10 Ways to Love Improvisational Quilting


10 Ways to Love Improvisational Quilting


Lesson Info

Building a Square with the Rotary Cutter

Let's start cutting some strips and then we'll talk about how you so these these uh together okay all right I'm gonna cut some strips to, um I'm going to need toe iron a fair number of these cases as well. Do you have any questions so that's six strips out of each of the different colors yes six cool color how redefined that in six warm color yeah yeah correct me if I'm wrong but the beauty of what you're doing is here there's really no way to get it wrong and now which for somebody who can't so like myself would actually be really encouraging is a great way to start with guilty o j k with that not that you can't so what haven't started? Well no actually I did make a pair of jeans when I was at school I went to a very progressive school where the boys had to cook and do sewing in the girls have to do with work and shop oh, but sowing selling pants that yeah difficult that makes it all so I could never actually wear them that they were actually really, really good but I have never pursu...

ed sewing since even though my mother is an avid so no yeah done all her life well, I liked it when people ask me you know where I got my interest I'd like to say that you know some my mom also owned a sewing machine which he bought with green stamps which you know yes exactly the same thing you can buy a sewing machine with green stamps but she she liked the idea of selling but not so much the actual activity eso is the source of much frustration for um but then when I was in college I wanted to so some clothes for myself and um I bought a sewing machine just kind of taught myself from there um well it's actually a singer that I bought um so yeah I mean we all kind of come to it from different things and you know you actually although you say you're new to courting you actually quite a prodigious so yourself is something you'd be passion for all of your life. So what kind of things have you made from a baby's dressed waiting go oh you mean in your wedding gown? I mean hopefully did amazing whenever my friend how many gallons of how many husbands way now holly we know europe europe prodigious cruelty you were with us for an earlier of course and you actually brought in some really beautiful things that you've done but the improvisational idea is that completely new to you I really like this idea because I might my selling skills are like my recipe skills like kind of mix and match different things so this is right up my alley so like okay, so we're looking for to sing on your work now are those just joining us in sweden which I think this may may be a first I'm not sure we've had a swedish student with us before but you're joining us from stockholm so welcome to you you're saying oh you're really just looking for the fun of quilting is such about what? What is your sewing experience? Ah well I worked in in costume I weave ah cro schaefer quick quilting is ah you know I love patterns and colors and so this is this's just you know yeah it's fun very welcome our students busy cutting away welcome to us or you haven't been with us before. What was your name? My name's. Alison all nice to welcome you well into creative life you on what's yours what's your goal from this court I love mark his work so I just want to observe and see how she plays the fabric. Oh, that's sweet. Well, thank you. I'm glad you're here. Thank you. Well, glad all of you here. Welcome. Please. We'd love to hear all your quilting and selling stories as we go through the course of the next couple of days I'm gonna tell you when someone mentioned to me sarah, that you're from sweden the first thing I said was because I'm a huge steven larson fan yes for you just seeing the movies I've seen are reading the books I've read the books you know the movies and swedish with with subtitles and then I saw them in english I've listened to them his books on tape so um we probably need to talk about that so ok, so I'm I'm pretty much got my at least in terms of rotary cutter I've got my six trips so I want to talk to you about how you know you got all these strips and they're all different sizes how do you put them together? Well, with a little sample blocks and we're not going to do this right yet because we haven't really learned about triangles and we're not going to worry about triangles quite yet if I was going to start a little block like this, I'd pick either a warm or cool color doesn't really matter which one to start is my centerpiece and I take it out of my strip and I'd cut a little square and that's not even a great square I think this is more square like ok? And um then I know that I'm going to go around two sides are going to be cool two sides, they're going to be warm and I can start it doesn't again it doesn't matter whether I start with the cool or the warm I like to actually kind of design these to some degree as I'm before I do the sewing so, you know, I will cut a a cool color and then another one, and then I'll cut some warm colors and the scientific decision on how on when I've had enough is when I think it's big enough, you know, it's very, very mathematical, and then I'll just kind of keep going around. Sometimes I'll intentionally insert something that it's, uh, for instance, the width of this is substantially bigger then, and I'm gonna straighten this guy out. I don't have to straighten this guy out, but but I'm going to sew the width of this guy's this kind of burgundy colored one is a little bit it's a little broader than the other airstrips, and