cuzco modern quilt improv

cuzco white modern quilt improvThis is currently my favorite quilt to see hanging in a show. It makes me swell with pride every time I see it up and people taking pictures of it. I has a distortion wave right in the middle of it, which is crushing.  I spent 60 hours just quilting it and I was so sad when it did not lay flat. I am still going to enter it in a few more shows this year. It did win 1st place at the State Fair of Texas completing a life goal I had for myself to obtain a blue ribbon!

This also hung at QuiltCon 2015 and received a great response. I know because I lurked around it like a creep haha! But for real.


I made this pattern on Paint but was inspired by the incomparable Jacquie Gering‘s Whirling Medallion in her book Quilting Modern. In the book the quilt is a wall hanging so I expanded out. This is a beast at  85″ x 85″. The Whirling Medallion is a great way to dip your toes into improv piecing, which I will get into below.


I used a fat quarter bundle of Kate Spain’s Cuzco. The colors really drew me to this fabric. I feel like they work well together but they are not so obvious that this is all from the same line. I do not enjoy using the entire line anymore in quilts, which I talk about in the Tangelo quilt, but this time it worked for me.

I alternated some of the colors so it would not be straight forward ROYGBIV to make the colors transition a little differently in a chemical reaction way. I think this separates the orange and yellow into its own moment and then the colors cool out as you get to the edge.

I made this entire quilt as a postage stamp-style layout so that all of the white is actually 4″ finished squares so I could achieve the floating look. I took out 30% of the white squares and added the one piece from my scraps in the navy colorway only to one corner of the square in the flip-and-sew style Jacquie teaches. After squaring up back to 4.5″, I put the improv blocks in a back with the 70% left that were pure white. I mixed up the pieces and pulled them out randomly while piecing the top together.

white quilt kate spain cuzco improv modern quiltThe quilting took 60+ hours and was done on my domestic machine. I marked straight line randomly that went edge to edge. This helps break up the designs and also allowed me to work in sections. I made wavy lines radiating from the center to the edge of the navy diamond. I made 8 billion pebbles on the white area. To add interest I marked the white area in thirds and created dime-size, then quarter-size and then fist-size pebbles.


Final verdict: LOVES IT!