This is Thirty: A Finish!

Last October, I started my second birthday quilt. (It has become a traditional to celebrate each year in my life with a special sewing project). This past year, I made 30 improv blocks for my 30 years on this earth. I’m a huge rule follower, so my hope was that this challenge would allow me to let go and access a new level of creativity.

I truly did my best with the improv — I just cut and sewed and played with colors and designs. And I never ripped out any seams, so there was no second guessing in my designs. But each block ended up the same size (a tiny 3″ square finished) and I used many of the same fabrics to get a cohesive look across my blocks. So, I learned that I’m my most creative when I have a few boundaries. (Any other Type A quilters out there who can relate?)

Since there were so many different colors in these blocks, I had a lot of trouble picking sashing for the quilt. If you follow me on Instagram, you probably voted in quite a few polls I did trying to decided which background fabric to use. And I didn’t use any of the ones people voted on. At the last minute, I decided a teal solid would give the quilt the fresh feel that I was looking for without overwhelming the blocks.

For a modern and asymmetrical feel, I added sashing to the top but not the bottom. And I used the same fabric for the binding as I did for the sashing to make the quilt float. (I added a fun splash of black-and-white in the binding, too.)

For the backing, I used up some of the fabrics from the quilt top — a variety of precut 5″ squares and some extra yardage. It was a fun way to highlight some of the prints in a larger area.

I quilted straight lines every 3/8″ across the quilt using a white thread. The white thread blended with all the fabrics easily, so it didn’t compete with the quilt’s colors.

Thanks for joining me for “happy hour”,


Have you done an improv quilt before? Did you like the process?

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