then maybe add another cool and oh, I see I messed up my little pattern here. This needs to be a cool so I could put the green over there, and then this is a different green. No, I'll put a blue was kind of turquoise color. Um, and now all mr burgundy is not going to fit their now, um, I mean, this is why you need lots of lots of fabric because, you know, you're going to be making choices. Throughout, throughout the process of creating okay and then I'm going to call it I'm going to call it done so here's my block released the strips of my block on dh it took me all of what you know, thirteen seconds tio put that together I'm going to start by putting uh I'm going to put them together in the order that I set them out on my mat here, so I'm going to start with my center stripe peace and my first cool color and this is actually this is probably the most important thing about improvisational quilting, so I don't I don't care what the edge of my bottom peace is I mean, it could be anything it could be like this I don't care, all I care about is when I sew it and I'm using my quarter and seem allowance is that I focus on having a quarter inch from the edge of my top piece that that's my number one concern because when I so that and I've got my quarter inch it's going teo I mean, if you pretended like, I'd soon it's going to open up and lay flat because my top piece I've observed the quarter in same allowance for my top piece that's really all I care about, so I'm gonna go over to my machine here and do just that and then press it um and here too is that you know the big controversy is you press seems open depressing to one side I tend to press him to one side I got to be honest I don't really have a big dog in this fight my only thing is sometimes when you press them open it weakens the scene that but I've also seen plenty of people you know press them open by open I mean you know, laying it like this opening up the seam and then pressing it so that it lays flat like that if you're going to do a lot of hand quilting I think folks prefer to have it pressed open because there's less bulk to go through I do a lot of machine quilting so it doesn't really affect me that way on dh when I press the scene I'm going to press it on the wrong side first and then press it to the other side for those folks who are brand new to quilting I'm going to point out a couple things one thing is that even though these fabrics are the same on both sides I just decided this is my my front side my this is and I'm going to put raw on my right side always put right sides together and sew them so because otherwise I'm going to end up with this and I don't I don't really want this the seem to be part of my design omen if I decide hey this is this is ok but I wish I didn't have this curve here that we're going to be doing plenty of stuff with curves I can attempt to straighten it out like that and then I would go ahead and add uh the second cool color which which one I designed it I forgot to add the second cool color um so I'm gonna make this all right I'm going to make this guy my second cool color no problem so again I'm going to put them right sides together so here's the seam side looking at me and then I'm going toe focus on sewing a quarter inch from that top piece all right um a lot of folks have missiles quarter and same guys well seen those to let them know what the quarter inch you know it's like a little magnetic thing that can fit on any machine and I think those were great at first most people kind of get a sense for what the quarter inches pretty quickly your eye kind of gets used to it so even though these were the same so I've got now I've got my centerpiece and to cool colored sides okay now obviously this is too long well that's not a problem too long is not a problem of his two short something to have to be either have be added to or taken away all I do is trim that away and now I'm ready to go on adding more I can add thes to reds and the green and the turquoise and this burgundy and this kind of choker color on dh that will make up my block. That makes sense. No question from elizabeth coming in online market, did you press them open first before you pressed the one side? Oh, so I pressed the center same open just to kind of show what that looked like on guided press them on the wrong side, so they, you know, you could see that the scene was open, but I didn't I didn't I didn't do it the second time because I usually don't press seems open I really only pressed it open to show what that looks like, and that is just I don't know, I just find that to be a matter of personal taste, so actually I have another question is, well, it was basically saying, this is genius so far, so thank you, elizabeth she's obviously really enjoying this, you're saying, I know what we get to know this, but how worried are you malka about getting point? So corners to match, you can't imagine how little I'm worried about if it was a scale of one, so we're going to talk later on about making design decisions. For instance, do I want my corners to match? Okay, well, then I'm going to need to make some allowances for that and to work to make my corners imagine I will definitely show how to do that as the same thing with points, you know, do I want that t match to sour to see the point of a triangle? I can make design decisions along the way to have that happen? Can I control it to the same degree that I would be able to control it if I was if I was working with a pattern where I'd cut all the pieces to this exact same size? Or I'd used my my ruler to cut, you know, a siri's of foreign