I’ve got a fun technique that I learned from quilting, but can easily be transfered to paper. It’s called improv quilting and this is my inspiration piece, created by Elizabeth Hartman and I found her through her Flickr. I saw this quilt and once I figured out how to duplicate it, I filed it away as a fun thing to try on a scrapbook page sometime.

I’d like to walk you through the steps of how to create this project, it looks very complex, but I promise, it’s EASY!

First, cut some strips of paper, making them uneven–skinnier at one end, fatter at the other. How many you cut is up to you, there really is no right way to complete this step.

I laid out the strips, arranging them until I had a pattern I liked, then I stitched them to a scrap piece of paper. Note that you don’t have to stitch on a machine, you can just as easily attach with adhesive to the scrap paper. I just like the way the pattern looks when it’s stitched. This is a great way to use up all sorts of scraps.

Next you’ll do the exact same thing as the first step, but cut across the strips that you’ve just stitched down. Once you’ve done this, you’ll have a number of strips that look like the one below. Make sure you make these uneven as well, it makes for a fun and funky look in the end.

From this point, you can do as I did and cut the strips in half (I didn’t measure, just eyeballed what half would be), or you can work with the full strip, it’s up to you, you’ll get different looks each way you do it.

Now comes the artsy part. Start arranging the strips to make a pattern that pleases you. I would stack a row three or four strips high, then add two or three columns next to that stack. I left a couple of the strips long and used those along the bottom and side. When they didn’t quite all fit together, I would tuck them under each other. There is no wrong way to do this step.

Once you have an arrangement you like, again attach them to another background piece of scrap paper, either with adhesive or by stitching. Trim the edges if needed to make a square or rectangle. I had to do this. 🙂

Here’s the part the I promised to show you another way to stitch on your projects. Once I had my block all stitched down, I figured out how I wanted to place it on my page. I then hand drew my title with a light pencil. You don’t have to use your handwriting, you could print a title in a very light grey ink if you wanted.

This next step is so important. I fought it for a long time, but it save SO much time. With a paper piercer (I have relegated a Maya Road leaf pin as my paper piercer), pierce holes about every half centimeter or so along the word(s) to be stitched. When you come to a curve, make those holes a little bit closer, but be very careful that you don’t make them too close. Paper is not as forgiving as fabric. Practice on a scrap if you feel like this step is daunting. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll be hand-stitching titles every other project!

After you have pierced all those holes, carefully erase your penciled in title. If you printed it, obviously that won’t be happening, which is why you’ll want to use a really light gray when printing. I split my floss in two, so instead of 6 strands, I only used 3. Again, this is preference, i wanted a finer look, but 6 strands would be fine as well. I wish i knew the name of the stitch I used, but it’s just an up and down, up and down until you’ve completely stitched out your title. I suggest using a darker floss, it just makes the title easier to see. My title took about an hour to hand-stitch, it’s definitely not a quick process, but it’s worth it to me.

And here is the final product. I was pleasantly surprised at how cool the quilted part looked. I think the quilting and the hand-stitching go really well together. I hope that this will inspire you to explore adding quilting techniques to your scrapbooking and cardmaking!

Article by: Emily Pitts