Here we are again! 

While waiting for our new challenge, we found that someone of you discovered our first game and decided to try it! What a wonderful idea, our games are on our site and they can always be played! 

By the way… this is the moment to present our new game!

After many shades of orange and blue, we thought to play with something drastic, with a high graphic visual impact: black and white. We know this is a combination that one may love or hate, but this is what we want to do here: to stop and to think how to go beyond our usual comfort zones, to try something new or to improve our skills.

So many are the possibilities, that there will not be rules limiting the design elements to be used: you will be free to choose your improvisation area! Sewing in black and white is a great occasion to focus on mark making, to experiment with rhythm, and to think about composition. We suggest trying many different layouts on your design wall and to take several pictures that you can post on Instagram to continue in our intent of sharing and exchange.

We want you to know that we introduced a difference compared to the other games. It concerns the size of the quilt: it will have a constraint only for the minimum (you can participate with a square mini quilt of 24”x24”), but the maximum will be open to your choice: a new feature that allows different purposes for the final work!

As for the previous game, some rules will be chosen together with quilters interested to participate. In the next days two polls will be published in the Instagram stories of @quiltimprovstudio profile: stay tuned, and express your preference soon to decide how to create your challenge!

To conclude, here below you can find some links to start looking for inspiration:

  • Giovanna has collected examples of black and white improv quilts in her Pinterest board at this link: 
  • If you don’t have a Pinterest account, some selected sources are collected here below:

We think this video-tutorial by Rebecca Bryan on improvised curves and shapes is very interesting, because she uses black and white fabric underlining the construction of the shapes:


After the polls, you will find all the related info on our dedicated challenge page .

Enjoy, stay safe and sew with us!


Giovanna, Carla and Paola


You know that our virtual “studio” wants to be a meeting place to learn or to practice together, by sharing our personal experiences. Thus, we asked a few questions to the first participants of the Blue Improv Repetition challenge, who surprised us by finishing the game in a very short time.

The questions we asked are focused on the various stages of production and on personal preferences of the creative process. We started with the choice of the palette: having a color already defined, how did you decide to add the others?

@quilter_man58 started with a precise idea of ​​what he wanted to realize: “distant galaxies”. Thus, he was guided by the title and he chose the colors present in the universe: yellow, red, orange, white and black, all present in the planets, in the sun, in the Milky Way..

@patchbri pulled out all the blues she had, and she was amazed by how many they were!

@silviafic8 immediately thought of the yellow fabric she wanted to use. It was a little piece of yellow she was saving for something special, because she likes it so much”

@blabshandgemacht, who currently lives in a country far from her own, had a limited amount of fabric with her, so she used the scraps she had decided to bring with her last summer: everything she had in blue, her favorite color. That, together with ripped shirts and leftovers from other projects, made a nice selection of blues for this little quilt.

@morphea80 doesn’t use blue very often in her quilting projects. But blue it had to be this time. Luckily she had some greyish blue in her stash. She added some green, dark red, yellow and white to it, just because this color combination reminded her of a crisp sunny autumn day.

@nensipamela said that blue and its derivatives inspire her a lot in this period: even if it is not her first color choice (she likes more purple derivatives), nevertheless she has accumulated a series of fabrics in shades of blue and teal that were just waiting to come out of their box. So it was easy for her to draw on these colors, perhaps a bit randomly, but trying to make a mix that is pleasing to the eye.

@aquilterstable chose her palette based on her exploration of “Classic Blue”: the 2020 Pantone Color of the Year! She described this idea well in an article on her blog (you can find it at this link ). Even if she considered adding other colors, she decided to stick with shades of blue, from lighter to darker than the Classic Blue.

The blue palette has always been one of @mariurbezg’s favourites. So, when she saw that the new game would be around blue fabrics, she decided immediately to participate, but she needed another colour to give more light to the quilt. She choose a bright fuchsia for that. 

From these first answers we already understand the variety and freedom that improv patchwork allows: you can use your favorite colors, work with what you have available by adding fabrics not strictly made to become a quilt, and you can also invent an unconventional blue.

