How to Get Started with Improvisational Quilting

Curious but intimidated by the idea of improvisational quilting? We’ve got your back! Let’s demystify the art of improv by breaking it down into relatable steps!

What’s Improvisational Quilting?

Improv quilting is a style of quilting that emphasizes creativity, spontaneity, and individual expression. Unlike traditional quilting, which often follows a set pattern, improvisational quilting allows quilters to create unique and one-of-a-kind designs using a variety of fabrics, colors, and techniques.

How to Get Started

Here’s how to get started with improv quilting, with reference to the work of Sherri Lynn Wood, the quilters of Gee’s Bend, and the modern quilting movement.

Start with a concept or idea:

One of the key principles of improv is to start with a general concept or idea, rather than a specific pattern or design. This could be a color scheme, a theme, a shape, or even just a feeling or emotion you want to convey through your quilt.

Gather your materials:

Improvisational quilting is all about using a variety of fabrics, textures, and colors to create unique designs. Look for fabrics in your stash or at a thrift store or FeelGood Fibers. Remember that using secondhand fabrics is an eco-friendly and budget-friendly option.

Experiment with different techniques:

Improv is all about experimentation and exploration. Try different techniques such as free-form cutting, piecing, and applique to create unique shapes and designs. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes – improvisational quilting is all about embracing imperfections.

Consider the principles of design:

While improvisational quilting is all about creative expression, it’s important to also consider the principles of design. This includes things like balance, proportion, and color harmony. Look to the work of quilters like Sherri Lynn Wood and the quilters of Gee’s Bend for inspiration.

Embrace the modern quilting movement:

Improvisational quilting is part of the larger modern quilting movement, which emphasizes a fresh and contemporary approach to quilting. Look for modern quilting resources, such as books, blogs, and online communities, to connect with other quilters and explore new techniques and designs.

Enjoy the process

Improvisational quilting is a journey, not a destination. Embrace the process of experimentation and exploration, and enjoy the creative expression that comes with making a quilt that is truly your own.

Improv is a lot of fun. It allows you to play and have fun with fabric, without worrying about following the rules. For more improv inspiration, check out the #30daysofimprovqal!