Improv ala Sherri Lynn Wood

Improv ala Sherri Lynn Wood : Fresh Lemons Quilts

I’ve managed to find a bit of free time over the last week (why is Summer always busier than I anticipate?), and I used it to finally crack into Sherri Lynn Wood’s Improv Handbook. It seems like forever ago that I was relaxing at the pool flipping through this book after QuiltCon…only 4 months though.

The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters: A Guide to Creating, Quilting, and Living Courageously by Sherri Lynn Wood : Fresh Lemons Quilts

The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters is on my all-time-favorite-most-beautifully-photographed-books list. There is just so much content (174 pages!) and fuel for creativity in here. I’ll be honest, I’m a picture person and I usually don’t read everything in a quilting book. But I sat down with this one and it’s been so interesting. I actually keep it on my coffee table!

The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters: A Guide to Creating, Quilting, and Living Courageously by Sherri Lynn Wood : Fresh Lemons Quilts

I knew the first project I wanted to try to tackle in this book was one of the curve quilts. I went through a bit of color-paralysis but decided on some monochromatic segments. Mostly solids with a few coordinating, low volume prints mixed in.

Improv ala Sherri Lynn Wood : Fresh Lemons Quilts

It was a somewhat messy, but totally freeing process. VERY fun. It did not take too many hours to finish these segments.

Improv ala Sherri Lynn Wood : Fresh Lemons Quilts

I need to make more. Should I add more colors? Stick with this palette? Now is when I begin to over think it. I’m a bit nervous about how it’s all going to go together, but the instructions have over 10 pictures so I think it should go well. I’ll share more as I create!

+++ Update! +++

There are a couple supplemental resources for those of you working with this awesome book. First, the Test Quilt Galleries ~ 165 quilts made by testers during the book writing process. Amazing!

Second, the Improv Handbook Facebook page. This is a space where Sherri Lynn Wood and other quilters actively share their process.

I hope you are inspired!

For Keeps: Meaningful Patchwork for Everyday Living

For Keeps : Meaningful Patchwork for Everyday Living by Amy Gibson : Fresh Lemons Quilts

A few weeks ago, I received Amy Gibson’s new book in the mail, For Keeps: Meaningful Patchwork for Everyday Living. You might know Amy from her blog Stitchery Dickory Dock or maybe her Craftsy classes. I’m not entirely sure when we first met, but I’m guessing we go back to Sewing Summit I or II. It’s been fun to get to know her and watch her accomplish so many things, including writing a book!

For Keeps : Meaningful Patchwork for Everyday Living by Amy Gibson : Fresh Lemons Quilts

For Keeps is a beautifully photographed quilting book divided into 3 main sections: A Patchwork Primer, Memory Makers and Memory Keepers. The first section, A Patchwork Primer, is a 28 page crash course in quilting. Amy covers everything from supplies to piecing, binding to appliqué, quilting to foundation paper piecing, and finally quilt finishing.

For Keeps : Meaningful Patchwork for Everyday Living by Amy Gibson : Fresh Lemons Quilts

There are a ton of a photos. This is great for visual learners like me.

For Keeps : Meaningful Patchwork for Everyday Living by Amy Gibson : Fresh Lemons Quilts

The second section, Memory Makers, is full of projects that focus on spending quality time with your loved ones.

For Keeps : Meaningful Patchwork for Everyday Living by Amy Gibson : Fresh Lemons Quilts

There are nine different patterns, including cuddle quilts, picnic quilts, playmats, and story book holders.

For Keeps : Meaningful Patchwork for Everyday Living by Amy Gibson : Fresh Lemons Quilts

The third section, Memory Keepers, are projects associated with preserving memories. The seven projects include a new spin on a family tree quilt, a silhouette project, and a photo quilt.

For Keeps : Meaningful Patchwork for Everyday Living by Amy Gibson : Fresh Lemons Quilts

Amy has a great For Keeps website with some fun extras for you. She is encouraging all of us to take some time to think about why we sew and who we sew for. She has a fun “For Keeps Pledge” you can take – read more about it here!

For Keeps : Meaningful Patchwork for Everyday Living by Amy Gibson : Fresh Lemons Quilts

Amy also has a free pattern for a quilt block on her site – for you to make for yourself and/or for a community charity quilt.

I hope you are inspired to check out For Keeps, as well as visit Amy’s website and learn more about the “For Keeps Pledge“.

Four Square ~ A Finished Quilt and Pattern

Four Square Quilt : Fresh Lemons Quilts

My Four Square quilt is finished, and the rain stopped for a short break on Tuesday to allow me a photo opportunity! I shared some in progress photos of these blocks as I was planning and stitching – here and here. As I mentioned earlier, this quilt was inspired by a shirt I bought this Spring at JCrew. What can I say, all inspiration can’t come from art and architecture. 😉

Four Square Quilt : Fresh Lemons Quilts

I really enjoyed working with what I would call a more “mature” color palette on this quilt. Most of the focal fabrics are from various Carolyn Friendlander collections, with some Cotton + Steel basics and other fabrics from my stash mixed in. The background is a muted white on white (maybe even like a faint foggy color?) print from Cotton + Steel. I’m having fun lately using non solids for the backgrounds, especially when there is more background than focal print in the pattern.

Four Square Quilt : Fresh Lemons Quilts

The Four Square quilt is lap sized, measuring 58″ x 68″. It has a modern, minimalistic design. I selected the same fabric for all four squares in each block, but I think it would look equally nice as a completely scrappy quilt. The background could also be scrappy, maybe low volume prints? Or a dark background with light squares?

Four Square Quilt : Fresh Lemons Quilts

For the backing and the binding, I used a print from Rashida Coleman-Hale’s Mochi collection called Dottie’s Cousin. The backing is teal and the binding is mint.

Four Square Quilt : Fresh Lemons Quilts

I quilted it with diagonal lines. In one direction, they are spaced about every 1/2″. In the other direction, they are just 1/4″ on each side of the outer edges of the four square prints.

Four Square Quilt : Fresh Lemons Quilts

For those interested in the pattern, it is available in my shop here on my blog, as well as my Etsy shop (for EU customers). I’m suggesting it’s appropriate for advanced beginners, only because it is really important to stitch with a consistent 1/4″ seam. If you’ve made a few quilts (or anything with a sewing machine where a nice consistent seam is important), you will not have trouble making this quilt.

Four Square is already washed up and nice and crinkly, draped over the couch in my sewing room. I hope you will share photos if you make one of your own!

Star Bunting Tutorial

Star Bunting Tutorial by Fresh Lemons Quilts for BERNINA's We All Sew

The 4th of July is one of the most popular holidays in our family. It may have something to do with the heat finally arriving in Chicago, our annual trip to northern Michigan or the anticipation of watching small town fireworks over the lake. Last year at BERNINA’s We All Sew blog, I shared directions to make my Summer Sparkler Quilt. This year I’m continuing the tradition of decorating for the holiday, with instructions to make your very own 4th of July Star Bunting.

This tutorial is easy to whip up, scrap friendly, and will add an extra pop to your holiday celebrations! Or change the colors and use for birthdays and other special events. Just click on over to BERNINA’s We All Sew blog and make one of your own.