The second parameter of the challenge was to use a shape of own choice, repeating and modifying it as desired. Also in this case we can proceed in different ways, let’s find out how our friends have designed their work in this context: you will see how varied are the ways for each one to construct their own vision!

@quilter_man58, for the shape choice, took inspiration from the stars and from all the shapes present in the cosmos, with their own deformations due to explosions, collisions and mergers.

@patchbri started sketching, and so she came up with the letter A, the initial of the names of her grandchildren. She continued doing more of it, until she achieved what she wanted to accomplish.

@silviafic8 first decided that the shape to be repeated was the stripe. When deciding on the layout, she thought that placing them horizontally or vertically would be obvious, so she stitched them diagonally. Her composition resulted from making 4 blocks in the same way.

@blabshandgemacht once saw a very geometrical pattern in the background of a video. Inspired by that, she sketched a few patterns out of her mind, so that it could work for a quilt in the future. It happened to be rectangles, only in many different sizes. And this work matched the criteria of the game. 

@morphea80 told us that, since some of the fabrics were already cut in strips, she decided to use this form to play with. As always, when sewing improv, she didn’t have a plan: her choice was rather focused on the technique to work with. Here she started with two bigger pieces of fabrics sewn together with a strip of different color. Then she cut this block once, turned around one piece by 180 degrees and joined both pieces, again with a contrasting strip in between. She repeated this process a couple of times.

For @nensipamela the choice of the shape to be repeated was the most difficult part. A lot of them came into her mind, but by the time she went to the cutting mat, none of them helped her. She started cutting and assembling, initially forming small blocks which she cut several times. The blocks that came out became the shape to be repeated. The repetition process was also an improv process… at a certain point the piece seemed finished to her, and so she finished her quilt.

@aquilterstable loves improvisational stripes: she was inspired to use them again after finishing her recent “Vista Toscana.” She continued to explore the concept of stripes ‘wrapping around’ another segment of stripes. She repeated the wrapping concept multiple times while playing with different scales.

@mariurbezg started playing with curves: she always loves them. She decided that she should work with ellipses, even if her first idea was for circles. In the end she was very happy with this change.

The last question was aimed at knowing the preferences on the various stages of creating a quilt. Even if it’s a hobby, or a job for someone, it’s not always fun. There are things we love to do and to enjoy, or to relax with, and others we would like to avoid. Let’s see what they replied about it:

@quilter_man58 has no moments he loves less in the creative process, but the ones he appreciates because they gratify him most, are the construction of the shapes and the quilting.

For @patchbri it is always difficult to find what to do, where to start, and how to interpret the starting points. Once she’ve found this, it’s relatively easy to get on with the work.

@silviafic8 mainly likes to imagine, to think how the result could be, after choosing the fabrics. She likes to do improv patchwork, but she also thinks about the meaning to give to her work. In reality, it may happen that in the implementation phase there is something different than the initial idea. What she loves less is cutting and sewing fabrics.

@blabshandgemacht really enjoys going through her fabrics and choosing the colors, especially how they are nicely playing together. She did not like the size of the quilt since she didn’t see the functionality of such a small piece. This is why she called it “UND NUN” (and now) because she doesn’t know what to use it for, other than looking at it (but enjoying it).

For @nensipamela the favorite part of the creative process is choosing the palette. Usually she starts from a color that inspires her in that moment, and from which she would like to be surrounded. In recent years she has been lucky to have visited some Nordic countries, which are influencing her, and transporting her towards a choice of cold and bright colors. The part she feels less comfortable with in the creative process is being able to match the chosen color to a shape that can enhance it.

Figuring it out the result, as long as she goes on, is especially fun for @aquilterstable: the “building” part of the process is her preferred part. Sometimes she gets ‘stuck’ in the process, and she struggles with that, thinking about the possibilities for days. But in the end that struggle leads her forward.

Quilting always plays a particular role in the overall work: and we are all different about it. See below!

@morphea80 told us that the part she likes most is choosing the technique before starting to sew; and then, she loves the piecing. She doesn’t enjoy quilting that much, because she easily gets bored with it. But with a mini quilt the amount of quilting is okay!

