Welcome back to Week 4 of the Improv Patchwork Forest Quilt Along! I have loved seeing all of the Patchwork Forest tree quilt blocks popping up on Instagram and Facebook. There are so many cute variations of this pattern happening!
If you missed the previous weeks you can find them here:
Week 2 – Video demonstration of how to make the Improv Patchwork Tree Quilt Block + make 28 small trees
Week 3 – Make 23 Medium size Trees
So far we have pieced a lot of little and medium sized tree blocks. Congratulations! You are over half way done with this quilt! (And if you haven’t started, but still want to play along, it is definitely no too late! It’s only been two weeks of sewing and you could catch up with a good binge of tree block sewing. They are super fast blocks.)
All of the remaining blocks are larger scale blocks – the improv stars and the remaining three large tree blocks.
Pine Hollow Patchwork Forest Quilt Along Week 4
This week your assignment is to make 4 Medium-size and 1 Large-size wonky star blocks.
Remember, you don’t have to make star blocks, if you’d prefer your quilt to be all trees. Check out the note in the middle of page 3 of the Pine Hollow Pattern.
If you’re not following the Pine Hollow pattern, and just doing the Improv Patchwork Forest, then make 12 more trees. 🙂
I’ve got some tips below to help you!
But first, this is a great time to layout all of the tree blocks you’ve already made, step back and get a look at the big picture, and make strategic fabric choices to really make your quilt sing.
I’m a sucker for scrappy quilts – and this pattern is so perfect for a scrappy look. Here is one of my favorite useful tips for successful scrappy quilts – making them “controlled scrappy”. One of my favorite scrap-quilt-makers is Jen Kingwell. Her quilts are magical. I’ve always wondered what her secret is and I loved this tip I captured a few years ago on choosing fabric:
Basically, the gist is to lay out all of your blocks completed thus far and really step back and look at what you’ve got and make some strategic decisions.
- Is there a color that is underrepresented or that would add more balance to your overall design?
- What about the scale of your fabrics? Are they large-scale divas that are competing for all of the attention and would a few “quieter” or smaller scale prints or solids give your eye a place to rest and help show-off those large scale prints?
- Do your colors or scale or prints need more contrast? Step back and look at the big picture. Check out this post if you need more tips on understanding fabric scale or choosing fabric.
- I also recommend squinting your eyes or taking a picture of your blocks to give you a different perspective. You’ll be surprised at what you see through a different lens.
Use this information as you go to pull fabric for your Wonky Stars blocks!
Here are my tree blocks thus far. I’ve decided I want a few more low volume/white blocks, so I’m going to make most of my star blocks with a light background.
At the same time, I’ve already chosen and set aside the three fat quarters for my tree blocks. I’ve got two small-scale prints that almost read solid and one large scale print.
Making the Star block – Improv Star tutorial
Sometimes these blocks are also called “Wonky Stars”. I certainly did not invent the design of this star block (nor any other traditional star block in the Quilting Universe). Some sources I found credit Gwen Marston (who I adore) for first teaching this block method. I love how they work with the improv-imperfect-wonkiness of the improv trees.
All of the measurements for the wonky Improv Star blocks are in the Pine Hollow Patchwork Forest pattern. Here are a few tips for making these start blocks and for resizing them to any size block where you might want to add them.
Start with 8 ‘background’ squares measuring the same size. Cut 4 squares (can be the same size as the background squares or slightly smaller) for star points and cut them in half to get 8 triangles for 8 star points. Cut a center square for the star also measuring the same size as the background blocks. This fabric can match or contrast with the background or points.
Lay one triangle right-side down over the bottom left corner of a background square. Sew in place using a 1/4″ seam allowance along the long side of the triangle. Make sure the star-point-triangle will entirely cover the bottom corner of the background square when folded down.
Trim away excess background fabric and fold star point down.
Repeat the same process on the lower right-hand corner. Changing the angle of the triangle will change the angle of the star points and give your stars more variety and a ‘wonkier’ feel.
Square up the star point block to the same size as the original background square. Note that the center valley where the star points meet needs to be at least 1/4″ away from the bottom edge of the block, but it can also be farther away.
Repeat this process to make 3 more star point blocks.
Lay out the Improv Star blocks in three rows of three squares. Sew rows together, pressing seams away from the star-point blocks. Sew three rows together pressing toward the center row.
Don’t forget to assemble your squares using a scant 1/4″ seam allowance to help the block stay the correct finished size.
If you are using the Pine Hollow Patchwork Forest pattern follow the measurements and instructions to make your blocks.
How are things going with your patchwork forest quilt? Share in a comment below!