Saturday, February 14, 2015

A moderately successful improv quilt

In January of last year, I was selected as one of a number of quilters to create test quilts for Sherri Lynn Wood's new book, Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters. I don't remember how I found about that she was looking for folks, but I was pleased to have been selected. (Some of you may have seen the post on Lisa's blog about her quilt for the project.  )

One of the rules for the quilt, was NO RULERS.  That was a challenge, but I eventually overcame the urge to reach for my ruler. Still, I learned that I just can't feel comfortable putting together two pieces with obviously wavy edges, so although I didn't use a ruler (except to square off the quilt for binding), I couldn't resist straightening blocks out by eye and freehand.

Because she didn't want to give away the secrets of her book, Sherri's provided rather vague descriptions and no pictures, so I felt a little at sea not knowing what the quilt was supposed to look like. She referred to the pattern as a "score," so I kind of envisioned a musical score and found my layout kind of taking the form of a score in my mind...kind of.

As for the outcome, at several points, I was convinced that it was a horrible piece that I would never like, but when I put it aside and came back to it, I found that it wasn't horrible. In the end, sometimes I like the finished piece, and sometimes I tolerate it.

Since my next improvisational quilt will likely not be made for possible inclusion in a book, I won't feel a need to meet a set of requirements. I know that Sherri wanted us to go with the flow and follow our inspiration, but in the back of my mind, there was always that knowledge that it needed to illustrate her pattern in order for it to fit her needs.

With 164 submissions, I wasn't surprised that my quilt wasn't selected, but it was a good learning experience and I enjoyed the process more than I expected to.


  1. I really love this Andrea... There's such depth and fabric choices really enhance it!

  2. Andrea, I think that both your quilt & Lisa's are exciting pieces!

  3. Andrea! Our two quilts to look similar, but not. Great job! i too will find more freedom in the next improv quilt without any rules at all!

  4. Your quilt is really beautiful and it illustrates the score wonderfully! There never was a right or wrong way to do it and the score was only a jumping off point to do exactly what you did. It never was meant to be a requirement but only a challenge to get your creative juices flowing and I can see by your outcome that it worked. Very rhythmic! Lovely! Thanks for the post. I'm glad you are warming up to it.


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