squares? No, I can't control it too that way. But in terms of in general, am I worried about it? No, I mean there's, there's, there's. Bigger things to worry about. Oh, so no, all right, tommy starts adding my kind of warm colored fabrics. And oftentimes when I work seeing if this is a great set up this is like my cutting table is right next to my machine in my own home studio my cutting tables on the other side of the room, my machines on the other side agreements I should have it like a path you know that I and then the iron is on the other side of room from all those guys so I get a lot of exercise and but uh usually what I do is for a block like this kind of lay it out and then I'll bring it over to mike my selling table and uh and work on and just do it all like for instance, I wouldn't even trim this away or I might have my scissors nearby and I would just trim them with scissors and then finger press it open so finger pressed this means folded to the right side and kind of use the edge of my nails tio press it down and then reach over and get the next piece of fabric and this is only because for me getting the next piece of fabric if I don't if is it and trimming it trimming would mean I'd have to walk across the room to do that and so I'll just finger press and move along as is and work my my block that way and it goes a lot faster for me um so see I just I trimmed it so that it was a little closer to flush with the previous strips that I'd already sown I'm going keep adding until I've got my little block done mark actually of any of our viewers don't actually have access to so machine I'm assuming all of these steps can be done by hand just maybe a little bit slow to say that yes it's going to be slower obviously if you have to do it by hand but yes of course I mean that's the way quotes were always made they were made by hand I mean bite by hand sewing so yes it's not unheard of buying you know I mean one of the things that's nice about hand sewing like that is that you can take it with you everywhere you go um it's completely portable you could take strips like this along and you know so on it while you're waiting a doctor's appointment or are and a red light instead of texting so yeah okay, so I'm on to let the last of my cool colors and like I said, I'm just going to do this all of the machines so that I don't even have to get up because in lower home studio that means trekking across the room I tried to bring so I I brought some of the fabric here today and I tried to bring a kind of a variety of fabrics not only in terms of colors obviously, but in terms of some that air commercial some that air our hand died just because it's fun to have that variety to work with missing a piece of that I don't know where it was until just uses alison you've already started sewing I think yeah no that's good. So you ready? Church of chosen your colors and yeah that's it's so much fun there's great colors to pick from here so I'm question for you all um I know that when you so people people think oh god you know I've got fabric deal tend to inherit a lot of fabric from other people yeah, you wanted so not so much oh, you try not to holly I have so many collections as I have every kind of I have eight bins of yard and I have a whole bag fell pack I have a whole bag oh well and then I have everybody kind of paint so it's kind of like I live in a loft there's no closet so it's kind of my husband would be annoyed but you do do a lot of oh, ideo but I try to, like grab it, make it and then send it out into the world um so now I'm done piecing my block and you can see that when I hold it open it's you know it's evolved if there's bits hanging all over the place first thing I'm going to do is press it because I wanted to lay nice and flat before I cut it, and when I flip it over, you'll see that the seems, you know, all face one direction, they only seem that that is an open seam is the one I did at the very beginning, and now I'm gonna want to be cut to some, you know, some square like thing I want to get rid of all these extra bits, I'm probably not going to do more than just get rid of all these extra bits because I wanted to be a cz large as possible, okay? And so there's my I mean mine is not doesn't read is clearly is maybe somebody else does because I used such a this's the blue in the center block. Plus these two are so much the same that they don't read all that differently kind of all kind of comes together, but that's okay, um and I'm so that was the one that I made with my rotary cutter, so what I would like to do is make a second one, and I'm not going to change my I'll just kind of collect some fabrics and bring them over by my machine, maybe I'll introduce something new, um and make one using just sinners and you'll see that the process that the cutting process is really where you have the greatest variety but I think also in terms of scale you might have some variety there too because you're not it's just not going to cut with scissors on this kind of big and grand a scale as you do with with rotary cutting me a rotary cutter I can kind of stripped that wide it's no big deal but it's the little more intimate and activity teo I just said I was going to cut with scissors and I'm busy here cutting with with my rotary cutter um so I'm just going to bring this little pile over and cut some stuff with scissors and make a block that way as well this piece is pretty big play turned it down like some of this kind of coral colored fabricas well good when you're serving the fabric store whatever you specifically looking for off cuts and things that