Improv Patchwork: Dynamic Quilts Made With Line & Shape
By Maria Shell
Stash Books/C & T Publishing, 2017, 96 pages
$22.95/print version; $19.95/e-book
Hey, Q-bies! Have we got a book for you! And it’s like an Rx for your heart and soul.
On page 6 in big, bold letters, author Maria Shell declares, “Creativity is Good for You!” Ain’t that the truth. Creativity is good for you. Creativity literally feeds our souls. It’s probably one of the reasons that we took up quilting, no matter what style of quilting we embrace. And it is from this happy point that Maria shares the beginnings of her quilting path. Kudos to a shop owner named Trudy, who taught Maria how to quilt, and embrace the “make-do” part of our quilting history.
Maria also had the opportunity to learn from heavy-hitters Nancy Crow and Lisa Call. Nancy, in particular, is one of our quilting mothers. She’s influenced generations of quilters, including those who love the modernistic flavor. And she’s sharing those lessons in Improv Patchwork. (Lucky us!) She breaks piecework down into lines and shapes that can be manipulated into a variety of shapes and patterns.
In chatting us up about color, Maria asks us to start working with the colors we love. Doing this allows us to become confident in them. For example, Maria recalls there was that one brown she had an aversion to, and didn’t use for a long time. When she added that brown to her quilts, though, something changed. There was a blossoming, as if she and the color finally understood each other. By working with our non-faves, we can have this design epiphany, too.
Her cutting techniques are also very cool. Maria uses a rotary cutter (60 mm!) and rulers, and she uses the rotary cutter and mat creating free-flowing and organic lines, adding interest to the overall look of the stripes, plaids, and dots. These two techniques add a dynamic look and shape to the quilts.
Improv Patchwork also has great tips for piecing triangles. My fave happens to be pin placement for half square right triangle. She places a pin on the diagonal, in the upper right hand corner (see photo below). This makes sure that unit is going in the desired direction when she brings the pieces to the machine to stitch.
Zigzags, chevrons, and herringbone shapes all make an appearance in Maria’s how-to’s, with diagrams and tips for designing and stitching each one. And don’t get me started on how amazing the checks and plaids are!
Of course there’s an opportunity to win a copy of the book (paperback for U.S. readers; e-book for the international set). Comment by October 26 and tell us: If the sky was the limit, and you could drive any car you want, what would it be? We’ll draw a name on Oct. 27.
Oh! there are a few more bloggers lined up to share their thoughts about Maria’s new release, and opportunities to win a copy of the book, natch.
October 16—C&T Publishing
October 18—Yvonne Fuchs – Quilting JetGirl
October 19—Amy Ellis – Amy’s Creative Side
October 20—Deborah Boschert – Deborah’s Journal
October 21—Kathy Doughty – Material Obsession
October 22— Wendy Hill – Wendy Hill’s Blog—Fun Quilts Stuff & More
October 23—Cindy Grisdela – Cindy Grisdela Art Quilts
October 24—Heather Pregger – Heather’s Blog
October 25—Maria Shell – Tales of a Stitcher
Quilt. Sew. Live. Breathe.