Tag Archives: improv piecing


I can't remember the last time I sewed at home. It's probably been nearly two weeks. (Eek!) Thankfully, I did get some quality time with my sewing machine at a workshop last weekend. Bay Area Modern hosted Karen Foster (@capitolaquilter on IG) to share her Improv Abstraction technique featuring curved piecing. I've played with gentle curves previously in my Finding Dory mug rug and Improv Tumbler mini. Karen's technique involved creating parts and using them to play with the composition of the piece.

four small quilts featuring Karen's Improv Abstraction design technique: blues, magenta and chartreuse, purples, and multicolor

We spent the morning piecing the gentle curved unit and putting them together into larger parts. I made 12 units featuring the same gentle curve and pieced together two larger chunks. The first used three of my units, and the second connected two units vertically. I "fussy pieced" (is that a thing?) the seams for the curve to be continuous.

twelve navy and grey gentle improv curve units on design wall

seven navy and grey gentle improv curve units and two larger chunks on design wall

In the afternoon Karen introduced her technique for more extreme curves. You can see the example on the right in the photo of Karen's work below. Unfortunately, I had to leave early, but Karen showed me her technique before I left. I haven't had a chance to try it out yet, but it blew my mind. I'm looking forward to adding a new skill to my repertoire. The examples below include a "what not to do" in the upper left, and the lower left shows different options for pressing seams. While I generally press seams open, I think freeform improv piecing is a great time to play with how you press seams to see what works best for the piece. (Tip: Consider shortening your stitch length if you are going to press seams open.)

teal and mint pieced gentle improv curves

This was a great class to build skills with curved piecing and to just play with the design elements of the overall piece. I intend to keep my quilt small. I have a bit more of the navy (Kona Nautical) and a bunch of the grey (Kona Pewter). I'll definitely play with the extreme curves and I may include some strips and squares like Karen used in her multicolor quilt.

Karen Foster and Sarah Goer standing in front of Sarah's work

Thanks for a great class, Karen!





This week's final Project QUILTING challenge of the season was "Time Is Up." My initial thought was that I wanted to make a sundial quilt. I opted for a minimalist representation and started with a couple improv pieced curves before adding the triangular "dial" by machine appliqué. I used my free-motion quilting to embellish the design with the clock tick marks and the shadow. My mini quilt finished at 9" x 9".

A great big thank you to Kim (Host) and Trish (Challenge Designer) for a fun season of challenges. It was my first time participating, and I'm wiped out, but I'm really glad that I set aside the time and made it a priority to participate in all six weeks. My two favorite quilts that I made for this season's challenges were for the Tuned Into Texture and Brighter the Better challenges.

I'm linking up to Project Quilting Challenge 6. Voting starts at noon Central time on Sunday. You can check out all the entries and vote on your favorites. (Mine is #82.)


At last year's QuiltCon I took an awesome Intermediate Improv class with Rossie Hutchinson. One of my projects that resulted from that class is this Wonky Cross quilt. It was chosen this month (#12) for the APQ UFO Challenge.

The blocks are created in pairs. I completed eight blocks in class. At some point I added a second fabric pull to the project that I thought coordinated well. Now I'm up to 34 blocks. I have no specific plans on number of blocks/rows or overall finished size. We'll see where this takes me this month.

January and February both resulted in finished quilt tops for the OMG UFO challenge projects. I'm hoping I'll get through the quilting step as well on this one this month!

I'm linking up to the OMG February Goal Setting Link Up.