This month’s queen bee in Stash Bee’s Hive 3 is Michelle from Factotum of Arts. Michelle requested some improv blocks to go in her Looking through the Shattered Looking Glass quilt. Click on the link to see a wonderful post about inspiration for quilt design and scroll down to see her lovely Looking Glass design.

I confess that I started these blocks in a bit of chaos. I fretted about whether to organize or just dive into the blocks.

Starting @ml_wilkie 's @stashbee blocks even though i should probably tidy and organize my sewing table first.

The blocks won. I dove.

Stashbee Hive 3 Block 2

I really liked the bit of movement that the diagonal brought to the first block I put together.

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So I included two diagonals to the second block. I put the diagonals at opposing angles, hoping to add interest and keep the viewer’s eye moving around the block instead of along a line or just in one direction.

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One of the earlier pictures shows a piece of leaf-like fabric with red in it staged near the middle of the block. Michelle’s design has green improv blocks bordering red/orange/yellow blocks. I absolutely love that fabric and wanted to include it despite how much the red stands out against the green. I thought putting that beloved fabric at the edge would mean she can use this block in the transition area from green to red/yellow/orange.

Care to see the backs?

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All those seams are pressed open.

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I was a little worried about pressing seams open when the finished white space is only 1/4″ wide. That means there ends up being 1/4″ from one side pressed back over the entire 1/4″ that was pressed from the other side. I thought it would be funky, but it was no trouble at all.

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The left block squares up around 10.5″ and the right is roughly 11″x14″. I’m making an angel block for another bee member who has a big move this month, so I hope to have a later installment called Looking Glass: Red, Orange, and Yellow. Michelle asked for 6.5″ or 12″ blocks, but I hope these end up being useful. I found it challenging to improv my way into a specific size with the white framing, but I’ll work harder on that for the next round!

The tutorial for this block can be found on the Stash Bee blog.

7 Comments

  1. Daisy

    Wonderful,  Michelle! I feel like I should clarify for folks that if you simply trim the blocks down without being careful, you run the risk of not having a colored shape on the edge that is big enough to attach the white sashing. There’s got to be about 3/4″ of the color fabric on the edge – smaller than that and the color risks getting eaten up by the white. So that’s why I left them as is. I’m glad it works for you! (And I hope it helps others who are still putting their blocks together – be sure to consider the quarter inch that Michelle needs once we send her our blocks!)

  2. Julie

    They both look great – I have never tried anything improv before, so I am impressed when others do. Love that wine glass in the top photo – always a help when deliberating over fabric choices:)

  3. Margaret

    Love these blocks! I have never done improv before but love the effect and you’ve done a fabulous job on these. The diagonals really make them come to life. Great job!

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