Let's Define Improv Quilting

improv Feb 29, 2024

Over the years, as a quilt teacher and writer, I've seen a lot of different perceptions about improv quilting. Messy, wonky, wild, liberated, unstructured, ugly, gorgeous, scary...

Here's the truth though. 

1. You don't have to like improv quilts. No one is forcing you to make them and you can walk right by them if you see one that makes your eyes hurt.

2. Precision piecing is absolutely a part of improv quilting. Make a bunch of perfect HSTs, stars, log cabins, or whatever block then see what you can do with them.

3. It's okay to not enjoy the unstructured process of improv piecing. It isn't for everyone and being okay with not enjoying it is very accepting of your own personal creative truth. Don't cause yourself anxiety over your quilting.

There are many different ways to define improv but this is mine.

Improv Quilting: Starting without knowing where you are going to end up.

This way it becomes about the process more than the product. Give in to the explorations, experiments, and play that comes with quilt making. Let yourself ask if it can be done and see what happens. In the old drama class language, classic improv is saying, "Yes, and...?" It is no different in quilting. Just start and see what happens.