A QAL Project For Me, Day 3


I’m so excited to share more of my Mystery QAL adventures. I’m using Cindy Grisdela’s book  titled Artful Improv: Explore Color Recipes, Building Blocks & Free-Motion Quilting as a reference. This is Day 3!

A Diary

As you can see from the photo above, by the time Day 3 rolled around I had started keeping notes on my progress. I don’t always immediately share my projects on my blog; without notes and photos I would have a hard time remembering what I did on any given day. Writing about my progress gives me a wonderful opportunity to document my art pieces; to record part of my own history.

These posts are a great place for me to refer back to. I can revisit them at anytime to analyze my outcomes and learn from my disappointments; one could say this is my public diary.

I chose to write my notes on recycled paper. I buy my batting by the roll. As the material unfurls a continuous feed of brown paper accumulates. Rather than toss the paper into a re-cycle bin I roll it up and save it for future use.

When I decided to begin taking notes I thought it would be fun to use the saved paper. So, that’s why you will be seeing most of my notes written on the brown paper. Now back to Day 3.

Day 3 of my Mystery QAL Project

Day 3

Shared above is a photo of my design wall at the end of Day 3. The board saw many, many versions before I called it a day. The most noticeable changes are the eight filler fabrics I decided to audition. There is one in the top left corner. Just to the right of that is a lime green piece under one of my angled blocks and there is another bright green fabric resting beneath a severed strip from one my angled pieces blocks. I’ll let you find the other five. Also new on the board is three additional improv circle blocks, and a few new angled strip blocks.

Each one of the new additions helped to reinvent my evolving art piece. I was very happy with my progress and so thrilled with the color combinations.

Before we continue lets talk a little bit about the improv circle blocks. The improv circle blocks have turned out to be one of my new-found favorite techniques. I’m so amazed at how four squares of differently colored fabrics can be turned into such interesting designs.

I don’t know why I haven’t thought about using this method to create such interesting circles. Maybe it’s because my focus typically is directed toward angular lines rather than curves. Both, meaning circles and curved lines, if not repeated adequately throughout an original art piece could demand all of the eye’s attention. Typically that is not an artist’s desired outcome. But oh how much impact they can have when used properly.

In the quilt pattern world there are many beautiful quilt blocks. Some of the blocks are labor intensive. In contrast, with the wonky circles it takes relatively very little time to turn squares of fabric into an abstract design. This abstract design adds just as much punch, in my eyes. 🙂 Of course you could say my opinion is ever so slightly slanted toward the abstract direction. 🙂 Don’t get me wrong…I think quilts created from patterns, with specific intended dimensions demand just as much praise as my wonky creations. I just happen to prefer abstract art. Moving on!

Well, that’s it for today! Time to ponder my next moves.

Thank You

Thank you so much for sharing your time with me! I love receiving your comments and interacting with you. Your participation makes this journey more interesting than you could ever imagine. I look forward to each of our visits. 🙂

Talk with you soon!


Day 1 of My Journey Through Our 1st Mystery QAL

I’ve been very busy working behind the scenes to create my art piece for the Mystery QAL Tracy and I are hosting. I had the privilege of selecting the main fabric we all need to use in our projects. From the moment I made that decision my mind had been spinning with all the possible options:

  • Should I follow a pattern or
  • Create an improv art piece
  • What other fabrics should I include?

Thankfully I had several months to make my decision.

My heart beats fastest when I create improv art pieces so it seemed only natural to choose that path. One of my favorite improv artists is Cindy Grisdela. She wrote a book called Artful Improv: Explore Color Recipes, Building Blocks & Free-Motion Quilting. I began my Mystery QAL journey by using her book as my inspiration.

Mystery QAL_Inspiration

My first task was to begin pulling fabrics from my inventory to be used as companions to the mandatory fabric Fluffer Nutter You Be You.

