Riley Blake MQG Challenge Quilt Post #2 – The Blocks

Over the last couple of weeks I had a chance to work some more on my Riley Blake Challenge hosted by the Modern Quilt Guild.

Post #1 for this quilt was about block design. This week I finished sewing my blocks and I’m pleased with how the quilt is starting to shape up. I may just make that February 17th deadline yet!

Riley Blake Challenge

Riley Blake Fabric Pull – it took me 3 tries to get the right shade of grey I wanted!

I had originally chosen a grey background for my improv blocks and it took me several tries before finding the right shade (I can be a little finicky like that).

Riley Blake Challenge

Original Design Sketch

However, once I made up a sample block it wasn’t really speaking to me. Then on a whim I decided to go with a much darker background – the Riley Blake Charcoal solid included in the original challenge bundle.

Fabric Audition

Auditioning a darker shade of grey – Charcoal solid by Riley Blake

I pulled in several more Riley Blake Basics in coordinating colors, then cut out a bunch of different length strips and sewed them together in an improv way (so fun – even if it does waste a bit of fabric). Using a large square ruler, I trimmed the blocks to size. I was going for the effect of a foundation string pieced block – without the pesky foundation part!

Riley Blake Challenge

Improv Strips Sewn Together

Now I’m starting to like how the blocks are coming together.

Riley Blake Challenge

Riley Blake Challenge Blocks

I timed myself while working and it took a total of 21 hours to starch, press, cut and sew a total of 36 – twelve inch blocks (not including prewashing all the fabrics first!) That seems like a long time for me, but I sewed them together just a few blocks at a time to make sure I knew what I was doing.

Improv String Blocks

Riley Blake Challenge – Improv String Blocks

This is my first attempt at an improv design and it was very liberating. As I finished each block, it was fun to see the wonky, graphic design emerge. I may rearrange them to balance out the colors and I’m toying around with adding a border of dark charcoal around the edges to make the whole thing appear to float. We’ll see.

I can’t wait to sew the blocks together and then start on the super fun part – the quilting!!

61 thoughts on “Riley Blake MQG Challenge Quilt Post #2 – The Blocks

  1. tmramos1209 says:

    I love the look with the darker grey background! Great job as always. Yes, putting the dark border on to make it look like it’s floating would be a great idea! Also I think using a white background with bright colors would be awesome as a spring look! Looking forward to seeing the finished product!

  2. Debi says:

    i always wondered why you would need or want a “foundation” for this type of string quilt block???mmmm so glad to see that it can be done without that part. BTW: l see the zig zag or ripples as secondary design… was that intentional ? It is very sublime. I love the block and playing with it is going to be fun.

  3. Anne says:

    Going a little improv can be very freeing when you’re not inclined to work that way. You’ve done a great job. I really like how the chevron print adds extra zing to the overall effect.

  4. Tiffany says:

    Wow. I love it! I think you made the right choice switching to the darker background. I’ve been timing myself a lot lately too. It’s amazing how the time seems to go by so quickly when I’m making a quilt, but then when I add it all up I can’t believe it took me so long!

  5. Renee says:

    Love it so far! Actually I usually love anything with Charcoal fabric, but the Riley Blake fabrics look great, and I love the design/pattern you’re using!

  6. Anne says:

    Your colours really pop. I like the size of your strips. Well done. Looking forward to seeing the quilting. I would like to try a string quilt without foundation.

  7. treadlemusic says:

    LOVE IT!!! I so agree, the darker was so needed to sharpen the design. The med. gray has its place but not paired with such powerful colors!!! Your border idea may be the perfect finish!!!! Hugs………………

  8. Margaret A says:

    Oh wow! Very striking – bold and fun! Love the contrast of the dark solid with the geometric prints with their bits of white shining through. The wonkyness makes it, and your post makes me think I could do this!

  9. Debby says:

    I’m with everyone here. AS for your color balance. I think you’re almost there. Just move some of the squares on the right lower to the left to distribute the orange and you’ve got it. I might do a double border. A wide interior that’s the plan gray and then a smaller outer border that uses all the colors again somehow. I know the inner border is usually smaller than the outer, but it might be interesting to try it the other way since this is freeform already.

  10. Janet Deschamps says:

    Just love how this looks! The wonkiness ( if that’s a word) just makes it fun to look at! I think my scrap bag is calling me to try this!

  11. Lynn says:

    You’re doing great I love how it is turning out. And as easy as it is for you to do the quilting you will have it done in no time. Eager to see what quilting design you come up with though. Also I like the idea of making the blocks float. I’ve seen that done on individual blocks but I don’t think on the whole quilt. Excited for you.

  12. mumsyblossom says:

    I’m totally in love with this. I love the very graphic nature and the asymmetry. Thanks for inspiring! (I think my first comment got lost, but if it pops up, forgive me the duplicate.)

  13. Shari says:

    I’m totally in love with this. I love the very graphic nature plus the asymmetry (can’t bear to call in wonky – that word has been way over-used in recent times). Thanks for inspiring us.

  14. jenetamasson says:

    Oh what an exciting quilt! I’m planning a grey, orange and light blue quilt for my king size bed. I’m seriously considering adding in navy and/or a darker grey after seeing yours!

    • Christa says:

      Thanks Vicki! The plan is to maybe quilt straight (or not so straight) lines in the printed areas and fill in the negative space with some interesting texture – like elongated pebbles. We’ll see how it actually turns out, LOL!!

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