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Finish: Highlight on Improv

A thing that I’ve been working on during any free time (and then increasingly during not-free time) since October has finally come to fruition and I hope to be able to share details as soon as paperwork is signed. This is not exactly quilting-related, but more life-related, but I am super excited about it! It also means that a whole bunch of free time has opened up which (fingers crossed) means more quilting and blogging! With that said, there’s still a few things to finish up but I have plans to sleep the entirety of the first week of May and it will be glorious.


In the meantime, I’ve been sneaking in sewing time while I can and I managed to finish this mini-quilt a while back but am finally getting a chance to share it on the blog.


This year, Robert Kaufman announced their own Kona Color of the Year, and this year the color was Highlight. I got a fat quarter of it while I was at QuiltCon and spent the plane ride home brainstorming what I wanted to do with it.


The color is quite bright, and it also veers just a bit into green. So putting it with warmer colors makes the green really show up which can come across as a little sickly.


I wanted it to look more yellow, so I put it next to some greens which pushes it more into the yellow territory. (I talk about this quite a bit in my Color in Context post).


I’ve done a few projects with improv curves in the past, but I’ve been inspired by some of the beautiful work of Jayne @ Twiggy and Opal, so I decided to give it another go. I went with an analogous color scheme, sweeping from yellow to yellow-green to green and then a bit further into blue-green. The original plan had the block with the yellow at the bottom, but I switched it at some point during the creation of the quilt.


In the past, I’ve always felt like I’ve under-quilted my improv curve pieces, so this time I went all out. I used 5 different colors of Aurifil, keeping the yellows more towards the top and the teals more towards the bottom. I’m pretty happy with how it came out!


In a few places, I’d gotten a darker thread over the highlight color, and I ended up pulling the stitches wherever it went over them because I wanted them to pop more. I originally was going for an ocean feel, but I’ve had people say it looks like the prairies, and that works for me, too. 🙂


For the binding, I did a facing because I wanted the quilting to go right to the edge. I followed a different facing tutorial this time, and I like the way the corners came out with this method quite a bit. The tutorial is by Terry Aske Art Quilt Studio and can be found here.

One of the things I did differently design wise is I made a rule to follow with the way the colors progress. It made the whole thing a LOT less anxiety-ridden (improv is hard for me. I’m still learning!) Bonus: when people look at it they don’t immediately see the pattern I followed, so I’m calling that an overall win!

And because I am never completely happy with any project I do, my note for self for future design decisions: Why did you border the top? whyyyy? The continuation at the bottom is great, and it would have been even better had you continued that out the top as well.



Name: Highlight on Improv
Dimensions: 15.5″ x 16″
Fabrics: Kona highlight, wasabi, peapod, bonsai, fern, emerald, bluegrass, and oasis
Back: Kona wasabi and highlight
Threads: Yes. All of them.
Final thoughts on Highlight: I found this an enjoyable challenge, although I don’t see myself using a lot of this color in the future. The hint of green makes it hard to pair with warmer tones which limits its usefulness for me. On the other hand, I do appreciate yellow getting some love, and I like the way it pairs with Wasabi and Pickle which show up in a lot of my quilts these days.

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