Connected Lines Mini Quilt
I made that piece for the Connected Stripes 2021 Challenge on IG. I have had a feeling that with the recent changes in algorithm, posts seem to vanish there like in a black hole and less and less people see them. So I thought I would share the process here on my blog, so those who are interested in that fun technique or missed it could refer to the original tutorials and may be get inspired to try.
In August 2021 I came across Marina Kontsevaya`s blog (it is in Russian but very visual with lots of pictures). In the latest post she shared her variation of Cross Cut Blocks with the original link to Debbie´s @aquilterstable tutorial. Both quilters made their panels differently. Marina made from one large piece of fabric, while Debbie made the panel from blocks.
It is a fascinating technique. First, you sew large blocks with a diagonal stripe (mine finished at 9 1/2") .
I chose upcycled shirt fabric for my project as I wanted to see how all the striped and plaid prints play together.
The Guest expert for the Connected Stripes 2021 Yuliya @quiltcreation made a great video tutorial for that simple improv block. I really like her idea that the strips can be uneven and vary in width in one block. It didn´t cross my mind when I was sewing my blocks. But I can see that it would be much more liberating to work with uneven strips and it would also create visual interest. I will do it next time!
Once your blocks are ready, you sew them together in a 9 patch panel.
Then the fun starts. Only quilters can understand the joy of cutting fabric, sewing it together, then cutting again! So you sub-cut the panel into smaller blocks (mine were 6.5") and mix them as desired. Both makers in the original tutorials did controlled random layout.
My idea for combining the blocks came from the name of the Challenge. I decided to try to lay the blocks in a way that connects the lines. So I had to add some fabric between the blocks.
At that point I felt my fabric choices were not the best for that technique as it looked quite busy to my taste. Your eye needs a place to rest, so I added some solid fabric. I tried to look at the panel color-wise but not print-wise.
Here is my finished panel and as you can see that idea didn´t work 100%. It was not possible to connect all lines by sewing.
So I decided to quilt the connections. What could be a better quilting design for an improv piece than lines? I settled on match stick quilting 1/4" apart. It took almost 5 hrs but it was fascinating to see the texture appearing. Quilting along piecing lines always creates organic look and this is what I did on that piece.
I also added some hand quilting in red Perle cotton around secondary geometric shapes within some blocks. I am in love with the result and texture.
I love how quilting absolutely changed the piece. It doesn´t look busy anymore. I think dense quilting and simple quilting design add so much to perception of the fabric as color rather than print (you remember my doubts regarding fabric choices). In that oiece the stripes work on many levels and create movement. The quilting has allowed the narrower strips to puff up, emphasize the design and give three dimensional look.
The next two photos don´t do justice to the colors but perfectly show the texture.
I wasn´t sure what to make from that 21" square panel. A pillow or a wall hanging?
I settled on a mini Quilt (wall hanging). As there are so many straight lines there, I finished it with rounded corners and faced it instead of binding (you can see my tutorial for Facing a quilt with rounded corners here).
Here is the finished mini Quilt "Connected Lines".
I hope you are inspired to try that improv technique and looking forward to seeing your versions!