Secrets for improv quilting: start with a road map (video)

Quilt details from Becoming a Confident QuilterSew two pieces of fabric together and see where it leads you.

Think that defines improvisational quilting?

For some, that approach may feel like a safe place to start. But if you’re like many quilters, no matter how cool an improv quilt may look, the thought of rules-free quilting can seem overwhelming.

But what if you could learn more about improv quilting in baby steps—just a few exercises to warm up to common improvisational techniques?

Becoming a Confident QuilterFor author Elizabeth Dackson—a self-proclaimed Type-A personality—the key to making your first improvisational quilt is to start with a road map: a start-to-finish pattern (yes, a pattern with instructions and everything!) that lets you try wonky quilt blocks with angled seams and shows you how to twist and turn blocks to get that carefree, improv look.

When we met up with Elizabeth at Quilt Market, she told us about one special project in her book, Becoming a Confident Quilter, that lets quilters try their hand at what seems like a spontaneous, unplanned kind of design. Her secret: it doesn’t have to be! See what she says about her quilt “Wonky Fences” in the video below.

Reading this in email? See the “Improv Quilting: with a Roadmap!” video at the Stitch This! blog or watch it on YouTube.

Cutting charts and placement guides are all provided—you get the look of spontaneity and the comfort of a predetermined plan.

Wonky Fences quilt
Try improv piecing in “Wonky Fences” (make the full-size quilt or the smaller version)

Improv quilting is just one of the techniques to try in Becoming a Confident Quilter. Check out more techniques that Elizabeth covers in her book:

Lattice of Stars quilt
Sew half-square triangles and Flying Geese units in “Lattice of Stars” (try the full-size or smaller version)

Deconstructed Beads quilt
LEARN IT! Embrace negative space in “Deconstructed Beads”

Wham! quilt
LEARN IT! Try paper piecing in “Wham!”

Find 14 skill-building quilt patterns in Becoming a Confident Quilter 

Stock up your quilting tool belt and see where it leads you!

Improv quilting: dive in, dip a toe, or stay ashore? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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