Jingle Jangle cover

A Foray into Improv Piecing

I wanted to learn something new.

I chose to learn about improv piecing and took a class from Maria Shell. She was a student of Nancy Crow’s who has taken off in her own direction, and has many students and followers. The idea is to build pieced units and follow your visual instincts in constructing your final composition.

I have done some piecing work in the past — to whit a bed spread or two.

And one of my recent quilts did combine some piecing.

But I mostly use raw edge applique.

Anyway I was up for learning something new.

Maria is definitely the person to go to.  She is very knowledgeable and patient.  And  really knows her subject.  There were a lot of people in the Zoom class, but anyone who wanted attention, got it.  And she set up a closed Facebook page for us to share thoughts and questions as well.

I bought her book, Improv Patchwork — Dynamic Quilts Made with Line and Shape, listened to her lectures, and went to work.

First I had to chose a palette.  Her class instructions were to choose 7 colors of the rainbow, plus 4 neutrals (Black, White, Gray and brown).

Then I started making units.  Here is a mirrored stripe and short rows.

Then I added more units, following her careful directions. A Pinwheel, Beads on a string, checkerboards, polka dots, shark’s teeth, and

And more units!

Notice I cut into that Mirrored stripe which had been too visually dominant, and put the “beads on a string” into the middle.  Better! I took out that blue and orange shark’s tooth one. And added some yellow and black lattice pieces.

Here is the final piece, Jingle Jangle.

I don’t plan to change my basic method of using raw edge applique, but I’ve come away with a new understanding of this type of construction.  I had fun — and yes, I’ll figure out ways to use this going forward.  Stay tuned!