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Books » Improvising Tradition

Improvising Tradition
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By using improvised elements within traditional patchwork quilt designs, this book merges new and old quilting styles into projects that will appeal to a wide range of quilters from traditional to modern. Several original and modern quilting projects combine the beauty and familiarity of traditional techniques with the fresh, fun spirit of improvised quilting.

Techniques: piecing, applique
17 projects, 136 color pgs.
Item no. 46082

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Improvising Tradition by Alexandra Ledgerwood explores the concept of improvisational quilting. The author states that “Improv quilting is a creative approach to piecing fabrics, working largely without a pattern but with an overall design goal in mind.” Decisions about fabrics and shapes are made or changed along the way to achieve the vision for the project. Improvised quilts have a pleasing randomness and some unexpected elements. The book includes 18 quilted projects to practice this spontaneous approach. Since the end result will reflect the quilter’s personal aesthetic, two quilts made from the same pattern will each be one of a kind.

For a quilter who feels more comfortable following a pattern with a known outcome, letting loose and improvising can be intimidating! What I appreciate most about Improvising Tradition are the detailed sections on three versatile improvisational techniques. The first discusses adding individual strips to make blocks or making strips sets to be sub-cut and rearranged. The second describes creating with strata – sewing pieces of varying sizes together to create a new piece of fabric, to be used for sections of quilts or backgrounds for applique. The third focuses on slice-and-insert which may include cutting a pieced section and inserting other fabric/s or layering fabrics to be slashed and rearranged. The Quilting on your Home Machine section has helpful suggestions for simple but interesting machine quilting designs.

The clever and attractive quilted projects range from small projects like coasters, place mats, table runners, pillow, and wall hangings to quilts of different sizes. The technique tutorials and practice patterns provide the foundation for a new quilting adventure. My intimidation is replaced by inspiration and a can-do attitude; I am eager to make several of the projects!