Sunday, May 9, 2010

How do you learn improv?

Ironic really since improvisation isn't really something you can learn. Without sounding cocky I think I can hold my own with most quilt patterns. There are somethings I am better at then others but when it comes to following a pattern I do pretty good. I've had a lot of practice so far this year trying new techniques and trying out different things through my virtual quilting bees. When I received my fabric and instructions for May in the Fussy Cut Bee immediately my hands began to sweat, my heart started to race, and all I could think was I can't do this. The instructions were simple, there really were no instructions. She simply asked for squares or rectangles in multiples of three. A 6 by 6 square, a 9 by 9 square, a 6 by 9 rectangle. These were the examples. We were to use the camper fabric as the Fussy Cut fabric but apart from that there were no instructions. The range of fabrics and sizes that were included were widely varied as well.

Here's what I learned. I'm not sure how to make a block without instructions. Shocking I know for someone who is suppose to be a modern quilter in an era where improv is all the rage. But I like clean lines and structure. So I kept it simple and created a 6 by 6 inch square and a 6 by 9 rectangle. I didn't do a lot of wonky stuff and my blocks might even be considered by some to be a bit of a bore. But well it made me realize maybe I need to learn how to do this improv stuff. Then I took a deep breath and thought, you know improv really isn't something you learn it's just something you either do or you don't. For now at least I'm okay with choosing not to practice improv. Besides really I have enough projects on my plate.


  1. These look great. I too have never tried improv and really wouldn't know how to start so I think you have done well. I think I like more structured patterns but I always like the ones that Elizabeth does over on Oh, Fransson!, she has probably got a tutorial if you have time to look.

  2. My blood pressure goes way up whenever I do something improv. I've got a gnome home to make for a bee and I keep procrastinating because I have no idea how to do it. I just finished al the blocks for a improv quilt and I hated it by the end. It's not for everybody! Modern means taking advantage of the whole range of techniques and doing what is right for you!


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