Improv Patchwork - Sunset Mini - Quilting Detail
2017 Finished Quilts, Blog Hop

Improv Patchwork 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.

140 thoughts on “Improv Patchwork Blog Hop

  1. Tina says:

    I have not done it on purpose! I have had a few mistakes which caused me to rethink some quilts, though. ha

  2. Gloria Cotten says:

    Looks like a good book to have on my shelf! Thanks!

  3. Julie says:

    Inspired to make a fall wall hanging with color and line. Can’t wait to see the book

  4. Mary O. says:

    I have not tried it yet but it looks like fun.

  5. a very interesting post!!!

  6. Kathy E. says:

    I have tried (and loved!) improv piecing and it’s my favorite technique! I know I’d love this book and making the projects. I am always inspired by new ideas!

  7. Kathie L says:

    I have done a bit and really liked the results.

  8. I have minimal experience with improv piecing/quilting. I love the quilting on your improv stripes. Did you quilt them with your Juki? Admiring your work as always, Mary.

  9. Joy says:

    I’ve never tried improv, love what I’ve seen others do, but never been brave enough to try it myself.

  10. ninmah says:

    Thank you for sharing your process, especially the changes you made along the way. It’s so helpful to see how it unfolded over time. The finished quilt is just lovely!

  11. ninmah says:

    PS I commented before I saw the raffle. I’ve never tried improv piecing, but I’m inspired by the quilt you created. I love the way it came out and plan to try improv myself now!

  12. Sandy May says:

    I am stunned by the range of colors you used in your mini quilt, and yet it works so well. I need to be more adventuresome I think. swalker287 (at) aol (dot) com

  13. Love the improv piecing, and absolutely adore the quilting!

  14. princess says:

    Thanks for sharing and creating your sunset quilt. Your blog makes this book sound very interesting. Although I have been quilting for over 20 yr. Modern quilting and using only solids as you do is fairly new to me. This book looks like it may be a good reference. Your quilting is spectacular.

  15. Kate says:

    Very pretty. I love the color progression and the quilting is gorgeous.

  16. la tulipe says:

    Improvisation is more and more fun for me 🙂

  17. Karen A says:

    I tried it a few years ago. Quite a change from my traditional roots, but it is fun.

  18. Gene Black says:

    I have tried and I love doing improv piecing. I would like to be better at it.

  19. Jeannie Rasmussen says:

    What an amazing little quilt! I am excited to give this method a try!

  20. Ellee says:

    While I’ve ended up with some improv piecing even though that wasn’t what it started out to be, I haven’t tried it on purpose yet.

  21. Dian says:

    I have never tried improv quilting but I do see that it has many of the design features that I appreciate.

  22. Carie says:

    There jut aren’t enough variations on the word wow so WOW!! That is a gorgeous mini, in the colours, the piecing and the quilting – time to add the book to my Christmas list!!

  23. Suzi in MI says:

    This looks like an amazing book!

  24. I have tried improv, but I’m a pattern girl all the way. Maybe this book will help me get past that.

  25. Karen Keeler says:

    Yes, I have tried improv piecing….Love the cleanliness if the projects

  26. I haven’t tried improve piecing. After seeing this book I’m ready to give it a go

  27. Love your quilt colours, and I also appreciate how it doesn’t look like a copy of Maria’s work. Being able to learn something then make it your own is key as an artist (in my opinion).

  28. Kaja says:

    I saw you were on this blog hop and have been looking forward to seeing what you did. I like your piece a lot, especially the way you have picked up on using a range of quilting motifs.

  29. Jayne P says:

    I have never tried this but think your project is beautiful

  30. daphnedawn says:

    I’m in agreement with your husband on this quilt! It is beautiful and love the quilting you’ve done.

  31. Your color palette is so deliciously vibrant! Sounds like a great book!

  32. springleafstudios says:

    I saw this on IG but didn’t realize the whole story behind it. Love the colors, the stitching and the faced edge is perfect.

  33. Cathy Calloway says:

    Love your mini! I have only tried a little improv piecing. Need to put my bits and pieces together into a finished piece!

  34. Michelle says:

    Love the quilting!!

  35. patty a says:

    I have been improv piecing for a number of years. It is always interesting how each person develops their own look.

  36. Stina says:

    Thanks for the lovely review…and your quilt is amazing…have the book on my wish List!

  37. LynneP says:

    I really like your mini quilt. How you evaluated it at the end and then made changes, helped make the quilt much better. Thanks for sharing your process!
    Looks like a wonderful book. Thanks for the chance to win!

  38. Janet Best says:

    I have done some improv piecing, and I have enjoyed it. I really like what you have made, too. Thanks for the giveaway!

  39. Improv makes me nervous, lol! Your sunset mini looks fantastic. Ilove the progression of colours and the quilting is just perfect.

  40. Sue Rostron says:

    This is so lovely.

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