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Embracing Improv!

Hello! Hope you’ve all had a great weekend? I spent time working on my Improv Block from FQR and making it into a cushion.

When I’d been packing up for FQR the instructions for Lu Summers class was for scraps around 5″ or a charm pack. After a bit of a root around, I found a charm pack (about 20 pieces) of Avignon by Emily Taylor for Riley Blake, a few matching solids of yellow, turquoise and Kona Snow and kind of hoped for the best!

Improv Block by fabricandflowersuk

I was quite nervous about the Improv class because I’m an instructions kind of girl, so Lu’s ‘cut around 5 strips, about 1″ wide’ was a bit of a challenge for me. So I did as I was (roughly!) told and learnt four different techniques: strips (which could be turned into HSTs, which I didn’t do), log cabins, chevrons, lazy drunkards path and crazy patchwork. I actually found it easier to improv as we progressed as we had more scraps, whereas to start with I had to cut things to size. I’m so glad I took along the solids to provide some contrast and some ‘rest’ areas in the piece. Others in the class had taken mostly solids and mixed in with a few feature fabrics and their pieces were really amazing – I definitely want to try that next time!

The construction was again quite fun for me: there may have been a moment where Lu and I had a conversation along the lines of:

Me: So how big is the block meant to be?
Lu: However it’s shaping up, it’s up to you….
Me: Ok……so how should I put the pieces together?
Lu: Just lay them out and see what you like best
Me: Okaayyyyy…….

But I made it through! I’d already decided to make it into a cushion for Little Girl and as the piece was so busy I added a Kona Snow border, before using all the left over scraps to make a very scrappy binding.

Improv cushion by fabricandflowersuk

For quilting, I thought it would be fun to echo the drunkards path as well as have a go at spiral quilting. I remembered reading a ‘how-to’ guide over on Kerry’s blog and would thoroughly recommend it, her template rocks!!!!

Spiral Quilting on Improv Cushion by fabricandflowersuk

It’s a envelope-style cushion, but when it came to putting it together I realised that I had the two pieces for the back but only one was wide enough. What to do?! I ummed and ahhed, checked my stash and decided that it really was the best choice, and that I’d just have to piece a bottom panel. I added some Kona Snow, decided it looked a bit empty and that as it was for Little Girl I would add a special message for her…..

Special message to Little Girl by fabricandflowersuk

So a truly Improv’d cushion I think?! It’s been so fun and I’m already planning some more projects: a wall hanging using some Oakshotts and someday a quilt for Boy 1 (he keeps asking for “a dark blue quilt Mummy”!!!). First, I’m going to eagerly stalk await the postie to bring me Lu’s new book for more inspiration and ideas!


Todays sky ● blue, clouds, grey – think we’ve had pretty much everything today!!!


  1. July 29, 2013 / 10:22 pm

    Looks gorgeous, lucky Little Girl! Love the fabric choices and the quilting ๐Ÿ˜€

  2. July 29, 2013 / 10:58 pm

    Great improv! Love the message – true love that is!

  3. July 29, 2013 / 11:36 pm

    It's gorgeous Sonia! I like the sound of a dark blue quilt for your son too – he clearly has great taste! I love your message, sadly though I think my boy loves chocolate more than me, hehe ๐Ÿ˜‰

  4. July 29, 2013 / 11:36 pm

    It's gorgeous Sonia! I like the sound of a dark blue quilt for your son too – he clearly has great taste! I love your message, sadly though I think my boy loves chocolate more than me, hehe ๐Ÿ˜‰

  5. July 30, 2013 / 12:01 am

    Cuter then cute! Improve is so much fun…we all need to do it more often!

  6. July 30, 2013 / 6:30 am

    Sweet pillow, Sonia! I love the spiral quilting and the binding is superb! Congrats!

  7. joanne
    July 30, 2013 / 9:02 am

    It is perfec and the message makes it so specialt! And I love the quilting!

  8. maria
    July 30, 2013 / 9:34 am

    It's lovely and great to learn a new technique. I love the message on the back.

  9. July 30, 2013 / 9:46 am

    haha, love your conversation with Lu, you can always tell the people who like structure rules and a set pattern when it comes to these kind of projects, it makes it a whole level tougher, but with beautiful results!

  10. July 30, 2013 / 4:29 pm

    Fab fix, you did good! ๐Ÿ˜€

  11. July 30, 2013 / 5:44 pm

    Looks fabulous Sonia, the fabrics, your piecing, the quilting and then your hand embroidered message just makes it perfect. ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. July 30, 2013 / 8:12 pm

    It looks brilliant!!! I am going to try so hard when I the book – and need this class next year!

  13. August 1, 2013 / 9:38 am

    That's lovely! I do like the chevrons at the bottom right.

  14. House of Pinheiro
    August 6, 2013 / 9:33 am

    wow, looks great.. that class was really fun x

  15. August 9, 2013 / 12:16 pm

    So lovely! Is improv meant to look that coordinated though?! Your dialogue did make me laugh – so that's why Lu said your class was needy ๐Ÿ˜‰
    I loved that Avignon line too.