@mariurbezg had some problems piecing the tighter curves and that was the part she enjoyed less, but at the end she could manage them. On the other hand, her favourite part was quilting. It’s always nice to work with small quilts where you have more freedom to select a complicated pattern for the quilting. 

Blue Improv repetition continues, and you can send pictures of your works until January 10th, 2021. A nice way to spend the coming Season holidays at home!

We want to conclude by saying thanks to our friends who have already finished their quilt, for the availability in answering our questions, thus helping us to get to know each other, to grow as a group. A spontaneous, free and open group, united by the same passion, the desire to try, to get involved. Even if we are in a particular period, which increases distances, it seems precious to us to have opportunities to share these little moments, even if only in virtual mode.

See you soon!

Giovanna, Carla and Paola.


The theme of repetition reminded me of a neat quilt. With variations in color and block sizes that help give liveliness to a static pattern. What can happen in the improv patchwork since there are no precise measurements or perfect cuts to use?

Deformation, similitude takes over, but not equality (which is unlikely to be done freehand). Color repetition can help, but if color is not used systematically in the various blocks what will be the result? These are the first considerations and questions I asked myself before starting the Blue Improv repetition game. I decided that I would try to make an “improv” quilt without intention, helping me with an additional parameter ( in addition to those given by color and shape) namely: time limit, trying to work quickly, acting on instinct without a predefined initial idea. This is something unusual for me as I usually make decisions step by step and take a lot of time especially when defining the composition on the design wall. But since it’s a game, let’s play and experiment.


I then chose the palette and the basic shape, the rectangle. In short succession I cut some strips, sewn, assembled, cut out and in a short time I finished my top. Only there I stopped to look at it, to see the result in its entirety. The final step was to choose a title.  (Paola told us her adventures with titles in an article  in this blog.)

Why give a title? To identify him? To give meaning? Both I would say. So when you have a clear idea to convey, it’s usually a pretty easy job. But in this specific case, when you start without initial ideas, how can you choose a title? When you look at an image, instinctively, the brain tries to recognize a “something”, a known form, or that in some way can be associated with a definable thing. The first thing that came to mind was a nice Scottish tartan fabric so “Improv tartan” seemed to be a fitting title. But I was not satisfied with the first impression and I also wanted to ask my husband and my children. The question was: what is it? What does it bring to your mind? I felt a bit like the Little Prince’s aviator when as a child he showed the drawing of the boa that had eaten the elephant and adults mistake it for a hat. The answers were: a hashtag, a video game, a cage. Interesting I would say! Everyone has elaborated the image in his own way, based on knowledge, experience, preferences. Perception, psychology, neurology blend together and transmit a different result for each of us, prompted by something that was born by chance and does not actually have a precise meaning. I find it fascinating! Who knows what answers I would have by asking more people? So, in addition to the fact that I stumbled upon a topic to investigate, neuroscience, I found the title for my quilt: “Perceptions”

I could have used the famous: “Untitled”, but I don’t like it, it leaves a void and creates a kind of detachment between the author and the viewer even if it can always be a way of saying: “you choose, it’s what you think!” Happy sewing to you!

As you probably know, one of our goals is to have fun together while improving some skills, technique or ability, to create a personal style and to reunite improv quilters that want to participate in these initiatives.  During one of our recent virtual meetings we started to talk about “shapes” and “repetition” (Paola loves to use repetition in her quilts, Carla wrote a lively article about the magic of the kaleidoscope that changes shapes every moment). Hence the idea for the second Quilt Improv Studio game. What about playing with a shape? Rotating, enlarging and reducing it? Or any other idea you can think of, with your selected shape. Repetition is an element of design, a recurring feature in many forms of art, in photography and in both traditional and modern patchwork. It is used to give a rhythm, and it is a way to create unity. How will we use it in improv quilting? There are many possibilities to express our creativity and we hope you will play with us also this time!

Now that you know that the focus of our new game will be: “Improv repetition” you can start to think about it; in the next few days we will propose to you some polls on our Instagram stories in order to decide together other aspects of the game (yes, we like to do things in a collaborative mode).
Thus… look at @quiltimprovstudio IG “stories”: polls will be published there starting from October 1st.  

