfectly scaled for this quilt.

The Results

I couldn’t be more pleased with my finished mini quilt. I let my scraps determine the palette and ended up focusing on cool greens, aquas, teals, blues, and purples. Orange scraps added a necessary and effective infusion of warmth and interest. The result is a bold background that contrasts well with the white wings. 

Following Kelly’s lead, I bound this beauty with even more scraps, which makes the binding blend into the background instead of frame the quilt. It was definitely the right choice for me.

More on Scrappy Improv Quilting

Cherub Wings would work beautifully as a wall hanging in a nursery or as a stroller quilt—something that will keep a kiddo warm without taking up too much space. If you’re not into making mini quilts, Kelly devotes a full chapter to finishing your project with options to sew a pillow or create a larger project.

Like Cherub Wings, the other designs in Scrappy Improv Quilting require sewing simple, bold shapes. With big swaths of scrappy improv, either in the foreground or in the background, these designs come to life, creating something that’s one of a kind. Click on the blog hop links at the bottom of the post to see what others are making from this book!

I have more to say about this project and, in particular, about the quilting, which I consider a triumph. (For those of you who read last week’s Losing My Love for Straight-Line Quilting, you know this is noteworthy!) Visit this post for more insight into how I created this project, a photo shoot with a special guest, and my (potential) plans for what to do next with this quilt.  

You can find Scrappy Improv Quilting wherever you buy craft books. For a special signed copy, visit Kelly’s Etsy shop here.

Blog Hop Links

Bunches of quilt bloggers are making their own Scrappy Improv creations. Follow the blog hop!

8/31: Intro, Single Block Beauties, and Simple Shapes

9/27: Funkytown - Vasudha @ Storied Quilts
Cherub Wings - Michelle @ From Bolt to Beauty (that's me!)

10/6: Birds of a Feather - Preeti @ Sew Preeti Quilts
Fall Foliage - Susan @ Quilt Fabrication

10/11: Ornamental - Gail @ Quilting Gail
Churn, Churn, Churn - Cynthia @ Quilting Is More Fun Than Housework

10/13: Sunset Crossing - Kate @ Katie Mae Quilts
Positivity - Sarah @ Sarah Goer Quilts

10/18: All Dressed Up - Linda @ Flourishing Palms
Shockwave - Anne-Marie @ Stories From the Sewing Room

10/20: Sweet Bee (a bonus thank-you pattern), Finishing, and Wrap-Up - Kelly @ My Quilt Infatuation

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  1. I absolutely LOVE your version of Cherub Wings, Michelle! The controlled scrappy palette works so well. I'm so happy you enjoyed making it. Thank you so much for participating in the blog hop.

    :) Kelly @ My Quilt Infatuation

  2. The colors are so good, Michelle!!! And I love the scrappy binding! Looking forward to more info on Friday!!!

  3. I love how the scrappy binding finishes out the quilt, Michelle. This came together so well and look at that quilting *so nice*!

  4. You did great for being not much of an improv sewer and your version of Kelly’s pattern is wonderful, I love your scraps. I’m really impressed with your quilting and looking forward to seeing your post about how you graduated from straight line quilting which I still love.

  5. Wonderful! Your scraps made a fabulous background for the wings!

  6. Nice job with Kelly's pattern, Michelle! I really like the way you opted for a pieced binding. It really did melt into the quilt's pieced background!

  7. These wings really stand out on the lovely scrappy background - well done!


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