Improv Quilting Class Review

Improvisational Quilting relies on your sense of color, measurements and organic sewing to create beautiful pieces of art.  For a quilter who relies on rulers and pre-made patterns, improv quilting can make you a bit twitchy.  (“Where’s my ruler?  Wait, you don’t want me to measure that piece?  You want me to sew it and the sides are completely flush?  WHAT!?!)  When Creative Live hosted a class with Malka Dubrawsky, I jumped at the chance to sew along with her in the comfort of my stash... I mean home!!

Malka’s Ten rules for loving improv quilting.

1) Relax (this rule definitely comes in handy if you are a twitchy, ruler driven quilter… that might be me…)

2) Trust Your Eyes (when everything is measured out and pre-thought out for you, going back to trusting your visual measurements is an exercise you must practice)

3) Add or Subtract Fabric as Needed

4) Embrace Wonkiness (not just embrace it, you learn to LOVE it.)

5) Squaring Off is always an option (often your pieces grow organically.  Since improv can encourage a “no ruler” policy, it was nice to know you have the ruler as a “plan B’ if the piece gets unruly.)

6) Size Disparity is a good thing (allow for different size blocks/cuts/strips.  The variation creates visual interest.)

7) Accentuate the Edges (create visual interest with different bindings)

8) Contain the Energy with Sashing (sashing can calm down visually busy pieces)

9) Utilize Color (make color your best friend.)

10) Focus on Solids (solids help make color your best friend.)

The class assignments encouraged you to work through her ten rules.  Here are some of my class assignments:

Strips by Crafty Planner

Wonky Drunkards Path by Crafty Planner

Flying Geese by Crafty Planner


The last segment of the class focused on finishing techniques such as quilting, basting, pinning and binding.

Would I take this class again?  

Yes!  Malka was fantastic and I would have loved to be in the studio audience.

About Creative Live…

I love that Creative Live provides the ability to ask questions of the teacher and operating a moderated chat room.  Since I watched the live broadcasts, the class was free!  You can not beat that price.

I found two disadvantages to the live broadcast though.

1)  When you are trying to follow along with a skill building class like this one, it is a bit hard when you do not have a supply list.  The studio audience had scrap bins and supplies available to them. Luckily, I was in my studio and had another rainbow scrap project already sitting out.  I pulled my fabrics from that stash along with a box of low volume scraps I keep separated from the rest of my scraps.  But if I didn’t have everything organized, I would not have been able to follow along as quickly.  I mentioned this in the chat room and Creative Live said they would take the suggestion under advisement.  Even if I wasn’t taking the class live, I would want a supply list to get ready to take the class.

2) You need to be able to multi-task well.  I was pulling fabric, ironing, cutting, sewing, and listening to the broadcast all at the same time.  I would also check the chat room if I didn’t understand an instruction.  It is not easy to handle that many things at one time.  If you purchased the class, you can pause it.  But you also can’t ask questions live or participate in the chat room.

All in all, I appreciated the experience and will take another class again.

Have you taken a Creative Live class?  There are a few classes that sound fantastic!

Comments 4

  1. I had fun watching your progress while we watched! Everything looks great. Unfortunately I was watching from work and setting up your sewing machine on your desk tends to be discouraged….
    I also watched Bonnie Christine’s surface pattern design class on CL and would HIGHLY recommend that one. I learned a ton about using Illustrator and designing prints for fabric. Just did a post about it if you want to check it out:

  2. Pingback: Podcast Episode #22: Malka Dubrawsky of A Stitch In Dye - Crafty Planner

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