Thursday, February 11, 2016

Curvy Diamonds: A Gentle Improv Curve Mini Quilt

Improvisation has a million and one possibilities - that's one reason I love it so! I've become quite fond of teaching "controlled" improvisational piecing (planned improv, improv with intent, whatever you might have heard it called). This means approaching improvisation with a plan for the overall design of the quilt, which surely fits into the mindset of modern quilting. And even if it didn't, I'd still teach/sew it anyway. ;)

 I used bright and lovely Michael Miller Cotton Couture fabrics for the whole front. I won them from Michael Miller at QuiltCon last year and have been itching to use a bunch of them for the same project. The stars aligned!

In preparation for my first teaching gig of the year at Byrne Sewing Connection, I whipped up a new sample for my Gentle Improv Curves class: this mini quilt features a totally new look, using the same technique as the pillow below.

 Gentle Improv Curves pillow - original design and technique by Jessica Skultety

Now, the Gentle Improv Curves pillow is a PROJECT class - you can either make a mini quilt or a pillow (out of either design), and I provide instructions for each! Check out the whole class description here.

Each. one. of. the. curves. is. improvised. It really is a fun and freeing process.  I purposefully arranged them so that the middle diamond is (almost) perfect). You could make them all wonky if you want! The sky is the limit!

I felt that quilting a spiral from the middle would bring the whole design together. It was fun and it makes a statement! As usual, I quilted with Dove Gray Aurifil (2600) because I'm convinced its the perfect thread shade for anything (again, not an Aurifil sponsor, just in love with the product!).

In the class, we discuss different ways you can quilt a pillow or mini quilt. You can also listen to my thoughts on quilting modern quilts here.

 I can't wait to hang this on my mini quilt wall when it's not being used!

The back is as a sample for another class I'm teaching several times this year: wonky crosses! Just one block made a perfect backing (I chose an Alison Glass fat quarter and it was just a tad too small, so I added in some strips, and there you go! Creative backing solution, and it serves a double purpose). 

I just scheduled BOTH of these classes to run over two 2 hour sessions at Rock Paper Scissors in Montclair, NJ! The classes are for all skill levels and meant to introduce you to improv (though you can certainly take them if you have some experience under your belt). Come and join up - call the shop at 973-337-6759 to register!
  • Class - Rock Paper Scissors, Montclair, NJ
    • Gentle Improv Curves Technique + Project
    • 7-9 PM, Wed. March 16 AND Wed. March 23 (taken together)   

  • Class - Rock Paper Scissors, Montclair, NJ
    • Wonky Cross Technique + Wallhanging
    • 7-9 PM, Wed. March 30 AND Wed. April 6 (taken together) 

Just a comment about my experience at Byrne Sewing: I had a blast meeting nearly 100 quilters in their exclusive shop club, Byrne's Bees. Most of the quilters had never improvised, so it was really exciting to show them all the possibilities and encourage them to try! I gathered some great quilting ideas from them, too. Unfortunately, we didn't fill enough spaces to hold the curves workshop, but there was overwhelming interest afterwards. Therefore, I'm working with Byrne to hold a couple of workshops this summer. Yay!

The reality of teaching sewing is this: sometimes classes don't fill, but ultimately, more opportunities open up! I'm currently working with another guild south of me to schedule for summer, and I received an invitation to come to two more after my improvisation lectures. Byrne Sewing treated me like a queen, and I'm so grateful that they hired me and support me. Thank you, thank you, thank you! (Also... I may have done some shopping while I was there. I'll share soon.)

Thanks also to Linda B. (@ihearthp66) for helping me take some industrial pictures at Hopewell Train Station during our guild sewing day. The colors really pop, no? We learned that painter's tape on a brick wall only holds for about 15 seconds at a time. :) Linda also helped with "Winter is Coming." She's fabulously talented, and we fangirl about Outlander, Harry Potter, and Game of Thrones. Yup, quilt guilds bring people together!


  1. Beautiful mini - the spiral quilting helps emphasize the curves so nicely. I hope you continue to have a great time teaching the class! :)

  2. I love your improv quilts! That curve is so cute and looks very do-able. Good luck with the classes!

  3. These classes sounds like so much fun! Both projects really compliment each other, showing the different in fabrics picked and layout. I hope your next class is super successful!

  4. It's kind of hard to believe you used the same technique for the mini and for the pillow...they look incredibly different! Both beautiful, but so different! It sounds like you're on the right track with your teaching opportunities, and even more will likely open up as word about your classes starts to get around.


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