I have been seeing some very cool improv quilts lately on Instagram, and decided to venture into improv curves. I found a YouTube video by Leslie Tucker Jenison that was really helpful. https://youtu.be/4vT08esPfzwI am sure there are tons out there – I found at least four others, however, I thought Leslie‘s was the most helpful for me.
This is my process, and if you watch Leslie’s video and see my process you will see that not much is different other than maybe one small step. And it’s possible a Leslie does this, too, and I missed it while watching her video.
I hope this helped you make your own improv curved quilts. If you have any questions, just let me know. I’ll be happy to try to help you.
I just took these two quilts off the frame. Both customers asked for pantos, and I think they finished beautifully. They’re both king sized, 110×110.
I am new to this type of quilting. I fought it for years. I thought it was hideously ugly just a few years ago. After months of intense machine quilting and piecing (think rulers, markers, paper, software, protractors, rulers, quilt blocking, laser precision squaring up, okay I’m sure you’ve got it by now) I can’t tell you how much FUN improv piecing is!!
I didn’t use anything but a rotary cutter mat, and my sewing machine. Oh, and Maria Shell’s book, Improv Patchwork.
I have come up with a simple plan to create the above (cute) blocks. start with a stack of square fabric pieces:
Shuffle a few of the pieces around
And then sew them together. Here are a few on the design wall not yet sewn.
You could use a foundation so it’s a string block, but you don’t have to with improv.
I also made this fun block which is 100% learned from Maria’s book.
Fun and liberating!
I can’t tell you how many people say they ‘can’t do paper piecing,’ or ‘that’s one thing I don’t do.’ I remember thinking I would never be ‘good enough’ for paper piecing. Ha! It’s crazy, but paper piecing is actually easier than regular piecing, because you don’t have to worry about a quarter inch seam line, and there’s plenty of room for error. All of the guesswork is taken away if you just stitch on the marked up lines!
Here are a few of my favorite tips for easy paper piecing.
1) Start small. Try one small block first.
2) Determine the size you’ll need and strip piece it, like Peggy Martin teaches in her ‘Quick Strip Paper Piecing’ book.
3) Use an Add a Seam ruler. It saves you so many steps.
4) Fold on the marked lines and trim after each time you sew.
I hope these tips will help you. Please email or comment if you have any questions.
I’m finally able to share this quilt. My daughter challenged me to design a quilt that resembled a heart beat, and I took her up on her challenge! I wanted it to represent life’s ups and downs, with both the colors, the design and the quilting. Someone made a comment on my Facebook page that said exactly what I felt. They commented that my quilting went from chaotic to calm. That is exactly what I wanted my quilting to represent; complicated, stressful, smooth, easy, rough, simple, etc.
I finished this quilt the night before I had to ship it, so I don’t have good daylight pictures yet. I’m looking forward to getting some better shots of the entire quilt in the daylight.
I began the process a year ago, drafting it on graph paper. I tried several software programs, but ended up doing it the old fashioned way. I spent a considerable amount of time trying to determine how to piece it. After I asked some of my quilty friends for advice, it was recommended that I paper piece it. Brilliant! Why didn’t I think of that?
After it was 80% pieced, life happened, and we moved houses, and did a lot of renovating and traveling. In January I loaded the quilt onto my Innova longarm, and spent countless hours on the quilting design and implementation. I used several methods of design. I used my iPad and some apps for drawing, I printed a picture of the quilt and used tracing paper to audition designs, and I used dry erase markers on plexiglass. Finally I put needle to fabric and just started.
While I didn’t receive an award from judges at MQX, I did receive a faculty award from Karlee Porter, author, teacher, and designer. I felt like I had won the most prestigious award ever! I was so thrilled!!
Thanks for stopping by.
The last couple years my quilting style has been all over the map. I made (or started) a traditional quilt, a collage quilt, a whole cloth, (and have drawn up two more), a couple modern quilts, quilted a vintage quilt, started some English Paper Piecing, started two Needle turn appliqués, and made a couple modern art quilts. I’m wondering if it’s too varied for my brain. I’m a self-doubter ever since I can remember, so this is nothing new. I keep getting the reminder that maybe I need to stick to one genre, but then I see something new I want to try!
Speaking of crazy, I’ve been working on one quilt for over a month. Not the Piecing, just the quilting. The first couple weeks I drew my designs on tracing paper over a printed copy of the quilt, I drew on a photo of the quilt on my iPad, and I drew designs with chalk right on the quilt itself. Everyday I tell myself to just quilt it as I want, to do what I love, but self doubt creeps in and I question my decisions, every one of them.
This picture shows some diy templates I made from foam board. I use these for marking, they’re not thick enough for Longarm rulers.
Many of the sew-lebrities stick to one genre, and really master it. Is that the answer? I don’t feel like I’ve mastered any one type yet. I haven’t gotten bored yet either. What do you think? Do you stay with one type of quilt for an extended period of time, or are you a wanderer like me? What is best if you want to truly master quilting?
I don’t have many quilting pictures to show since I’m keeping my current project under wraps for awhile. The weather here in Montana has been perfect for lots of time spent indoors in my studio. I try to walk every day, even if it’s 15 degrees. I’ve got warm boots, and a super warm down coat.
We’ve had record-breaking snow levels this February, and the deer have been struggling, especially the youngest.
a view of the Yellowstone River from one of our walks.
Thanks for stopping by my blog, and I’d love to hear from you. Do you think it’s best to vary your styles, or master one at a time? And what do you actually do?
It was truly humbling seeing my quilt right next to the winner in my category, but amazed to see people take pictures of my quilt.
For the third year, I had the pleasure of volunteering to hang quilts. I met some lovely women. We felt like movie stars hanging Claudia Pfeil’s Best of Show! It is the most incredible quilt!
I took a fantastic class with Sue Heinz. This was the second class I have had with her, and learned so much. She is a great teacher and I highly recommend any of her classes.
I really enjoyed touring the quilts at Preview Night with Donna James, quilter extraordinaire. I was able to meet up with my Tehachapi quilting buddies Sherrie, Cathy, Theresa, Donna, Vickie and Robyn, too. Wish I could take you all back to Montana with me. (I’d share those pictures, too, but I really really do not like seeing pictures of myself!)
When I get time I will post pictures of many of the quilts from the show! Stay tuned.