Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Improv Quilt Top

I'm delighted to share my completed improv quilt top!

Alternate Route measures 59" X 68½. It's so-name because of emerging patterns - roads, highways, dead ends, construction zones, and detours. 

If it's okay to say so, I love it! And apparently hubs does too. He rarely comments on anything that's on my design wall, but this one garnered several unsolicited comments: "I like it." "It's my favorite that you've ever made." "Where can we hang it?'

Wow! 😁

This workshop with Irene Roderick @hixonir went a long way towards developing my improv-creating self-confidence. I'm unable to pinpoint what it was about her workshop (taken virtually on April 18 and 19) that resonated with me - maybe it was her laid-back "anything goes" attitude; or her gentle way of affirming what she saw - interactions among components; or, maybe it was just listening to her two parakeets tweeting in the background during six hours of workshop time. It synergized for me.

Piece a backing, I used-up nearly every little bit of leftover Painter's Palette Sachet and Patriot solids, including two yards of the "wrong dye lot" Sachet that came in a fabric reorder. This is a backing close-up. I can't show you it in its entirety until June 21 because I used a backing design from a new book - Perfectly Pieced Quilt Backs by Kelly Young. On June 21, the book release day, a whole bunch of us will be sharing pictures of backings we've made using Kelly's great ideas.

I've been so excited about how Alternate Route turned out that I had to start quilting it right away! It's been months since I've quilted anything and it's a good change of pace. I'm starting with walking foot quilting, stabilizing and filling in a little in the Sachet color areas. Thread is Auriful #50, color 2510.

Since the workshop, I bought and received Irene's book Improv Quilting: Dancing With the Wall. It's excellent! It will definitely be a great resource to guide future improv quiltmaking. 

As if I don't have enough projects in the works, when a friend said she was joining Weeks Ringle and Bill Kerr's ModernQuiltStudio "Modern Mystery Quiltalong," I gave it consideration.


Of course, I have the Harvest Moon scrap quilt waiting to be quilted; and 332 Unallocated blocks ready to be arranged on the design wall, and joined... but heck, "Why not?" 

"Squirrel!" (Quote is from the movie Up. In case you're not familiar with it, here's the link to the 20-second movie clip.)

Anyway, before I knew it I'd plunked down my $25 and said, "I'm in!" Weeks and Bill are calling their mystery quilt along "summer camp" - a fun concept.

Several friends will be at camp with me: Rosemary V, Betty S, Karen F, and Elizabeth E, that I know of. You too?

Here's the color palette I'll be working with. In the middle is the darkest value background fabric, Painter's Palette Poseidon.

Now it seems I have too many projects I really want to work on! Knowing me, there will be lots of project-hopping in the days ahead. I'm setting up TWO sewing machines!  

Book Recommendation
The Only Survivors 
by Megan Miranda follows Cassidy who decides, reluctantly, to drive to the Outer Banks to meet-up with high school classmates who get together every May. (The beach house is on the cover of the book.)

They aren't all friends. They meet to remember - but not talk about - a life-changing high school experience they shared - two vans traveling through the Tennessee mountains that plunge into a ravine; a ferocious storm begins; and rushing waters begin to rise. Lives are lost. A decade later, those still living are dwindling in number. Several of them wonder, "Will I be next?"

The author uses a slightly different approach to the story, first revisiting the past event seven hours after it happened. Later, six hours after it happened. Then five. It takes until the conclusion of the book to arrive at hour one, and learn the full truth. I was fully absorbed the entire time. 

Linda's score: 4.2/5.0



  1. Your improv quilt came out wonderful. There is a lot of movement. my favorite bit is the 'dashed' curved-line on the bottom right.

  2. Loving your improv quilt! My favorite parts are the tiny dashes and a square on the left that had a shadow to the left. Your eye really moves around on this 😻

    1. Thank you very much! I like the tiny dashes too. And I know exactly which shadowed square you're referencing! Irene also commented on that particular component - that she liked it too. Agree that viewers seems to be noticing the movement, and I hope that's a good thing!

  3. Oh how I look forward to your posts all the way in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. I'm feeling very inspired and have TWO new books to put on my GoodReads list now. Thanks so much

  4. Oh my- it's done... and done beautifully! Nice work. I can see why you are anxious to get it quilted. It will be a stunning one to hang and enjoy. And your husband's response is priceless. Oh boy- summer camp and an abundance of projects to work on over the summer. The pieced backing book will be a fun one and so will the blog hop.

  5. LOVE your improv quilt! So please you enjoyed Irene's class so much! Looking forward to seeing more as you progress on quilting and are able to share the quilt back. Have fun at Summer Camp! I joined but still debating if I'll join in. We'll see!

  6. I like it, too! I have yet to start on Irene's book, but I'm looking forward to it.

  7. It is a WONDERFUL quilt Linda! I can see this one winning awards.....! So Summer Camp? This is an in-home project I suspect. I had noted that Elizabeth E had joined but that's all I really know. I am going to be away during July so it's a 'no' from me. I look forward to seeing what you produce.

  8. This is your best improv ever! I love the playful curves, the change in scale of elements, your use of repetition and line to direct the eye around the space. Well done and a perfect name too. I bet you'll have a blast machine quilting this one. So many opportunities to play. Have fun with all your other projects too.

  9. Ohhh, the quilting is making it look even more amazing, Linda!

  10. Wow, I totally agree with your husband, it's a gorgeous quilt! I stayed staring at it, leaving my eyes traveling along the lines, I can see a lot of things inside! Have fun quilting it, and with your new project too;)

  11. Your improv quilt is really stunning! And I know your quilting will put it over the top.


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