In 2021 Shannon used Art Gallery Fabrics PURE Solids in Light Citron, Lemonade, Dark Citron, Raspberry Rose, and Plum Preserve for her #30DaysofImprovQAL quilt. Image courtesy of Shannon Fraser Designs.
Hi there, Shannon of Shannon Fraser Designs and Amanda of Broadcloth Studio here! We’re back taking over the Art Gallery Fabrics blog and we’re super excited to be talking to you all about improv quilting.
Why are we so excited, you ask? Because we’re just about to kick off our second annual 30 Days of Improv QAL! We had such a wonderful time last August: it was beyond thrilling to see all the different improv blocks and quilted wall hangings pop up on Instagram during last year’s quilt along and we can’t wait to see what emerges this year.
If this is the first time you’re hearing about the quilt along (or if you need a refresher), here’s a quick recap: during the month of August, you’ll be making one block Monday-Friday to make a total of twenty-ish 5” blocks (because we all need a couple days a week to catch up or just chill out). Starting July 31st, we’ll be sending out weekly emails every Sunday, highlighting the shape of the week and providing daily prompts to explore the shape without a pattern. If you’re curious to see what this looks like in fabric-form, make sure to check out the hashtag #30DaysofImprovQAL to see all the makes from last year!
Before we dive into our fabric bins and start slicing and dicing, we thought we’d share what we’re most excited about for this year’s QAL. So, without further ado, and in reverse alphabetical order, here we go:
Shannon @shannonfraserdesigns says, “I’m so excited that Amanda and I have teamed up again to bring you another summer of improv quilting fun! As we gear up to host again, here are 3 things I’m most looking forward to in this year’s improv quilting challenge:
- Color & Fabric Play: Shocking, right?! Getting to play with a new color palette always gets me fired up! And since the first step in any improv project is picking your fabrics and colors, I think this is the perfect opportunity to have fun, try something new and set the tone for your quilt journey. I’ve been itching to cut into these colorful beauties.
- Switching up my tool of choice: last year I used a combo of both my rotary cutter and tailor’s shears, with a little heavier reliance on my rotary cutter. This year, I’m thinking about exploring my improv solely with my tailor's shears. I’m curious to see what effect that will have on the shapes I create.
- Encouraging the play: I love sharing my enthusiasm for improv quilting and encouraging you to let loose and just play. I know how scary it can be to quilt without a pattern, which is why we love leading you through this improv challenge. Seeing you have a quilty a-ha moment is just the best!”
This year, Shannon is using Art Gallery Fabrics PURE Solids in Blueberry Zest, Field of Lavender, Sweet Macadamia, Peach Sherbet, and Apricot Crepe for her #30DaysofImprovQAL quilt. Image courtesy of Shannon Fraser Designs.
Amanda @broadclothstudio adds, “ditto to everything that Shannon said! The 30 Days of Improv QAL was a highlight of my 2021 and I’m thrilled that we’re bringing it back this year. I love that while there are so many unknowns about this month-long adventure, what I do know is that I’m going to have a blast! I’m specifically looking forward to:
- Learning to love Orange: This year I’ve had an unofficial goal to try to work with purple and orange, colors that I don’t naturally gravitate towards. For the first half of the year, I challenged myself to work with purple (and umpteen purple projects later, I’m now reaching for it first). So it seemed like the perfect opportunity to spend some quality time with orange. What I love about the #30DaysOfImprovQAL is that I know I’ll be spending a whole month playing with these colors, getting to know them better, discovering what I love about them!
- Making Waves: We’ve changed up a couple of the weekly shapes this year and I can’t wait for Week 4’s Waves! Last year we tackled quarter circle curves and I had so much fun with them that I continued to explore playing with them for months afterwards. While I’ve dipped my toes into the water of waves (pun intended) before, I haven’t spent any serious time immersing myself so I’m looking forward to getting to explore them for a whole week.
- Connecting with YOU: I always love getting to hang out with quilters, so I shouldn’t have been so surprised that one of my favorite parts of last year’s QAL was trading tips with each other, cheering each other on, and being inspired by you, the fabulous community of QAL-ers! I’m always amazed by your creativity and can’t wait to see what you bring to the table this year.”
So what are you waiting for? Sign up now for our weekly emails that will guide you throughout the month of August here.
You definitely don’t want to miss out, especially because we’ve got an extra special giveaway to jumpstart this improv journey: by signing up before July 24, 2022, you’ll be entered to win a fabric bundle from our friends at Art Gallery Fabrics so go ahead and sign up now! If you sign up after July 24th, never fear: we’ve got a ton of other fun giveaways planned throughout the month of August!
And, as an extra special bonus, we’re going to be sitting down with the legendary Pat Bravo, fabric designer and co-owner of Art Gallery Fabrics, for a LIVE Zoom chat on Wednesday, July 20, 2022 at 1PM EDT (once you sign up for the QAL emails, you’ll get a link to the Zoom). We’ll be talking all about picking fabric, swapping tips and tricks, and diving into our own sources of inspiration for our improv sewing projects!
Amanda and Shannon