Here is a quick photo tutorial on how I made my improv grass border for the fox quilt in the Modern Quilting Round Robin. You can also call this "improv sticks" and it could be fun in a bright mixture of colors.
I wanted to make a 6 1/2" border of thin stalks of grass. There were several ways I could have done this, but I chose to use this quasi-improv method to create my border over a traditional slash-and-insert block, strip-piecing, or improvisationally piecing strips for the following reasons:
- I wanted my stalks of grass to be fairly uniform in size
- I didn't want my stalks to be perfectly straight. For this reason I couldn't just strip-piece.
- I didn't want my stalks to be totally random. So that meant I couldn't improv piece strips.
- I wanted a fairly even distribution of background fabric and green fabric
- I wanted to use up scraps of background fabric, so I couldn't do a long slash-and-insert block (click here for a tutorial showing what that is)
The next step involved the improv slashing. Here I wanted to make sure that my blades of grass or sticks didn't touch each other, so I left at least 1/4" of background fabric on each side of the green fabrics. This was a personal preference and you could totally make this border with sticks touching or overlapping. I inserted a "slashed" strip of green in between each straight-set strip of green.
I chose to do 1 slash, then inserted a 1" strip of green, and then sewed the pieces back together. I did a slash, sewed in a green strip, did another slash, etc, until I had inserted a green slashed strip in between each straight-pieced of green. I continued on like this until my border was just about long enough. Below you can see the before and after pics. The top row has the slashed pieces inserted. The bottom row just has the pieced strip sets.
When I got close to the end I chose to add a straight green strip so my border began and ended with a green piece. (See below.)
The final step was trimming it all in to a long rectangle. I lined up one of the straight green end pieces with one of the vertical lines on my cutting mat, then I lined up my ruler with one of the horizontal lines and I sliced off the uneven ends! I repeated that process so the border would be 6 1/2" tall... And that's it! My grass border was done.