Tag Archives: improv piecing


I've made progress on two projects in the last week. I've already shown you my Waterfall strip sets. And here's the progress on my Island Batik Improv Tumbler. The rows are all pieced. The theme of this challenge is Whimsical and Wonky and I've definitely got the wonky going. Part of the nature of the planned improv in this piece is that the rows kind of do what they want to do. I can see two or three adjustments I'll definitely be making. I'd like the top row to be a little more straight to minimize fabric loss when I trim the top edge. That blue and purple strip that's making a right turn definitely needs some help. And the two pieces in the middle that look like they are kissing might get adjusting as well. I also have my half tumbler scraps to add to the ends of each row.

Another thought: This will be so fun to teach! Who wants to learn how to make your own Improv Tumbler?

What's on your design wall this week? Use #designwallwednesday to share on Instagram.


Today is my stop on the Stash Statement Book Tour! I'm excited to be participating. I've long enjoyed Kelly's quilts on her blog and am thrilled to be helping to celebrate her first book! The book is filled with patterns to utilize your scraps with a little extra fabric. Kelly begins by walking you through her technique for creating a panel or chunk of fabric pieced from your scraps. From there, she has twelve patterns to utilize those panels.

I chose Beach Retreat, which you can find on page 26 of the book. The pattern is designed to use two colors of scraps.

If you've seen my work, you know I like bold, saturated color. I chose green first, but culled my green scrap pile to eliminate the limey yellow-greens. (I shared the beginnings of my green panels in a previous post.) Then I considered what to pair with green, and in a choice outside of the norm for me, I went with orange. I had some orange scraps (most notably from my Midnight Mystery quilt), but ended up gathering a few extras from my friend Mel. She brought me some great green scraps as well that made it into the project. Once my scrappy panels were done I chose the solid yellow and a black on white print.

I went with a simple large scale meander for the quilting. This motif allowed me to easily avoid the thick intersections of seams in some places. One of my favorite scraps in this project is the green mushroom print, leftover from pants I made for my son.

My binding is from my stash. I love stripes on a binding. This is the fourth green binding in a row that I've made. The first went onto Emerald Swallowtail which I finished last week and the other two are queued up for a charity quilt and for my Color Wash Mini quilt. I had nearly enough of this wild bicycle print for the quilt back. I added solid black to two sides of it.

I've gotten a bit lazy with quilt labels lately, but since I was making a quilt from Kelly's book, I thought it would be great to use her label technique, too! I found a scrap of my scrappy panel that had a solid section light enough to write on and trimmed it down to be my label. I had to write kind of small to squeeze it all in. Check out Kelly's quick and easy label technique on her blog!

My quilt, Citrus Beach Retreat, finishes at about 44" x 55". This is a smaller version than the 55" x 66" version in the book. Liz also made a Beach Retreat quilt for the blog hop, and Kelly is sharing a rainbow version. You can see the full lineup of the blog hop on my previous post.


Get yourself a copy! Stash Statement is available from the following:

I've linked up to Needle and Thread Thursday, TGIFF and Finish It Friday.

I've also linked up to 2018 Q2 Finish Along linkup. See my whole Q2 list.



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!