Monday, January 27, 2014

Improv Piecing with Lucie Summers

I love quilting and crafting books, can't get enough of them. Over the past few weeks, I have thoroughly enjoyed reading through Lucie Summers' Quilt Improv book. The photography throughout the book is positively stunning, the quilts are gorgeous, and the step-by-step instruction is really in-depth, but also really inspiring, as you can see lots of different ways to vary the different blocks and techniques Lucie shows in the book. Another thing I adore about this book is seeing Lucie's drawings peppered throughout the book. If you're not familiar with Lucie as a fabric designer, having released two lines with Moda over the last few years full of whimsical low-volume line drawings, here's one thing you simply must know about her: she is an immensely talented artist, who sells her many of crafty goods on Etsy. She's got a fantastic sense of color and style, which comes across in her quilts beautifully. She also blogs regularly right here.


As soon as I paged through the book a couple of times, I knew exactly what I wanted to make from her book. Improv is often a challenge for me - it's hard to set aside my Type A tendencies sometimes - but I kept coming back to the Crazy Triangles technique. I especially loved how scrappy and vibrant Lucie's sample was, so I dug into my scraps to made a version of this super fun block.


I managed to find a boatload of DS Florence scraps and some teal triangles in my unsorted scrap bin, and I liked the way they looked together, so I went for it. I can definitely see myself adding to this to make it a bit larger and turn it into a pillow cover at some point for the living room. It's already 15", so it's almost big enough to be a pillow cover, and it was really easy to put together. I love how great improv can be with scraps, how varied and interesting it can look when you just throw caution to the wind and start sewing bits and pieces together.

A little crazy triangles block

For links to past stops on the blog tour for Quilt Improv and loads of other fun bits of improv related inspiration, click here. The wonderful folks at Stitch Craft & Create were kind enough to offer up a book for me to give away as well, so to enter the giveaway simply enter the Rafflecopter giveaway below. A winner will be announced Friday morning. Have a great day today!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

153 comments:

  1. I have used improv piecing to make journal covers and I enjoyed the process. My scrap collection is growing (quickly) and I would love to learn more about the process.

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  2. I use improve piecing in my small art quilt projects. I would love to learn how to make it work for a "useable" quilt! Your blocks turned out gorgeous Elizabeth! I love your color choices.

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  3. Haven't yet tried it, but listening to the great comments about this book, makes me wonder what I am missing!

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  4. I have tried improv piecing once just recently. I was a bit scared to try it and waste my scraps but once I started I really had a good time.

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  5. I tried it once. It wasn't as bad as I thought. I just made a mini quilt out of my first attempt and it looks pretty good hanging on my wall.

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  6. Whenever I've tried it, I love it and have such fun--except for the mess I make!

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  7. I've never tried improv piecing, but I'd love to give it a go.

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  8. I love improv piecing. Its very relaxing and addictive. Love your block!

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  9. I want to try improv piecing and make a wildly colorful quilt

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  10. I love your block; nice colour combination. I would love to own this book as I need help in thinking out of the quilting box.

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  11. I have trouble leaving my ruler and templates, but I am always happy with the results!

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  12. I have never tried Improv quilting - definitely outside my OCD comfort zone which is why it is on my list of skills to master in 2014.

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  13. Looks like fun--thanks for the chance to win a copy!

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  14. I've never tried improve piecing, but it looks like fun. That book is one I will definitely add to my library!
    tstanulis@mac.com

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  15. I love improv piecing. One of my favorite quilts was created this way.

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  16. I have dabbled in it. I am stiff when I begin, but loosen up as I go. It is tough to give up control.

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  17. I have trouble with improv. Would love to have the book to help me loosen up!

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  18. I haven't tried improve yet. This hop is getting me motivated to try it.

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  19. i am new to improv piecing, cant wait to try!

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  20. I have those type A tendencies and am also a bit improv challenged. I have made a lot of wonky log cabin blocks and I do enjoy those. I'd love to have this book to help me try some new improv techniques!

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  21. I haven't tried it, but want to. It goes against my ordered grain (to do), but I love the way it looks!

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  22. I haven't really tried improv piecing yet (unless scrappy mini-9-patches count) but they always look so fun!

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  23. I'm very finicky about my pieces matching and perfect sewing, so improv piecing is stepping way-way outside my comfort zone. I've done it a few times, and (surprisingly, for me), I've found it highly enjoyable, but I definitely have to be in the right mood. I also tend to do smaller pieces with improv work, as I think I don't have the patience for letting loose long enough to complete a big quilt.

