Improv Quilt Along month one

Welcome to Month One! We're tickled you're going on this journey with us!

Just a reminder of what you will need:

Fabric Pull

1. Approximately 3.5 to 4.0 yards of coordinated fabric (14-16 fat quarters). This can be any color or style – however it's suggested that participants coordinate their fabric so that the Quiltalong will have a cohesive color theme (unless you want to go all scrappy!). Please include several fat quarters and then multiple pieces of coordinated fabrics. (also include some neutrals – they will be used later)

Block one

2. A Small plastic box or large shoebox. This should be sturdy and have a sturdy lid. Please put your fabrics in the shoe box to bring to the meeting.

3. 1 yard of a "signature fabric". This will an interesting fabric that the participant will keep (this will not go in the box). The idea of the signature fabric is for each quilt square to have a little "piece" of the quiltmaker included. *** IN the tutorials my "signature fabric" is a bright pink print. This will give you an idea how the signature fabric is used throughout the improv process.

4. A willing spirit to try different improv techniques.

Let's get ready to rumble!!!!!

For month one you will use your own fabrics (including your focus fabric) to create a 12.5 to 15 inch improv square. Starting with a 4 inch square, you will sew a piece to your initial square then add a piece to that square, continuing to add pieces (squares and rectangles) until the size reaches at LEAST 12.5 inches (pssst, your pieces can be a bit wonky – no quilt police here!!) Don't forget to add a piece of your focus fabric. Square your piece off and you're done with Month One! Put your fabric and your finished improv block on the top in your shoebox and you're ready for month two! (remember to keep your focus fabric with you for use throughout the QAL)

A couple of reminders:

1.      Don’t think too hard. This square should only take around 30 minutes to make.  Remember that with improv, you don't have to have all the answers right away. Don't feel as if you have to have all your block organized and laid out ahead of time. Some people enjoy cutting random squares and adding them one at a time, adding pieces as they get inspiration ("Hmm, needs a little neutral in that corner" or "I feel like a piece of yellow would add a pop of color here"). It's not all about the destination, it's about the journey and discovery.

2.    Make sure you start "big", i.e. with improv, it takes more fabric than you think. Cut your squares bigger as they will get much smaller as you start sewing.

3.    If you're a "by the book" quiltmaker and/or are new to improv quiltmaking, you may feel a little uncomfortable at first when starting the QAL squares. It's okay as you are actually using your more traditional skills while expanding your quilting horizons. If you have any problems or questions, please post them on the blog or FB page so other quilters can help guide and encourage you in your journey. We are all in this together!

4. In your sewing, make sure to use good quilting techniques. This means 1/4 inch seams, cutting your random spare threads and pressing your square. This will be the mantra for every quilt square in the QAL. It will make it easier when you get your box back months down the road to have squares that are inspiring and fun to use, rather than having to sew through big crooked seams and struggle with challenging workmanship.


1.    How long in the QAL? The QAL will run from March until November, but you will make the first block and the last block. (you will receive your blocks and extra fabric back by October and bring your finished blocks back in November)

2.     How many blocks will be made? There will be 12 all together. You will make the first and last blocks – the other blocks will be made by the worker bees.

3.     What will be the size(s) of the blocks? As this is improv, I ask that the blocks be at least 12.5 inches in size. Larger is preferred (mine are at least 15.0 inches). Some will run bigger. My rule of improv is that it's better to be generous and go bigger as with numerous cuts and adjustments, the blocks will shrink significantly.  Plus it's easier to make a quilt with larger blocks at the end so think BIG!

4.     I can't commit to bringing my box each week or I'm a snowbird/ winter visitor. Can I still participate? OF COURSE. You are welcome to do each month's tutorials and bring your blocks to show at each month's visits. You will have the same fabric requirements but you will have your signature fabric in each of your blocks.
Any questions? Please email Patti. And don't forget to post your progress in our Facebook Group.

- Patti Auten, VP of Projects