Now Touring: Improv Patchwork Dynamic Quilts Made With Line and Shape Maria Shell

teri • October 21, 2017 • 29 Comments

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.

Uptown Rail Fence by Maria Shell

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.

Do the Dot by Maria Shell

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.

Rattlesnake by Maria Shell

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.

Wild Bone by Maria Shell

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.

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  • knittingdancer • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #1

    A new Nissan Sentra because the one I am driving now is 23 years old.

  • Kathy E. • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #2

    I think it would be fun to drive a DeLorean. I love those funky car doors and knowing it was built the year we were married makes it even more special! It wouldn’t be an every day car, but still fun to drive! I love improv and would want to make those dots and plaid projects!

  • Beth Blankenship • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #3

    To enter for Improv Patchwork you want me to tell you my dream car? A Tesla. Improv Patchwork looks like an amazing book. The images are sharp, the colors inspiring, the writing cheery and concise. I’d love to win a copy.

  • mjkasz • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #4

    This is a great look at a new/old quilting idea. I see some of Gee’s Bend in these quilts.

  • Sue Laughton • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #5

    Sky’s the limit…I would have my 2006 Chevy HHR repainted & overhauled and keep driving him!

  • Beth T. • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #6

    A VW camper, the old times kind.

  • suzanne guthrie • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #7

    What car? one of the old “porthole” T-birds, in blue, always have liked these. If there is enough room in the trunk for my sewing stuff!

  • Laura • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #8

    Gee car questions are hard since I rarely think about them, however, a top of the line Prius would be nice. I think they even have heated seats.

  • Q&B • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #9

    I would try a pick-up truck! I need one to haul all my quilting stuff around!

  • Susan MacLeod • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #10

    a 4 door Jeep Wrangler with all the bells and whistles

  • Cheryl Clark • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #11

    I would drive a Ford Raptor truck!

  • patpease • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #12

    1951 MG

  • Julie Naatz • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #13

    Any new car will do.

  • Deborah Bright • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #14

    An early 60s Ford Mustang convertible red with white accents and a white top.

  • Jayne P • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #15

    I’d choose a Mini every time

  • Emma Kemmis • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #16

    I am not really a car girl so don’t have a dream car but am fascinated by the really old cars. Probably would love to drive one of the original ones that you had to wind to start. Ps would love the book!

  • quilterpt • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #17

    I would drive a Tesla! Good for the environment and good looking too. Thanks for sharing the great giveaway of Maria’s book. I liked the article that was recently in American Quilter too.

  • Sandra L Ellison • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #18

    I’d drive a Mini,

  • springleafstudios • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #19

    Improv isn’t my comfort zone but this book looks so good I’m excited to give it a try. As for the car question . . . my husband can tell you I hardly know one car from another, but if I had my choice it would be a metallic green sporty car of some type.

  • Chris • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #20

    I’m not that hard to please I would just like a bug again.

  • LaceFlower • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #21

    No being much of a car person, hmmm, an antique Bentley is my choice

  • Jean Condon • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #22

    Something classy with a chauffeur

  • Diane • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #23

    I don’t have any idea what kind of car I would want, but I know it would be colorful. I recently got a new car in ‘metallic mulberry’ wanting purple and it looks black! Quilters need color!

  • Jennifer • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #24

    My dream machine has always been and always will be a 1957 Chevy half ton which would be painted a beautiful rich cherry red and sport the shiniest chrome ever. I would be one happy driver sitting behind that wheel..

  • Stina • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #25

    Ha ha… I would drive a PINK car 😉 😉 😉

  • spierssusan • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #26

    Such a different & interesting book! My car purchase would definitely be a Mercedes! Thank you, Susan

  • Wendy T. • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #27

    I would drive a small antique sports car. That would be fun.

  • Leslie • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #28

    I would drive the newest all electric Tesla model.

  • Janet • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #29

    I’d like a Jag. That was my fave when I worked as a valet.

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