Fluffer Nutter You Be You
Fluffer Nutter You Be You

These are the fabrics I initially chose


They would ultimately become the building blocks for my piece.

Day One

With Cindy’s book open on my table, I began the process of converting my fabrics into art pieces. First up was the creation of angled strips. Beginning on page 43 Cindy walks her reader through the steps needed to create them. I’ve made these strips before but I thought it would be a fun and educational lesson.

After creating several sets I began auditioning them, turning and moving them in every direction to decide whether I would stitch them together into one or more units. This is one of the arrangements I tried.

Mystery QAL Day 1 Angled Strips, What If’s?

Ultimately I decided to stitch two sections together, creating three new blocks. Those three units were then manipulated even further by slicing them and adding strips of blue fabric. I also decided to surround each of them with a border. The photo below shows my three building blocks with their added blue strips. It also shows the three fabrics I was auditioning as potential backgrounds.

Mystery QAL Day 1 End of Day

Also in that photo you will see that I had cut up one of my angled pieces into strips. My hope was to use those small segments to create other blocks. The strips are just resting on fabric for the time being.

I accomplished a lot the first day. There was, however, so much more to achieve. One has to admit, when they are exhausted, that it is time to call it a day. I had definitely reached that point. So with that, Day One had come to an end.

Day Two

The next chapter in Cindy’s book teaches the reader how to make Improv Circles. I had never attempted to make these before. From her photos they appeared to be fairly easy to tackle. I thought their unusual flowing lines could make an interesting addition to my evolving piece so why not try them.

To create my improv circles I stacked two different 5″ x 5″ fabric squares on top of one another. I then cut a curved line extending from the bottom right corner over to the top left corner. Next I shuffled the top right section to the bottom of the stack and the bottom right section to the top of the stack. The fun part was stitching the curved edges together. The photo below shows my improv circles before they were stitched.

Mystery QAL Day 2 Improv Circles

After stitching the groupings of two pieces together I then shuffled the stacks one more time. This second shuffle allowed me to create pairs of differently colored fabrics. All-in-all the process was very easy and it created really cool blocks. I’m absolutely certain I’ll be making more of them in the future.

On page 51 Cindy’s book teaches you how to make Improv Blocks. I am not a newcomer to this technique. I’ve used it so many times to create interesting blocks. While I didn’t need to follow her instructions I did decide to make improv blocks to add to my arsenal. Shown below are just two of them.

By the end of Day Two I had made all kinds of progress. I was so happy with the direction my piece was going. Since I was having so much fun it was really hard to quit. The attention I had paid to the process though had worn me out. Once I get tired it’s hard to keep my focus. The best thing to do is to surrender to my craving for more and call it a day.

Here’s a look at my design wall at the end of Day Two.

Mystery QAL Day Three Design Wall

On the wall you can see my three angled strip blocks, my three improv circles blocks and four improv square blocks.

This brings to a close my first installment in my Mystery QAL adventure. I hope that you have found this to be an interesting, educational and entertaining update? If you have any questions or comments please feel free to share them. I love hearing from my readers.

Thanks so much for visiting today! Talk with soon! 🙂


Let’s Get Started

Time to get your projects started! The event we have been talking about for several months has finally begun! Tracy and I are hosting a Mystery Quilt Along that runs from 1/1/2018 until 3/31/2018. Details of the event can be found at the bottom of this page.

Fluffer Nutter You Be You
Fluffer Nutter You Be You

I’ve been busily sifting through my stash looking for fabrics to accompany my purchased piece of Fluffer Nutter You Be You. These are the specimens I have chosen so far.



For my project I’m going to use Cindy Grisdela’s book artful IMPROV as inspiration to create my masterpiece.

Mystery QAL_Inspiration.jpg

I’ve been patiently waiting for January 1st to arrive! Now that it’s here I can finally get my project started. If you are interested in joining us here are the guidelines



Here’s a list of the quilters that are participating:

There’s still time to join! Can we add your name to the list?