you think will make you go who doesn't love remnants but uh um yeah um yes I I do tend teo I like going through the remnant bin and seeing what they have not all remnants or things that we can use for quilt but yeah that's a that's a great feeling to find a great remnant on do like mixing the textures as well as the colors yeah I mean especially if you're going to be focusing on solids and yeah mixing you know something that's maybe a little number here that's why it's nice to occasionally put a limit in it's just that it has a different it stretches in a different way and that makes it a little harder to combine the two fabrics but it's not impossible so holly yes please so if you're used to dip do you ever sometimes put like a light interfacing on the back of one think can they play nice that you can do that to kind of eliminate some of that structure it's not going to be something that you're going to do with a knit your thought process um I don't ever really do that because if I because you're making a block that's going to be kind of off kilter anyway if you get a little bit of that wont penis because you've got some stretch it's really not that big a deal so but you certainly can if you want to control how much stretch you're going to get yeah sure the material has the wolf and the way we have thread you particularly on that no the only time I'm going to talk to you about because basically the way the amount of stretch is not going to change you know in the horizontal and the vertical it's going to change on the diagonal you know so when we get to a point where we're making a binding which is really at the end of our our quilt and it's going to some degree effect when we cut triangles but I actually have a little technique I didn't come up with this technique it's you know perhaps his oldest time for sewing triangle so that you can kind of skirt around that whole issue because it triangle obviously it has a least one angle one p one side that's on the bias it has to because it's got two straight to straight, you know, right? Triangle it's gotta have at least one um so that's the only time that I'm gonna worry about stretch is if I'm cutting triangles or cutting shapes that are that are going to be cut on the bias or if I'm making binding. All right? So I think I'll use my my new green you don't tend to wash fabrics before you start using them now, but should you take into account that summoned fabrics that you're using may have shrinkage issues in the washington chapter? Have you seen quilt finished quilts and get distorted because because we're improvising doesn't matter no it deal is so you know you made a quilt and he quoted it and then you put in the washing machine and yes, you're right, your fabric is going to shrink some cotton, but that shrinkage especially around where you put the quilting stitch is is going to create this kind of for you know it's always great to use the adjective of the same word is going to quit create this great cruelty quality to it you know? So it's not a bad thing it's a good thing and from folks who really want to accentuate that then all the more reason not to wash yeah, you lied on you oh we're fabrics played um I can't think of anything that I do know that sometimes people like they'll buy a commercial red and it will bleed there are some colors that are more susceptible to it than others I guess you know, if I was if I was really if it happened to me a lot you know, maybe I got with pickle store it happened all the time grand I might actually test it, you know, put it in some water and see if it if it blood, you know, but I haven't had aa lot of problem I think one way to prevent that and this is just you know, this is just anecdotal, you know? But if I was going to wash something like a quilt well, first of all, when I watched like a big quilt, I don't let it go and I used to have a mission where you could really control this now I have a front loader and it's all out of my hands but uh were you I could control whether or not it went into the agitation cycle like I could stop it and fast forward to the to the cycler just got rid of all the water yeah andi I think that's good because what happens is when you when you make a quote and you made all these holes because that's what quilting stitch is are there little holes in your fabric and then you take your quilt and you go like this yeah you're messing around with those holes so over time those holes could start to get bigger so if you probably the best way to wash especially quote that you want the last forever is toe you know philip your tub or phillipa big washtub and watch it that way and then putting in the dryers no big deal because all it's doing is tumbling in there. So another question coming in from atlanta peach on their asking quilting so freely market do you find yourself changing directions from where you started and you go along against it by changing directions? Do I change the pattern that's what they're implying no usually because I have that is actually something that way should talk about it even though this is improvisational you have to have some kind of rules you have to have some kind of parameters or else you're going to have a big giant mess so when I made these I told myself I'm going to have half the block be warm colors and half the block be cool colors I could have said I'm going to have half the block b dark colors and have to block the light colors um I'm going toe whatever I mean I could have decided half the blocks we're going to be all reds and the other half is going to be all blues that would have been fine too but