Modern Sampler: Painter’s Tape Block

For the next block in my modern sampler, I used an improvisational technique that first occurred to me several years ago: I outline the size I want my final piece to be with painter’s tape and then fill it with whatever shape I’ve decided to use.

My first exploration of this technique was a T shirt quilt.  The motifs from the shirts were many different sizes but could all be cut as rectangles or squares.  I outlined a rectangle about 55″ x 68″ on one of my carpets and stated filling it with shirt pieces.  I selected a modern fabric to fill in the holes, and here it is:

Improvised T Shirt Quilt

Improvised T shirt quilt

The shirts were all cut into rectangles and squares, and the fill-ins therefore were rectangles and squares as well.  I’m not saying this is easy, but it sure was more fun than just making a bunch of blocks the same size and lining them up.

So for the next Modern Sampler Block, I outlined an 8-1/2″ square on my cutting mat and started filling it with triangles.

Improvised quilt block

Starting a square that will finish 8″

I added 1/4″ strips between the triangles to give the whole thing definition.  Then I just kept addiing triangles (that I cut randomly) until it was done.

Improvisational quilting

Improvised triangles block

No chance of a pattern for this one.  To make it, just cut a triangle you want to start with and then keep adding on.  I have a couple of deliberate exceptions to my “rules” so that the eye doesn’t just keep saying “yes”, it has to stop occasionally and say, “hey, wait!” The only trick is to keep finishing with a straight edge so you can easily add on the next section.

Try this technique! I hope you enjoy it!

Here are the previous posts in my Modern Sampler series:

Humbug Star

Improv Block I

Pretty Blocks–better look at this one!

My Own Modern Sampler–It May Take a Year!


10 thoughts on “Modern Sampler: Painter’s Tape Block

  1. I like the idea of this a lot. I may have mentioned before that one of my design challenges at this point is to consider how to use space differently. I just showed my son the new quilt, Branching Out (in solids) and he remarked quite a lot about it. And he also likes the modern back. So … obviously there is a lot of territory (space) to explore. 🙂

  2. I’ve heard to make visual decisions visually, and your system allows for that quite nicely. Slower process, but I too like the variations in the result. I like your outlining the triangles too. I don’t worry about ending up straight; I just make a little bit oversized and trim .

  3. Smiling….. So “yes” works for improv, but with quilts, “Hey wait a sec,” works better. dp

    Sent from my iPhone


    • In fact Patricia’s book is listed in the bibliography of a quilting book that is being hyped a lot right now, so YES! The author is from California so I assume they know each other. Thanks for reading 😊

  4. Pingback: My Modern Sampler, Block 8 | Zippy Quilts

  5. Pingback: My Modern Sampler, Blocks 9 and 10 | Zippy Quilts

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.