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  24. Thats so funny....i was going through my stash last night wondering what to do with all the odd ball scraps! What a great idea on how to use them....

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  25. I really like it, the few times I've done it. Freeing, no mistakes, a surprise every time....

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  26. WOW! This would really be a stretch for me! I am a type A must have step by step directions and it must look perfect personality. But my motto this year is try something different. So I can't wait to try! this! thanks for the giveaway

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  27. I love it! I've always wanted to quilt but am not very precise so I was always intimidated by it. Now I realize I can quilt without feeling that everything should be perfect. I can't wait to do more.

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  28. I've tried improve quilting, but it is a struggle for me. I have lots of scraps, though, so I want to get more comfortable with the technique.

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  29. I have a hard time with improv too, this book sounds fantastic and like you will really learn some good techniques!

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  30. Everything I have seen on this blog hop makes me really want this book!

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  31. Love the block. I have the same problem when it comes to improv piecing. My brain gets in the way of my creativity.

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  32. With all the scraps I have, improvising seems to be the answer;)

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  33. I haven't tried improve piecing, although some might say all my piecing is improve, but I am certainly open to trying new things.

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  34. Would love to try something different.

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  35. I've just started getting into improve piecing and am loving it so far with the smaller projects. I would love new tips on how to create these. Thanks for the chance!

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  36. I have never actually tried improv but it looks fun, and I like the idea of not having to make all my points meet all the time! Thanks for a fun giveaway too.

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  37. This book just keeps catching my eye -- I like the crazy triangles, too!

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  38. I'm afraid I am not so good at improv piecing, but that hasn't stopped me from trying...and would love to win this great book to help me along the way! Thanks for the chance!

    caribousmom (at) gmail (dot) com

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  39. I've never tried it, though I really should as I'm terrible at accurate piecing!

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  40. I have done some improve blocks for bee commitments. It's a bit of a leap of faith but the blocks looked good.

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  41. I improv pieced the quilt I made for my MIL for Christmas. Loved it!

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  42. I have not tried it, but the projects in this book do make me want to give it a try!

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  43. Have tried it but don't love doing it but love what others do. I just need to do work on it more often.

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  44. I love improv! I'm currently experimenting with improv by doing a 365 day project, a block a day improv style. Using scraps! Love it! Thanks for the giveaway!

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  45. I've never tried it. I'm not sure mine would turn out as nice as yours!!

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  46. I've never improve pieced before, but after seeing all the great blog posts on this book, I think it looks fun to try!

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  47. I've tried improv piecing for the front of a bag, the block looked fine but I never did finish the bag! I'd love to have a look at this book and learn to improv properly.

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  48. I haven't tried improv piecing, but it looks like fun. Thank you for the chance to win.

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  49. I have not tried it, but want to!

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  50. pramuditahandaristi at gmail dot com

    I have never tried improv ever! It looks like a great scrap buster, though!

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  51. I've never tried a fully improv quilt, but I enjoyed it every time I tried a block and I love it for piecing letters.

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  52. Lovely review of Lu Summers book! I love her fabric designs and I'm inspired to try improv quilting - have boxes full of fabric scraps waiting to be put to good use...

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  53. I have never done improv piecing, but it looks like fun!

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  54. I have done a foundation pieced string mini-quilt that was mostly improv and I really enjoyed it. My brain doesn't typically go that direction, so I need another project to practice the technique. Thanks for the chance to win!

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  55. I have to be in the right mood to want to improv piece. But the few times I've done it, I've been pleasantly surprised by the results!

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  56. I never tried improv. It seems one would need to throw out the rules. I am afraid I find comfort in rules!

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  57. My first improv project was for a baby quilt gift. I fell in love with it and wanted to keep it!

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  58. I do like improv with scraps. It's very satisfying.

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  59. Improv is hard for me- that Type A thing is a problem. I took a class with Denyse Schmidt at QuiltCon and I was amazed that I could let go in there but I think it was because it was so well taught. Looks like a great book.

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  60. I love improv piecing. It combines mathematical thinking with creativity (and uses up my scraps!).

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  61. I have only done a bit that isn't laid out in blocks. It challenges me, I have trouble not being a bit short here or there when I plan, I know qayg gives me horrible headaches!

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  62. My first time doing improv piecing was in a class with Alissa Haight Carlton last summer, and I loved it!

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  63. I will admit to a couple of timid attempts at improve piecing. I am a lot braver using scraps or fabrics that aren't too precious. I just don't have the nerve to slice into my favorites!

