Print Study: When Plans Fall Apart

When Plan A turns into Plan B and then into Plan C… sometimes you just gotta roll with it. That was the case with this piece, which I call Print Study: When Plans Fall Apart.

The quilt is small, just 11” x 14”, but it packs a lot of personality. I made it for Chattanooga Modern Quilt Guild’s Set it Free Challenge, and it’s my entry for the 2019 Pantone Quilt Challenge hosted by Rebecca Bryan and Sarah Sharp.

Back in February, nearly two dozen ChattMQG members exchanged fabrics. The challenge was to choose a piece to set free from our stashes and give it to someone else to use in a quilt. I received roughly one yard of a ticking stripe print in red, pink, orange, and yellow—it’s called Shelby Pink by Dena Designs for Free Spirit.

To make the challenge more interesting, guild president Karen Downer encouraged each participant to try a new technique. I decided I wouldn’t use any solid fabrics, something I attempted back in 2016 but failed at for two reasons: 1) The prints I selected didn’t have enough range in value, and 2) I ended up using solid white. Oops.

I thought inset circles would be a good design route, as I’d been watching Cassandra Beaver and Marianne Haak share their mind-blowing piecing on Instagram. But once I sewed the first few seams, it was clear that the plan wasn’t working. So I grabbed the rotary cutter and hacked the pieced fabric into 1.5” strips. When I arranged them on the cutting mat, an arc emerged, and after I sewed it together I knew I needed more curves. Time to call Jenny Haynes!

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Jenny recently developed a technique to sew teeny, tiny, curvy inset strips. It’s brilliant! Look at those gentle, improv curves: the teal one is just 1/8” wide. She plans to release a tutorial soon, follow her on Instagram @pappersaxsten or visit her website for updates.

Since mini quilts can be difficult to hang (mine tend to sit around in piles in my studio), I mounted this one on an artist canvas. My hope is that it will hang in a local art gallery and eventually sell. Stay tuned!