Improv Patchwork - Sunset Mini - Quilting Detail

Improv Patchwork Blog Hop

Blog Hop

Today, I am really excited to share about a new book by Maria Shell: Improv Patchwork. When getting to know more about Maria and her goals for writing Improv Patchwork, I was especially struck by her statement:

The techniques in this book are designed to empower you to stitch without knowing where it may lead.

The book itself is broken into chapters that introduce components that Maria refers to as “prints made from solid fabrics”. The chapters themselves can stand alone and be used to create quilts, or the components can be used together; the ideas certainly build as the book progresses.

You may have already guessed at one of the hooks for me: Maria’s use of solid fabrics to create prints. I really liked that perspective on improv piecing, and I really spent time reading and re-reading her introduction topics on color and color value (topics near and dear to me).

I wanted to dive in and explore Maria’s book by creating a quilt, so after reading her advice on cultivating a color palette, I went to my solids color bins and pulled out some pink and orange fabrics that reminded me of glorious desert sunsets. I photographed my selection and after evaluating the image in black and white, I decided to cull the grouping down to 5 pinks and 5 oranges.

Using Maria’s chapter on Mat-Made Strips and not using a ruler (!!), I started at the “bottom” of the quilt top in the oranges and worked my way up the quilt top. When I used all of the colors, I paused to evaluate the mini quilt top (image on left). The lightest pink in the upper right didn’t work with the overall feeling of the rest of the piece, so I cut off the top and changed it to the final version (image on the right).

Improv Patchwork - Sunset Mini - Quilting Thread Selection
Improv Patchwork – Sunset Mini – Quilting Thread Selection

I backed the quilt in solid Kona Pomegranate (the next to “darkest” pink in the quilt top), so I selected 50wt Aurifil 4020 (Fuchsia) to use in the bobbin. Note that it is extremely unusual for me to not match my top thread to the bobbin, but because this mini quilt top was only about 22-inches wide by 18-inches tall, I knew I would only need two bobbins at the most for the full quilt top… and I wanted to change my thread color on the top of the quilt a lot.

From the top of the quilt working down, I used 50wt Aurifil 2530 (Blossom Pink), 4020 (Fuchsia), 2535 (Magenta), 2420 (Blush), 2220 (Light Salmon), and 2250 (Red).

Improv Patchwork - Sunset Mini - Quilting Detail
Improv Patchwork – Sunset Mini – Quilting Detail

I was inspired by Maria’s quilting detail of many of her stripe quilts that used a different quilting motif in each stripe of color.

Improv Patchwork - Sunset Mini
Improv Patchwork – Sunset Mini

To complete the mini quilt, I used a Faced Binding. It was my first time using a faced binding, and I love how it works for the Sunset Mini quilt. (Tip: I used Elizabeth from OPQuilt’s Faced Binding Tutorial.)

Improv Patchwork - Sunset Mini
Improv Patchwork – Sunset Mini

My husband is a big fan of this mini quilt. In fact, he told me that his vision for making a quilt has always looked a lot like this mini quilt!

I hope you are inspired to give improv quilting a try, and I highly recommend Improv Patchwork to help guide you through the process. Improv patchwork is available now through C&T Publishing (affiliate link) and Amazon.

I am thrilled to be able to give away one copy of Improv Patchwork (hard copy for US winner, ebook for international winner). The giveaway is open through midnight Eastern on October 25th, and you can enter the giveaway using the Rafflecopter widget below (by entering the giveaway, you are acknowledging you are 18 years of age or older). A winner will be randomly selected and notified via email on October 26th; the winner will have 3 days to respond or a new winner will be randomly selected.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Improv Patchwork Blog Hop

To learn more about Improv Patchwork and for other opportunities to enter to win a copy of the book, you can follow along with the Improv Patchwork blog hop (full schedule below)!

October 16 – C&T Publishing
October 18 – Yvonne Fuchs at Quilting Jetgirl
October 19 – Amy Ellis at Amy’s Creative Side
October 20 – Deborah Boschert at Deborah’s Journal
October 21 – Kathy Doughty at Material Obsession
October 21 – Terri Lucas at Generation Q Magazine
October 22 – Wendy Hill at Wendy Hill’s Blog-Fun Quilts, Stuff & More
October 23 – Cindy Gisdela at Cindy Grisdela Art Quilts
October 24 – Heather Pregger at Heather Quilts
October 25 – Maria Shell at Tales of a Stitcher

Linking up with TGIFF and Finish It Friday.


I really appreciate the time and thought you take to comment, and I look forward to conversing with you. :)