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  64. I'm about to make a baby quilt for my sister - in - law's first baby, and she's given me a few things to go off. One is a cushion cover for the nursery which is printed in an improvisational way, similar to what you've made above. I've been trying to work out how to do it - this would show me!

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  65. I am really curious about this triangle technique.

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  66. I want to make the one with the circles in it!

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  67. It's still on my list of things to do!!

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  68. I love it! I love not having to cut fabric to the exact size!

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  69. I rather like improv piecing. I've done several blocks for bees and made a bag, but I haven't made a quilt for myself yet using improv.

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  70. Your triangle block turned out great! Cant wait to try my hand at improve.

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  71. Looks like a great book, thanks for the chance to win a copy!

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  72. I have never tried improv but want to now after seeing the variety of projects on this book tour.

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  73. I saw a copy of this book at a friend's house and you are so right, the photos of the quilts are stunning,

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  74. I have tried it once, but it was really difficult for me. A girl friend is going to come over one Saturday and we are going to throw caution to the wind and give it another shot. This book would be a great starting place.

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  75. Love it! but would benefit greatly from some guidance and this looks such a great book.
    Bronwyn

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  76. I have trouble following directions, so improv is the way to go! Btw just bought a Juki!

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  77. Love your block. You make it sound so easy.

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  78. I've heard so many great things about this book - I would love to see it.

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  79. I usually improv smaller projects-probably because my inaccurate piecing would be really evident on a small scale, and my scrap bin is overflowing with irregularly sized pieces. Journal covers, camera straps: fun in small quantities! Thanks so much for the opportunity-I would love a copy of this book!
    mmckee at wi dot rr dot com

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  80. i love improv piecing. I just haven't done a lot with it yet, just take my scraps and make random sized and shaped pieces that I am hoping to put together at some point.

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  81. This book would be great to teach me improv piecing. -- soparkaveataoldotcom

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  82. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  83. I have never tried improve piecing but looking forward to trying.

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  84. I've never tried improv but I love the vibrancy shown in the book.

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  85. I find improv really difficult - you seem to have got over your Type A tendencies just fine!

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  86. I have an extremely hard time with any improv, maybe that's because I decide to try when I need a gift! Next time I will play and make it just for me!

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  87. I've only made one quilt using improv and I loved it - it was so liberating not having to measure every other second!

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  88. This was my first attempt with improv piecing and I loved the result http://www.flickr.com/photos/mcvallet/10193477393

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  89. I have not really tried it yet. I have been watching videos of how you can do this. Thanks for the chance to win this I really need it.

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  90. I've never tried it, but am looking for ways to expand my skillset this year....

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  91. I want to try it, but like you, am Type A to the hilt. I'm going to put it on my "to do" list and when I have a bit of free time I'm going to give it a whirl.

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  92. I am new to quilting, but am very much a "wing it" kind of person when it comes to many things. I think I would LOVE improv quilting. :) I'd love to have Lucie's book too.

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  93. I have tried a little but it's not as easy as it looks!!

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  94. Thanks, Elizabeth! I haven't done any improv piecing yet, but examples like your beautiful block are just the thing to tempt me into "untested waters" Sometimes I forget that having fun CAN be the main point!

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  95. I'm okay with improv piecing ~ I really want everything to be organized. If I'm doing something wonky, I've got to put it in a paper bag and take what I get instead of trying to be all matchy. It's hard work ~ teehee!

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  96. I love the look of it but haven't mastered it yet!

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  97. I have never done it - yet. :) Thanks

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  98. I took an Improv class at Quiltcon last year with Valori Wells. I loved it! It's so freeing. And Valori is a wonderful teacher.

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  99. I've yet to try improv piecing, but I've been eying Elizabeth's work ay "oh, Frasson" and I just need a push to try it.

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  100. I've never tried improv piecing but I really love the way it looks!

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  101. It looks like fun, but I've never tried it. A great way to use up scraps.
    yoyopattycakes at hotmail.com

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  102. I've Ben a little scared to try improv quilting, but I love the look of it and want to jump into it this year.

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  103. I have tried it and love it for using up scraps and letting go of crazy perfectionism for a little bit. Love your color choices.

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  104. I've got Quilt Improv on my amazon wish list!

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  105. I'm such an organizer and planner that I haven't attempted improv yet, but this book looks like a great tool to help me let loose and create!

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  106. would love to try this. my quilting is pretty methodical so this would be a nice change.

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  107. I have actually never tried it, but would love too. I'm not very good at cutting or getting perfect intersections so I think this would be something I would really enjoy.

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  108. I have actually never tried it, but would love too. I'm not very good at cutting or getting perfect intersections so I think this would be something I would really enjoy.

