My quilt guild recently held a challenge that our makers of quilt fun called Divide and Conquer. Each person started with one yard of randomly selected fabric. We each ripped our yard in half and passed one half to the next person. Then we ripped the half yard we just received in half and passed one of the resulting pieces on to the next person. And so on until we each had six different fabrics in progressively smaller sizes. The fun challenge was to make a quilt using all of your six fabrics. As you can see my assortment was not a particularly harmonious collection of prints and colors!
Slice and Insert Technique
Slice and insert to the rescue! This is a modern improv piecing technique that I first learned from a Jacquie Gering class on Craftsy. Thank you Jacquie! The blue and green fabrics were my biggest pieces, so they became the background panels. I cut the four background rectangles and then cut strips from all six fabrics ranging from 1 inch to 1 ½ inches wide. And yes, I cut the ugliest fabrics the smallest size so they would show up mostly as a dark or light value in the finished quilt top.
The slicing and strip placement was improvised, but I did follow a general strategy. First I sliced each panel all the way across once or twice, then I sliced each smaller piece with a mixture of straight and slanted cuts. I decided to use three strip colors on the green panels and three different strip colors on the blue panels.
When doing a slice and insert technique, the background panel always ends up with uneven edges and the panel size will vary depending on the number and size of strips inserted. This means I had to square up the four panels to the same size before assembling the quilt top.
Finally, to use up the rest of the fabric and pull the design together, I added a narrow border of the flowered fabric and a wider border of the blue fabric.
This mini quilt top turned out way better than I expected from the original collection of fabrics. I knew it would be a fun quick project, but surprisingly I like it enough to finish the quilt and keep it around. A win!