Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Improv Process and a Recipe

The improv quilt block process is basically whatever the quilter makes it to be.  What I am showing is my personal process.  In truth, this changes from time to time depending on my mood. (Yes, seriously.)
Some quilters think that they need to cut neat exact pieces for any block, but that is not how I do this.  For me, improv is grabbing a piece to add on that hopefully will look good and have a nice value change. (dark against light.)   My pieces don't always fit exactly.   Look at this piece.
The hand-dyed yellow/white was a piece that a piece had been cut from.  It wasn't quite long enough so I just sewed it on and then sewed another bit over the corner. It still wasn't enough so I added the green triangle to fill out the corner.  I don't trim it all neatly as I go - but I do trim seam allowances as I go - usually with my scissors.  That curved edge will be trimmed into a straight line before I sew anything onto that side.

This next piece (the center section) was scraps cut away from some other block parts.
It was in two parts.  On one part the dark green bit was added to bring up the width and then the pieces were sewn together.  The yellow triangle was added on one side.  Then the burgundy bit added at that top. Obviously I will be adding more to work toward a square shape. Some of this may be cut away in the process, but the scraps are getting used.

In the final one, the green strip was added across the top without trimming.  It is faster for me this way and I stay more in the creative flow.
Perhaps you noticed that new fabrics are being added as I go?  This adds some variety as well as allowing other scraps to be used from the scrap basket. But if you notice, the greens pull from the greens in the snails on the yellow fabric.  The burgundy is close in value and color to the purple that has been used in most of the blocks.  Honestly, I didn't think about this until I had sewn these fabrics in. I suspect that my subconscious mind was giving me hints.  I have learned that you should trust your instincts.  At worst, you may have to cut up a piece and re-do it.  But following your instincts will speed you up and develop your own style in the long run.

Recipe as requested!

Several asked for the recipe for the "cake" that I made for Mom's birthday.  The recipe that I used was for the filling between the layers.  It is Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Frosting.

* note: I did cut this in half as I was only using it between the layers - but then I added a bit more cream cheese - because---YUM!.
Peanut Butter/Cream Cheese Frosting

1(8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1⁄2cup creamy peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 -3 1⁄2cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons milk or 2 tablespoons cream

Mix together cream cheese and peanut butter with mixer until smooth.
Add vanilla and powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, along with the milk or cream and beat until spreading consistency.
(I used only 3 cups powdered sugar and 2-3 tbsp. of milk).
Spread on cooled cake.

Big Confession:  I used a Duncan Hines dark chocolate cake mix - it said "3 large eggs" but I substituted 2 Jumbos and one Large egg.  Other than that I followed the directions.  I alway put a parchment circle in the bottom of the pan.
Next- for the outside frosting- I used Duncan Hines  Dark Chocolate Fudge frosting. (no high fructose corn sweetener.)   I put it in a bowl and whip it pretty good with the mixer to make it spread better  and look prettier on the finished cake. 
Then I used some mini chocolate chips all over the top which worked out very nicely. They add a surprising bit of "chew" to that you wouldn't have otherwise.  I really liked that addition.

Comments are welcomed. I will reply when possible unless otherwise stated. Of course if you are a "No Reply Blogger"- I can not reply. Links in comments will result in the entire comment being deleted.


Debbie said...

Your improv pieces are great and you make really good teaching points to remember. The recipe sounds good...I gained pounds just reading it:)

Joyce Carter said...

I really like all the blocks you are making--a great way to use scraps without having to cut them out into small pieces. I have seen a lot of these on Instagram lately.I made a lot of blocks like this several years ago, but that is as far as I got. I am not sure how I want to set them in a quilt.
Thank you sooo much for the recipe. My husband will love this.
P.S. Someone told me to add a little butter to bought cake mixes and it will taste more handmade. I tried it and it does taste better.
Have a great day!

Jeanna said...

Would you put sashing around the improv blocks? I'm interested to know how they come together in a quilt.

Thank you for sharing the recipe :)

Cheryl's Teapots2Quilting said...

Thanks for the recipe. It sounds yummy (with peanut butter, chocolate and cream cheese, how can it go wrong). I'll be trying it soon.

A Left-Handed Quilter said...

Oooh - THANKS for the recipe!! As a lover of chocolate - peanut butter - and cream cheese - I now know exactly which dessert I'll be making next - LOL - ;))

Your "improv" blocks look a lot like my "crumb" blocks - but on a larger scale - and with more creative thought involved in deciding which fabric to add next. My "crumb" blocks use the "kitchen sink" theory of quilting - "everything goes" - and with my favorite setting blocks - they all seem to play nicely - ;))

Susan said...

I love the improv blocks that you art working on! I’ll be watching to see how you put them all together!

Rhonda said...

I will definitely be trying that recipe very soon. Hope you have a great Memorial weekend!!!