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  109. I actually really enjoy the little improv piecing I have done. I enjoy the results and love to always see everyone's creativity. Thank you for the give away. I would love this book. I know I would use it!

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  110. I love it, it fun just go sit and go.

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  111. my very first quilt i ever made was an improv hand-stitched crazy quilt. my first machine quilt was improv log cagin. it's hard for me though - i take a long time and probably overthink it, so would really love to win Lucie's wonderful book!

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  112. I haven't tried improv piecing, but I would love to give it a go. I'm not sure if I can be that random, though. :-). Thanks for the chance to win Lucie's book.

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  113. This book looks so amazing! I think that scrappy triangle block is my favorite. Yours are beautiful!

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    Replies
    1. I guess I was too quick for my own good. My experience with improv quilting thus far is limited (I'm a new quilter overall), but I have tried one project that I really like! I used tiny scraps from another project and made a little coaster so I could try out machine binding. I only planned to practice the technique, but now I really like the overall project! Who knew!

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  114. I have not tried improv piecing yet although to look at some of my quilt attempts one might think I have. LOL. Would love to win the book.

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  115. i took a class with Denyse in the fall that was a good ease into improv piecing and i loved it! definitely looking forward to more of this in my projects.

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  116. I've made a few small things using this technique and really enjoy it. I find it relaxing with no rules!:) Thanks!

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  117. I made a very large pillow slipcover improv style. I like the way it looks, but found that one of the pieces of fabric I really liked ended up getting cut off mostly, so made me wish I planned more!

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  118. I'm a fairly new quilter and have never tried improv piecing. This would be a great way to learn. Thanks!!
    emyerly(at)wideopenwest(dot)com

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  119. I've never tried improv but I would love to.

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  120. I'm improv quilting the panels for a purse. So far it's been fun!

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  121. This book looks awesome! Thanks for the chance to win :)

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  122. The book looks very helpful and a lot of fun. Nancy: rangerer@sbcglobal.net

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  123. I have never tried it. Nancy: rangerer@sbcglobal.net

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  124. I haven't tried it and haven't really been exposed to improv that much...I'm like you and like things the way they are "supposed" to be :) Thanks for the chance to win. I know this would be a great book to add to my library

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  125. Great Triangle Improv block!! I want to learn more about improv piecing so hope you choice me!!

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  126. I'm intrigued by improv but haven't tried it... Scared to mess up with favorite fabric, I think!

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  127. I've never tried it. too intimidating to me!

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  128. I have never tried this technique either--usually very much a follow the directions kind of girl--but you have made it look so FUN!

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  129. I just simply love to quilt! I would love this book!

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  130. Never tried it but this book looks inspirational

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  131. I've only tried once this technique, I find it very hard to just let it go. It's still a work in progress.
    Thanks for the chance.

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  132. Never tried it yet - I always seem to find a few fabrics that I love, but then use them all up making other things!

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  133. I have never tried improve quilting before but I'd like to give it a try! It draws me. :) Thanks for the opportunity to win this gorgeous book. quiltwoman0@gmail.com

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  134. I am ment to improv, but I am trying to learn some blocks, I learned some PP from you and will do more on that this year, but If Improv doesnt work out,its a pot holder so I dont mind slicing so much. especially if its a fabric I would love to see more of .

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  135. I'm so scared of the thought of Improv! It sort of goes against everything I am- how I'd love to shake that up a bit!

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  136. I have tried just a few squares of improv piecing. I always feel like I need a plan, so improv doesn't come so easily to me! I definitely want to try again, I suppose it is sort of like crazy quilting? And I have done that a couple of times. LOL

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  137. I love the process, but not always the end result. I love that there's not a lot of planning ahead with improv, but that also means that the picture in my head isn't usually what I see when the piecing is done.

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  138. I've never tried improv - too much of a follow the rule type of gal, I guess.

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  139. I've actually never done it! Would love the book to try it!

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  140. I have been inspired to improvise with a recent project. I started a quilt as a gift to my dear friend for her newly born baby just kind of piecing things together without a real thought to how it should look in the end. I'm not sure if this follows the definition of improv, but it's been fun anyway. I am looking forward to further inspiration from your work as well. :)

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  141. Never tried it, but it looks like fun!

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  142. I've tried twice, first time loved it, second time not so much, but I will try again

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  143. Never tried it, but I can give it a whack

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Welcome! I'm Elizabeth, mom to a very busy nine year old boy and a one year old baby girl and I sew for my sanity. Let's get to quilting, shall we?
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