Where to begin on the journey that is improv?  It can be improvisational piecing which has myriad forms or improvisational quilting which is another topic all together!

Improvise is defined as:

to create spontaneously or without preparation

Now we all know that there is always preparation involved in any form of patchwork and quilting but this technique certainly can be spontaneous and very liberating.  You can ditch the ruler or ditch rotary cutting all together to get more organic lines with your scissors; you can piece and cut, piece and cut until it feels right, you can construct blocks along more traditional lines but not have an end point in mind – let’s see where it take us.  Does that sound scary?  It can be, but it is so worth overcoming your fear and giving it a go.  What have you got to lose?  Not much because you can always re-use your fabric and if it’s not for you then that’s fine but if it is ….. my that’s where your new adventure begins!

The topic is toooo big for one post but I wanted to give you a flavour of improv when it relates to quilts and quilting ……. any excuse for a lot of eye candy!

Improv can be maximalist, as seen in Smile by Leanne Chaley’s and Bee Sewcial ….

or it can be minimalist, as seen in Yay or Nay by Debbie Jeske ….

Improv can be colourful, as seen in Nick Ball’s improv piecing with triangles ….

or it can be monochrome, as seen in F*ck The Quilt Police by Nancy Purvis ….

Improv can be all about the lines, as seen in Amy Ellis’ Experimentation Quilt ….

or it can be all about the curves, as seen in this quilt by Sherri Lynn Wood ….


Do you get the picture?  It can really be whatever you want it to be and the best thing of all is that there are no mistakes!!  I challenge you to search improv quilts or improv quilting and you may just find yourself entering your own personal rabbit hole!

I am new to this journey of improv but have so far really enjoyed the freedom it has bought.  I have never been a planner of quilts or a cut-everything-out-before-I-sew kind of girl so I guess this is a natural progression for me.

A fellow blogger, Helen Howes, has done a wonderful series on improv piecing which you may just want to take a look at!  Head over here for all her posts ….


And to my project ….

I have them pieced at long last!  You wouldn’t think they would have taken that long – only a few seams and all that.  However, something happened to me this last couple of weeks that has never happened before and I hope doesn’t come again for a long time – I couldn’t sew!  And I really mean I couldn’t sew.  Every time I sat down to sew I was unpicking more seams than I was sewing ….. so rather than get frustrated, and probably end up breaking my machine, I walked away.  Not always the easiest option when you have a lot of sewing to do but when I went back to it yesterday I could sew again – thank goodness!So from left to right we have Makower Linea, Spectrum and Linea Texture.  What do you think?  I have surprised myself with this exercise because I prefer a print to the solid – albeit a print that reads as solid but my preference is the Linea.


As for the backs …..

As it was an exercise in improvisational piecing I did not know what blocks were going to join to others and so had no reference for my pressing of seams.  I thought it would be good to show the backs so that you can see there are always different ways of pressing and whilst it is preferable to press to the dark side, especially if you are using a light solid aswell, it’s not always the best option.  I do find I get better matching points if I can nest seams but they are achievable with open seams too, with the added benefit that you can see exactly where the point is when sewing the seam.

As I mentioned before there is nowhere to hide when it come to working with solids and so “points or not points” is all down to personal choice.  I like points and I like them to be matching but there is a limit.  When I made my Solid Sampler for the Sewcial Bee Sampler SAL a couple of years ago I could have driven myself crazy.  I gave myself a rule – I could unpick twice if the seams weren’t matching to my satisfaction but the third time they stayed – however they turned out!