I need some kind of rules because if I'm going to have this kind of improvisation thing going on if I'm going to have free form I've got to have some kind of structure and you're going to see in the quilts that we make a cz we are the block so we make as we work along that there's always some kind of structure there's some kind of underlying structure otherwise yeah otherwise you're going to have chaos so you do have to have some kind of I mean you don't have to you can do whatever you want but my family needs help it's very helpful to have some kind of parameters and it's it's helpful is a designer because if you can do everything that's almost a few too many design decisions to make you know everything is a lot so it's more than I can juggle in my head that's for sure all right so how are you all doing good I have a tip you've got your two blocks and I have a tip. You have a chip? Great. When one is in doubt about the washing instructions on cotton, just wash and rinse with salt water. Okay? Yeah, just just ok. I've never tried that. That sounds great. Especially this end woven cotton. I just discovered that journey that's fascinating when I was in india. You just trying to travel? Yeah, because they make, you know, handwoven your materials. And they told me that. Wash, rinse with salt water. So then your colors especially, you know, it's very colorful materials and stuff. So is that I also hold the college doesn't come around to another. All right, well, so be it, but okay, yeah, as a dire I'm going to give it so I do a lot of hand dying of fabric, and I'm going to give you all some hand dying tips. So we I use salt in the diet best that I, mink and that's to help the use of a specific kind of diets called fibre reactive die and so it actually binds with with the fibers, you know, I mean, they have a molecular by there's a chemical process, um, and salt aids that chemical process, so that may be how you, you know, this temp works aye there's also a specific soap that when you die fabric let's say you've got a beautiful length of green and a beautiful length of red and you don't want the two lengths tio you know they're in the same washing machine but you don't really want himto different each other there's a specific dyfs so called simferopol that can basically sort like that dish washing detergent you know that holds the grease I'm here center paul holds to die in suspension and you know, washes you know so here's the dying suspensions here's the washing that's going on so it ah it can help if you wanted you could buy it from you know, online die houses and you could buy small containers so it's not like you have to buy you know that of it um and so if you're concerned about that you could you could invest in that in that particular kind of soap me I just use you know, whatever cheapest at the grocery store but I'll tell you one other little tip I do I don't let things sit in my washing machine so if I'm gonna watch even so in all honesty I don't buy the even though I dye fabric I don't buy the different I don't buy the fancy soap what I do is watch what's going on in the washing machine when I heard when I hear the washing machine is over there it is. Done. I run over there to put the stuff in the dryer, you know, you know, to save that four bucks and I'm gonna have to spend on the on the soap. Um, so I don't let them sit there next to each other bleeding onto each other. Not to me. Malin here, mallon's helping us out today with some of the way get caught in any other machines that madame what's your background in sewing, you're quilter, I am a quilter. I'ma so where I do it all, I don't die, but I think I might get interested just hearing about it. It sounds very free and I like color. Yeah, yes. And if you've done a lot of the improvisational quill for you know, I haven't. I've done the traditional kulti, but I think this one is more freeing and more interesting to me. Less less restrictions. Yes, thank you. So, it's ok, they know. How do you pronounce improvisation? If it was you can't really this is really half. I've lived here twenty two years. I still can't get it right for me. It's improvisational. But I know in america improvisational. So I have a friend who's, also fabric designer and a quilter lucy somers she's very well known, and we're friends and way chat keel is that she lives in england on dh. We chat about how different things were pronounced. You know, she made fun of me one time, about the way I pronounce something, and I told her that I remember being in london and asking a gentleman how to get to lie chester square to come in, because it's spelled l e c e I s t r, and that seemed to make sense to me, and he said, do you mean leicester square? So it's hard on the trips off, a lot of people.

Class Description

Custom quilts are the kind of heirloom craft everyone longs to create, but stitching together a unique pattern can be seriously overwhelming. In 10 Ways to Love Improvisational Quilting, Malka Dubrawsky will introduce you to new forms of quilting — with fresh color combinations, techniques, and patterns.

Malka will get you started by showing you how to cut and create a simple log cabin nine-patch block. You’ll learn how to incorporate triangles, pinwheels, and curves into your designs to make them more versatile. You’ll build the skills needed to take any quilt block (and even other patterns, like wallpaper or a painting) and deconstruct it so you can create something similar.

If you want to create bold and memorable quilts and learn new ways to express your creative style through quilting, this course is for you.