The game shall not have many rules: you will find them on our site once the polls are finished. You know that what we like (and has also been appreciated by the previous participants) is the fact that we share our pictures and thoughts while working. Remember that you can do your mini quilt following your own rhythm and feeling free to make posts when you want.

Curiosity, study and research are the base of the knowledge development, so we collected some articles on the subject that we are happy to share with you. You can also look at your books, magazines or other sources and let us know!

Be ready, fun is starting soon!

link: visual communicaton design-principle-of-repetition-pattern

link: the quilt show-design-to-quilt-principles-of-design-pattern-repetition week 35

link: the quilt show-design-to-quilt-principles-of-design-pattern-repetition-week-36  

link: Sherri Lynn Wood blog-Repetition, Improv, and Trance Quilt Making 

Our first challenge is going to finish in a few days. This is the right time to stop and to think about it, before we start another one. 

In April we decided to launch a game about color and to post all the works on Instagram, hence the idea of involving anyone who wanted to join us: quilters from every part of the world accepted our invitation to play with us. It was a big pleasant surprise!  

Many of them expressed their enthusiasm for this initiative, experienced in a moment of closure. We believe that people appreciated the “social” aspect and the chance to focus their mind on a personal project to carry on. We are really happy about this!

Looking more at the practical side, we decided to propose some questions to quilters who have already finished their work within September 15th  to pursue our community sharing intent. Questions were about what they liked about this game, what they think to have learnt and how they have overcome the difficulties while working. We have collected the replies, you can read them below.

This occasion prompted some of the participants to make their first try with improv.

Adriana Pereira @drikartesatelie from Brazil told us how it was her start: “I went in search of my orange hand dyed fabrics and other commercial fabrics, to construct the improvisation palette. After that, I spent about 15 days just looking at those beautiful fabrics and thinking: I’ll spoil fabrics because nothing will come out!!! But I thought, if I don’t start, I won’t know I can ever do it: I was really scared! I confess that the first cut and seams are there in my patchwork box, but then I found myself full of so many ideas and small blocks done, that it was difficult to choose what to use in the challenge. When I started to put blocks on the wall, choosing the position and taking pictures, there were many photos: for mathematicians, an almost infinite progression!!!! In August 2020 I finished my orange summer challenge. Wonderful and enriching experience with modern and improv quilting.”
Marta Vázquez Urbez @vazquezurbez, Spanish from Oman, said: “this has been an incredible opportunity to try something new. I’m completely sure that I’m going to use this technique in future works.”
Bagarus Magdi @bagarusmag from Hungary replied: “It felt good to play together, I enjoyed the unrestricted freedom of improv quilting, learning from the group. I painted materials, I planned what theme I would choose for the colors, I watched the work of the quilters of different nations and I made my first improv quilt.”

We created on-line improv games as a positive reaction to the mandatory distancing period, and we’re glad to hear that this approach resonated also with the participants’ minds!

María Paz Avalos @sakura.quilting from Chile said: “In my case, most of the time, patchwork and quilting are very lonely activities. But in occasions like this challenge, I felt part of a group. I needed this feeling because of the world situation; the quarantine and other restrictions have imposed a severe distance, but our art has made us stay close. I think that the quilters that participated in the challenge were all motivated and felt very welcome. The community was warm and positive.”
According to Brigitte Rossetti @patchbri from Switzerland, “it was a beautiful experience to do something together with people you don’t know. I like challenges. It was also a good way to spend time during this pandemic!”

The international and social aspect of the experience popped out from the comments of many quilters.

Melanie Rudy @melanie_rudy_art from Canada said: “It was amazing to connect with all the wonderful participants from all over the world. I joined the group thinking it was a local organization from Canada and it originated from Italy. Such a surprise! This experience had to do with making lovely friendships. The participants were so talented and interested in each other’s work.”

