Mondrian Improv Charity Quilt

Mondrian Quilt - Modern improv charity quilt

It's finally done!!  After volunteering at the January Montreal Modern Quilt Guild meeting, I am so thrilled to finally share the finished quilt I put together using scraps. 

That’s right!  Just scraps!  It’s amazing what you can create using just fabric scraps and your imagination!

The guild had participated in the Michael Miller QuiltCon Charity Challenge back in the fall of 2015 and we had some scraps leftover.  Not wanting to see things go to waste, I volunteered to take them home and create a quilt.

Fabric scraps sewn into strips | Mondrian improv charity quilt

Little did I know what I was getting myself into! This quilt took quite a bit longer than I anticipated, but I am so happy I tackled it!  My initial design idea didn't work since the fabric scraps I had were not large enough to complete the design.  Most of the stash provided were already cut into strips.  So I decided to go completely improv.  I literally just started sewing together the strips with a vague idea of what I could do with them. 

My ideas changed several times over the course of the project, which I think is normal for an improv approach.  The key here was not to get discouraged and give up (which there were a few times I thought…”oh my, what have I done”?!).  But that’s all part and parcel of the improv process.

Modern improv charity block for the Mondrian quilt

Once I had my strips sewn together, in rows ranging from 3 to 7 strips, I then decided to cut them up in squares and rectangles before sewing them together with either solid squares and rectangles or different pieced strips.  Again there was no set rules here, I just followed my gut with the goal of trying to get as much out of the fabric as possible.

After playing with the layout a little, I put together this initial scrappy block. 

Once I had that sewn, I decided to go really scrappy and make completely different blocks based on where the pieces fit best.  So each block is really just a matter of piecing it together like a little puzzle.  You can learn more about building an improv block here.

This approach is by no means complex, but it is time consuming!  There are many seams to sew and iron in each block and I felt like I was at this stage for quite awhile.  But good things come to those who persist!

Mondrian quilt on the DIY design wall

During this project, I put together a DIY Design Wall and I received the best and most encouraging comment on Instagram from one of my followers:

“Ok…seriously this is an art piece! I had to come back and enjoy it again ;)”

That was beyond awesome and came at a time where I wasn't sure whether the project was really coming together or just a hot mess.

Different colored thread used in straight line quilting the Mondrian quilt

I decided to go for straight line quilting to ground the craziness of the overall design.  But I went improve here too, in that I mixed up the colours of thread, randomly alternating black, white, turquoise and red (I couldn't find a yellow that I liked).  I also varied the widths of the quilting lines – sometimes I quilted a few close together (2, 3 or 4 lines), then spaced some more. Again, there was no set plan, I just followed my instincts and went with the flow.

Since the strips were too small to be included in the binding, I cut 2 1/2 inch strips from the solid scrap fabrics for a colourful binding.  And hand bound for a seamless finish.

Multi-colored binding strips for the Mondrian quilt - binding made and swirled together

I'm still trying to figure out and perfect my quilting labels, but as this quilt evolved it reminded me of Mondrian’s artwork and so I couldn't resist calling it the Mondrian.  If you have any quilting label tips, I would love for you to share them in the comments below!

Mondrian quilt rolled up

This quilt has received so much love – from me and the time I devoted to it, from the likes and comments I received on social media and from my guild members and friends and family who had a chance to see it in person.  It has been a great reminder that even if you are unsure of something, it can end up being a really rewarding and amazing experience.

I love the fact that this quilt is now headed to it’s new home – a local women’s shelter – and hope it will bring comfort and warmth during a very trying time in a woman’s life.




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