Art Quilts · Quilt Design · Quilting · Use Up the Stash

Easy improv 3

Aaaaand we’re headed for the finish line!

Each block needs to be squared up. Now I don’t mean each block has to be a square, but they do need to have ‘squared up’ sides. I do not try to make them all the same size right away unless they are very small to start with. This group is quite large–the block on the right is about 16 x 20.

Scrap improv 3-1

You can lay them out close together or spaced out to help you plan where you might want additional background “space” as you go along.

Scrap improv 3-2

Oh–I think this post is going to get long! It just ocurred to me that maybe you don’t have a clear idea of how to square up those blocks. If you do, skip to the bottom to see the final layout!

So…it’s easiest to start by picking one edge to be your base line–the straight edge from which everything else is measured.

Scrap improv 3-3

It doesn’t matter which edge you use–I picked the left edge in the picture above and the top edge in the picture below.

Scrap improv 3-4

The lines on my cutting mat become really important to me now. I line that base edge up along one line and use my ruler to determine how wide a strip I will need to attach to the side to be able to square it up.

Scrap improv 3-5

You can see that this would probably work well with a 3″ strip.

Scrap improv 3-6

Better to have it a bit too big…sew it on, press it and line it up again to trim it square. Sometimes you get lucky and you can use what you trimmed on another, shorter side!

Scrap improv 3-7

Continue on until all those blocks are square. You don’t have to add a strip to your base line edge. I kind of like to leave that until I start putting the rows together. It’s easy to measure and cut to fit at that point.

Scrap improv 3-8

Where to start with final assembly? As you can see, each block can be a different size. Select what will be your widest (or longest) row and trim or add fabric to each block to make them fit together. Adjust as needed, but it can be wherever you wish in the row!

Scrap improv 3-9

Then make every other row to that same width or length. Make the blocks in each row the same height/width by adding/trimming strips and then add/trim strips to make it the same as your first row. I added some blue to some of my base edges and did not for others.

Again, do the same for each row and then sew the rows together!

Voila! A finished improv quilt top!

Scrap improv 3-11

I never had any intention of adding a border, but the question needs to asked for any project! The only border I might add to this one is a bit more blue all around…maybe!

Does anyone see the irony of this project? It started as a way to use up a pile of blue/green scraps that I had. It’s finishing with a pile of…

Scrap improv 3-10


6 thoughts on “Easy improv 3

  1. This piece is just great…..AND……though I should know how this type of quilt is constructed…..I really didn’t. I’m SO anal….it never occurred to me that such piecing was a method I could actually live through!! Your instructions were very helpful….thank you!


    1. That’s exactly why I wrote about it this way. I would like the entire world of quilt enthusiasts to know that improv isn’t hard!

      On Thu, Jul 2, 2015 at 3:35 PM, Quirks Ltd. wrote:



    1. I don’t make bed quilts anymore either, but it doesn’t seem to matter what I make–my scrap piles continue to grow. I think they breed when they are alone down there in the dark basement!

      On Thu, Jul 2, 2015 at 9:05 AM, Quirks Ltd. wrote:



  2. Scraps breed scraps! This is fun, and thanks for the tutorial. I’ve framed/squared blocks, of course. But I haven’t gone the next step of making the different rows sized differently. That adds a lot to the interest.


    1. It’s a simple way to get a unique look and I hope it makes someone try something new! But yes, you can’t make anything, even from scraps without making more!

      On Thu, Jul 2, 2015 at 7:54 AM, Quirks Ltd. wrote:



Comments are closed.