Improvisational Piecing Workshop with Malka Dubrawsky

Boy did I have a good day yesterday. After a few months of anticipation, I attended the Improvisational Piecing Workshop with Malka Dubrawsky at the CREATE Mixed Media Retreat. It was 8 kid-free hours where I got to sew all day, learn from a talented artist who has been inspiring me ever since I started quilting, meet Lee for the first time in person, and be with an entire classroom of fun ladies! I’m not sure how I ended up so lucky!

Malka brought several awesome class samples, including the photo above. Speaking of class samples, she brought in her new fabric line that is going to be available through Moda early next year and it is amazing. Start saving your pennies people, because you will not be able to pass it by.

Here is Malka explaining our class project to us. We made nine log cabin blocks, warm colors on two sides and cool colors on two sides. We didn’t use rulers and even the use of the rotary cutter was pretty loose. But I did learn that there are actual “rules” being followed on these pieces that seem to magically come together with no planning. (Such as use of warm and cool fabrics in certain places.) And those deliberate “rules” are what makes the projects work so well.

This is the wonderful Lee of Freshly Pieced! Hi Lee! I had a great time sitting next to her all day, she is so nice. 🙂 I will see her again in October in Salt Lake City at the Sewing Summit.

These are my blocks coming together – the first four. Notice how the cool color sides are all meeting in the middle. That’s the planning portion of the project.

Malka also did a quick demo of how to make improvisational string blocks. No paper piecing, just eyeballing it. I am definitely going to try this.

This made me laugh – my blocks are on the left and Lee’s blocks are on the right. Think we have the same taste and fabric stash? LOL Isn’t the hotel conference center carpet nice?

All the ladies hard at work!

Yep, I got a photo with Malka! She was such a wonderful instructor and genuine nice person, I would definitely take a class with her again. Maybe we can talk her into coming here and doing a fabric dying workshop?

And here is my final product! I really love it. I showed it to my 4 year old and she said “I love the pink and purple! Why isn’t it big? Where’s the edge?” (binding) Well, she is starting to pick up the details of quilt construction so I was a bit proud of her comments. She *really* wants it so I am considering making more blocks and then giving it to her.

Overall, it was a fantastic day!



  1. Reply

    Jodi at Tickle & Hide!

    August 26, 2011

    Oh, sounds heavenly. I can’t wait till my youngest is old enough to leave her for the day for a sewing retreat. (Poor thing!)

  2. Reply


    August 26, 2011

    This looks like fun! I love the fabrics and pop of color, too!

  3. Reply


    August 26, 2011

    Hi! You must have had wonderful time! Your work looks impressive and I can understand why your daughter would love to have a big quilt like that!

  4. Reply


    August 26, 2011

    oh, how fun! I’d love to take a class with Malka ~ guess her book will have to do for now.
    Love your quilt too, so colorful and wonderful!

  5. Reply

    Jennifer @ Ellison Lane Quitls

    August 26, 2011

    Oh such fun! What a great day and so fun you got to meet Lee too. Can’t wait to meet both of you at the SS.
    Great quilt too- your daughter is right to have dibs!

  6. Reply


    August 26, 2011

    Great post! I am super jealous — sounds like a great way to spend the day. Your (beginnings of a) quilt look fantastic!!

  7. Reply


    August 26, 2011

    Log cabins are so fun I need to do some more!! Very interesting— the cool/warm color combination!

    I bet your daughter is very PROUD of her mommy!

  8. Reply


    August 26, 2011

    oh wow, that looks like great fun!!

  9. Reply


    August 26, 2011

    EEEE! That is so awesome! I really wish I had been able to make the trip down, it looks like you guys had a blast! Love your blocks! 🙂

    • Reply


      August 26, 2011

      Jeni – Lee and I were talking about you and how your color expertise would have been a great fit with the class. 🙂

  10. Reply


    August 26, 2011

    Looks like fun and your project is adorable!

  11. Reply


    August 26, 2011

    I had such a great time, Faith! What a great way to spend the day —and it’s just making me that much more excited about the Summit. : ) Your top looks awesome, I wish I would have finished mine!

  12. Reply

    Jen Latourette

    August 26, 2011

    sounds like you gals had a wonderful day of cutting, sewing and creating. I live in Aurora,IL and heard about Malka’s workshop just 3 days ago. (Where have I been?) Anway, I will hopefully be able to attend next year. Sounds like there are a few people who live in the Chicago area. Wouldn’t it be fun to do a sewing workshop sometime, just a few hours hanging out and sewing quilts?
    Anway, I look forward to meeting you at the sewing Summit! 🙂

  13. Reply

    Rachel at Stitched in Color

    August 26, 2011

    Gah, what a great time!!! I’m looking forward to meeting you both in SLC!

  14. Reply


    August 26, 2011

    oh i wish i could have gone. lucky you. looks like you had a wonderful time
    your wee cabins look fab

  15. Reply


    August 26, 2011

    It looks and sounds like you had a great time!

    Your daughter deserves a bigger quilt for her encouragement!

  16. Reply

    Liz Tius

    August 26, 2011

    I love your colors and the mini quilt you made. I think, scratch that, know that had I been there my colors would have been the same also.

  17. Reply

    kate @ swimbikequilt

    August 27, 2011

    Ooh, love your blocks! Loved reading about the improv class. I have always wondered what, exactly, you would learn in an improv class. I will have to try the string blocks! 🙂

  18. Reply


    August 28, 2011

    Oh, I envy you a lot! It looks like you had a great time. I would love to meet Malka one day!
    And the result… fantastic!

  19. Reply


    August 28, 2011

    super fun and always nice to meet the online friends that you admire.

  20. Reply


    August 30, 2011

    She has a fabric line coming out?!?! That is worth saving up for, to be sure! What a great day you had – what an opportunity! I am going to Summit too and can’t wait!


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