September 20, 2018

The “F” Quilt – A Modern Improv Log Cabin

The "F" Quilt - an exploration of feelings through improv quilting | Shannon Fraser Designs

This quilted wall hanging has been a WIP since the fall of 2017!

It all started as an outlet to just play. No pattern. No rules. Just me and my scraps leftover from my Plus Infinity Quilt.

It’s interesting to see a project evolve when you have no end point in mind.

It’s a liberating feeling and a process that brings me countless joy.

I also find it fascinating to see what emerges from these play sessions. This time, it wound up being an improv log cabin.

Quilts in the wild | The "F" Quilt - an exploration of feelings through improv quilting | Shannon Fraser Designs

There were a bunch of strips of various sizes that were laying on my sewing table and I simply grabbed whatever was calling to me. And made it “fit” as I went.

The pieced top sat on my design wall for what felt like an eternity! She wasn’t my main project, and since other projects had strict deadlines, this one just kept waiting patiently for me to return to her.

Stitching details | The "F" Quilt - an exploration of feelings through improv quilting | Shannon Fraser Designs


Why “F” Quilt? Well, when I shared a sneak peek of her on my Instagram stories someone (I wish I remembered who) said it looked like an “F”. And they were totally right!

As I thought more about this “F” I thought it was totally apropos for what I was feeling. Never mind that my last name is Fraser, so “F” totally fits, but more than that it made me think of all these “F” words – no not that kind, although I do use that one pretty often 😉

Rather, these words kept swirling around in my mind:


And the more I thought about it, the more I realized these were all emotions that I had been feeling or thinking about. Funny how life always seems to get channeled into our art, whether we’re conscious of it or not.

Hand quilting progress shot of The "F" Quilt - an exploration of feelings through improv quilting | Shannon Fraser Designs

When it came time to quilting her up, I knew I wanted to focus on big stitch hand quilting with pearl cotton thread (see this post if you’re having a tough time finding some). Since my plan was to make this a wall hanging, I figured lots of texture was in order.

Once again, I decided to keep it all improv. I had no quilting plan, I just started stitching from the center out and let the flow of the stitches and my mood dictate where and what I stitched. I need to do that again, because it was SO fun! I wasn’t concerned about keeping it to a strict design, and it was beyond liberating. There’s something to be said for quilting without a game plan!

Moreover, I love where it ended up. It was fascinating to see the stitch work evolve and I even incorporated some curved stitching, which was unexpected but one of my favourite details.

Modern improv textile art | freedom to explore | The "F" Quilt by Shannon Fraser Designs

The "F" Quilt - an exploration of feelings through improv quilting | Shannon Fraser Designs


Here is a round-up of the materials I used in this project:

Cotton Supreme Solids in various shades of blue and green from RJR Fabrics 
These are my fave basting pins 
Kwik Klip (it really does help!) 
Hera marker (for plotting some stitching guidelines) 
Thimble (this is my all time fave) 

The "F" Quilt - an exploration of feelings through improv quilting | Shannon Fraser Designs

What I’m learning as I’m exploring my craft is that I adore being free to go with the flow and just explore. I’m always amazed at how much I love, not only the process, but the final design as well.

Those who have seen it in person (namely my family 😉), have all commented on the texture and how some of the stitches pop more based on the colour pairing of the fabric and thread. Which is a great reminder that those small details can make the biggest impact.

Big stitch hand quilting detail | The "F" Quilt - an exploration of feelings through improv quilting | Shannon Fraser Designs

I hope that you too will consider going free form and just following your design instincts and having fun with where ever the design takes you!

I’m super excited to be knocking this project off my FAL Q3 list and will be sharing it with Amy's Creative Side's annual Blogger's Quilt Festival hosted by Amy Ellis.

Happy quilting!



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Other posts you might like:

Reverberance Quilt Pattern | Modern Log Cabin | Shannon Fraser Designs

Tutorial: How to square up a Half Square Triangle quilt block | Shannon Fraser Designs


  1. I could see the "F" right away in the full shot. I think your hand quilting details add such a great touch to the finish. Do you have another long term WIP to work on now?

    1. Thank you so much, Yvonne! And I do. My Blue Dresden Plate quilt is my biggest and longest long term hand quilting project. It’s just shy of being King size and I’ve decided to hand quilt the entire thing! Since I have to pace my hand quilting, it will take me awhile longer to finish, but I know it will be well worth the effort and wait 😉

  2. Love the rich colors and the hand quilting is wonderful!

    1. Thank you so much, Audrey! Thrilled you like her!

  3. She is beautiful Shannon! The hand quilting you added really does add such beautiful texture to the quilt.

    1. Aw, Izzy, thank you for your kind words! I just wish I could hand quilt ALL my quilts – the process is just so enjoyable and the texture it adds is just so pretty!

  4. I love this quilt Shannon. My favorite colors.

    1. Aw, thank you so much, Jan! Thrilled you like where it ended up 😉

  5. I'm glad I read this post, although I have to admit the title of your quilt intrigued me, since I thought it was about the "F" word and another entry had already made a quilt with that word and I glad to see it was about the wonderful words beginning with the letter F. Your quilt is wonderfully glorious and what an inspiration your hand quilting is. Yes, you have inspired me to do some improv now.

    1. Yay! I love hearing that you’re inspired to try improv quilting! It really is such a fun process and I hope it brings you as much joy! I was concerned the “F” reference would put people off, but it was just so fitting. So, thank you for not being deterred 😉

  6. That is a lovely quilt, and I just love all the thoughts it provoked!

    1. Thank you so much, Pamela! Isn’t it amazing what thoughts come to mind as we work through the quilt journey!

  7. This is such a great quilt! I love the improv you did and really liked your story about the F words! Fantastic! Your quilting is the icing on the cake! So fun and it gives this quilt just the right texture!

    1. So thrilled you like the design, Cathy!! Hand quilting really does add the best kind of quilty texture 😊

  8. Another "F" word: Fantastic! I wanna play along.

    1. Yes! Fantastic is a great “F” word! And you should totally play along!! That would be fantastic 😉 Tag me and let me know what you create!!

  9. Absolutely gorgeous quilt - the colours, and especially the stitching. I'm partial to the letter F myself. :)

    1. Thank you so much, Felicity! Aren’t we lucky to have a creative outlet to just let loose and explore?! Happy quilting!