For Carolyn McKibbin @quiltygardener from the USA, “it just seemed like a fun, casual group of quilters with open minds. Willing to be vulnerable, to accept feedback and to offer constructive feedback. All the quilters had a passion for improv and such different personal styles. I liked the step-by-step progress photos starting at the fabric pull. This way I could really see how each quilter honed an idea and made adjustments. It was like taking an improv quilting class! The small quilt size meant it was something I could complete in a week or two without a major long-term commitment. I also love the color orange, as well as Italian people in general.”

Chiara Cingano @therollingcat from Italy said: “I usually don’t take part in Challenges or Quilt Alongs or that kind of thing, mostly because of time constraints and also because I like to make my own choices. This time it was different: the rules were few and clear and this meant that we had in fact A LOT of freedom!”

Everybody used the same colors, and still, @vazquezurbez  noted that “even if the palette was only orange, the final works were so different!!! The best part has been seeing how other people work and create their quilts. This experience has been very useful to meet other quilters, and in particular to share it with my mother Maribel  @mariurbezg, who prepared these comments with me, since she joined the challenge too, from Spain, despite the distance between the two of us!”

The replies of the participants concerning their efforts, provide tips that can be useful for all of us:

@melanie_rudy_art suggested, in case of difficulties, to “just keep trying. Use a good iron. Use the starch called Flatter when things seem off. Take a break for a day or two and on second look it isn’t usually a problem. Remember that there will be another layer of quilting to add to the canvas. Enjoy the process!”

Andrea @morphea80 from Germany made a notice on constraints: “I particularly enjoyed the opportunity to work at my own pace. I also liked the fact that there were only a few specifications such as color theme and size. There were no difficulties during improvisation, because I understand improvisation to be a playground without any rules besides those I make up myself. This way I’m free to go wherever even the difficulties will carry me.”

@patchbri feels that “it’s not difficult, when you add one piece after the other. If the result seems too odd, you can still correct it!”

Enza Pizzolotto @pizzolottoenza from Italy uses the following strategy to find adjustments: “When I encounter some difficulties, or when I feel that I don’t like the work done, I stop and I take a break doing something different. Sometimes I wake up in the night, and I return to my work: then, I look for something to add or to subtract from it”. 

Why not asking for a different point of view? @sakura.quilting wrote: “My husband is an engineer but has a modern artistic vision that I share. Sometimes I ask for his point of view regarding a project. Often his suggestions are part of the solution I needed.”

@marialuisama takes a break from her work when she doesn’t know how to continue: she takes a picture of the quilt and looks at it while having a coffee. Then, she comes back to work, now equipped with the “coffee suggestions!”

When @barthelregina finds some difficulties she “tries to find another way to deal with it. The good thing about improvisation is: nobody knows what I wanted to do and what I decided to change”.

Finally they shared with us what they’ve learnt:

@vazquezurbez told us: “I’m not sure if I can share a lesson from this challenge, but as a beginner in the process of improvising, sometimes I overthink about what I’m doing… next time I will try to think less and to cut more. Be free!”

@therollingcat described the following experience: “I had to be very disciplined: I learnt that it was vital to iron each and every seam, especially the very narrow ones. I quite like the result. It’s different from anything I have done so far.  It’s right there on the wall in front of my computer. So, when I look up, I see it and I go back to a strange Summer when I took up a challenge… and I survived to tell the tale!”

@pizzolottoenza underlined that “you always learn something new, when you look at the work of others, either if you like them or not.”

Last words, from @quiltygardener: “It’s okay to be vulnerable. To not be really sure if you like your work, but share it publicly anyway. Have faith, stick to your vision, and carry through with it, but be open to making improvised adjustments along the way.”

Thanks to the feedback from participants, we got confirmation that a common passion (in our case, improv quilting) facilitates development of ideas, and connects even with language differences and distanced conditions. 

The pictures of this page represent a small preview of all works done. We invite you to appreciate the gallery of all Orange Summer Challenge quilts at the following link: @quiltimprovstudio, where you will find complete info and other comments from the authors. 

Additional Orange quilts from participants that still need to complete their work, will continue to be published in @quiltimprovstudio gallery, until the start of a new game (in preparation for the next month). Because, as @therollingcat told us: “Ladies, I’m ready for the next challenge!!!” 

Thank you for joining us, adventurous quilters for adventurous projects!