Improvisational Quilting and More

From my No Sneaky-Peeky class
I partnered with Windham Fabrics a few years ago to "pattern" 8 of the Gee's Bend quilts (with permission, OF COURSE, from the original quiltmakers). From that I created a class called - are you ready? - No Sneaky Peeky. Each student got a brown lunch bag, stapled shut, filled with strips, strings and various pieces of these Gee's Bend hand dyed batiks. From there we had to put our hands in, pull out a few strips and ONLY sew with what we got without peeking. Crazy, huh? But a lot of fun and everyone's quilt was so different.

(You can see several of my Gee's Bend quilts on my Craftsy pattern site; look on right  sidebar >>>>)

Fractured Jewels - on my way to a second class
Then I was asked by the Sewing Expo (for whom I teach in 16 cities a year) to create another improvisational class, which I called - are you ready? - Improvisational Adventure. My first attempt was making the Fractured Jewels pattern you see above. But the Education Director wanted something even more creative. But this Fractured Jewels quilt went on to inspire the Marketing Director for Windham to use it as the basis for one of their patterns called - are you ready? - Fractured Jewels. (Look - if I sweat bullets naming my 3 daughters, how in the world can I name quilts?)
Yes, you can have the free pattern. Go here: Fractured Jewels
I created a class whereby the students got 12 fat eighths (9" x 22") of different Gee's Bend solids. I walked them through making simple log cabin blocks, variations of log cabins by cutting them up or adding extra strips and we got my Improvisational Adventure Quilt (appearing in the Winter 2014 issue of Modern Patchwork) . . .

Improv Adventure Quilt - my son in law Dani's FAVORITE quilt, hanging in his foyer
Now, you are probably trying to figure out where one block ends and another one begins. Allow me to show you:
9 Blocks in the Improv Adventure Quilt
I disguised the blocks with sashing and strips, etc. Fun!

Allow me to show you another quilt from a third class which I called Modern Quilt Blocks. I used solid reading fabrics with a khaki/gray background. Strip piecing, slicing and trading units with classmates and we got this:

Modern Quilt Blocks #1
And this . . .
A single block using the same pattern as above
What would they look like with a dark navy background with different piecing?

Navy background. Not crazy about it, but I have to audition fabrics before I know what's going to work.
I have more quilts to share at another time. Meanwhile, I hope you enjoyed seeing some of my quilts from past classes.


  1. such an interesting blog lots of ideas here love the variations on log cabin

  2. Thank you. I love to try modern thinking making quilts. It was so inspiring to read about your ideas and classes concerning modern quilt thinking. We have not reached there in Sweden, but we are trying to spread the word.

  3. thanks for sharing, theae are so very cool. Your classes sound like a lot of fun

  4. Thank you for sharing. I truly loved reading and learning from your blog.


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