My name is Charlotte, sometimes known as Ms Lottie, occasionally as The Slightly Mad Quilt Lady. This is my blog, where you'll find me writing a lot about my quilting and textile arts and a little about my family's life in a small seaside town in New Zealand. Haere mai!

Friday, June 3, 2016

Cropping - what bits to leave off your quilt

I've been making small improv quilt compositions.  They started as colour studies, a follow-on exercise from this blog post here.

I gave myself rules: one a day, improvisational, don't get hung up on it, only allowed to change one colour per day, 4 1/2 inch finished, straight line quilting.

It's been a real eye opener for me regarding what my preferred colours are, what works with improv quilting and how the proportions of colour really change the end product.  I got sick of pink so fast...

What has also been very useful is making a quick cropping tool.

I took a sheet of paper (I have a roll of brown butchers paper that never seems to get any smaller and is incredibly useful) and cut a five inch square out of it.  I should have actually cut a 4 1/2 inch square because that's my finished size, but I was worried I'd mark my sides and then cut them without thinking, ending up with 4 inches....

Look how it helps me see possible end compositions:

And here's what I finished with:

Below are three of my most recent; numbers 20, 21, and 22.  I broke my rules and made three in one day with the same colours as I found this colour combination so compelling, and there was something really clicking with my piecing that day.  I felt as if I was really reaching something I had been looking for.

Do you crop?  And how do you feel about cutting off precious bits of quilt?  And do you break your own rules!?


  1. These small pieces are just super! I use a picture mat mount cut at two of the corners and these can be moved around.

  2. I agree with you about those three pieces - they do work. And so does the mask :)


    ps. I have finally started putting some writing up on the old blog. Hope some of them prove interesting:)

  3. I've never thought to do before. It really is one out of the box, but something to think about and how to use up your scraps. Your blocks are looking slick.

  4. What a great idea, your colour combo! I must blow the cobwebs off my sewing machine.....

  5. What a great idea to really visualise what you are going to have. Love what you have achieved here. I have not tried improv piecing like this but am drawn to it.

  6. I suppose the big question being, what are you going to do with them?


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