Make a Quilt Mini-Class: Night at the Improv | Karen Burns | Skillshare

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Make a Quilt Mini-Class: Night at the Improv

teacher avatar Karen Burns, The Warped Spinster

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

4 Lessons (24m)
    • 1. Introduction & Project

    • 2. Welcome and Materials

    • 3. Cutting and Piecing

    • 4. Wrapping Up

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About This Class

In this class you'll learn how to piece blocks for Warped Spinster's "Night at the Improv" quilt.  This is a mini-class, or a 'Just the blocks, Ma'am" class; you'll learn just how to piece the blocks.  The provided pattern or the Spinster's other "Make a Quilt" classes on Skillshare will assist beginner quilters with how to arrange and sew blocks together into a quilt top.

Class resources include a pdf of the pattern, which includes all the information you need to make the quilt, and a worksheet to assist in figuring the amount of fabric needed if you choose to make a quilt that is a different size than that of the pattern:  30 blocks, 60" x 72"

Meet Your Teacher

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Karen Burns

The Warped Spinster


Hello, and welcome!  I'm Karen, and I'm glad you're here.

I've been making quilts for nearly 50 years, and have been teaching quilting and designing quilts for several years.    In the past year I embarked on designing fabric--because what quilter doesn't love fabric?

I retired from the library world six years ago, and since then have spent more time teaching and designing, and pursuing other interests:  reading, researching history, spinning (fiber) and weaving (hence the Warped Spinster name), knitting, etc., etc.   Basically, I love fiber.

And chocolate. 

See full profile

Related Skills

Crafts Lifestyle Quilting Sewing

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1. Introduction & Project: Hi everyone. I'm Karen, aka the work spinster. Welcome to annihilate the improv. This is one of my favorite designs because the blocks are so fun, easy, and quick to make. They are based on ten inch squares, which you can cut from your own stash from fabric that you purchase door, of course, you can use one of those wonderful 10 inch square collections that are available to us. Now. I've used critiques here, but you can use any fabric and get a completely different mood depending on what you use for demos for the class, I'm going to be using a collection from Kim rebel. And I'll also show you, show you a few examples of blocks for a version that I'm making that uses just Bella solids and bright colors for a more modern look. In addition to the ten inch squares, you will need two more fabrics. One of them is in the pattern called accent 1. It's the bay here and it's basically it forms the background. Then the second fabric is accent too, which forms the strips that are inserted pretty randomly within each of the blocks. And you'll notice that they're all different. And that's one of the fun things about this is there's no instruction to cut it four inches from this edge and another 12 inches from that. It's just make a slice wherever your heart wants to make that slice. It. Each block is different. And because of the way they are pieced in oriented, when you put them together, you sort of lose the block within it and it looks like they're just all are sort of melted together. And I really love that. This is a pretty good quote for beginners, I think because you don't have to match up, seems here. It's one of the beauties of this in one of the reasons it's a little fast and a lot of fun. I think. So. Good quote for beginners or for experienced co-workers who just want to have some fun with quilting. Your project for this class will be to make at least one of these blocks. Of course, I would love to see you make more than that. As many as four quilt of whatever size you decide you want to make truthfully once you make one of these blocks, I think you want to make more. I hope you'll join me for the class. Let's get together and have some fun cruelty. See you soon. 2. Welcome and Materials: Hello everyone. Welcome to At night at the improv. Here is our quilt and I wanted to show you what one block is. Since in this mini class we're talking about how to make a block. We'll talk a little bit about how to figure how much you need for whatever size quote you want. But as I said, we will not be covering how I arrange blocks, organized them, sew them together, et cetera. If you want to review some of that, then you can go to one of my other classes on Skillshare, lots for you to choose if you want to review that whole process. All right, so one block here is right here. And it includes this is going to be hard to see. Let me pull out another set that I'm doing here. I decided I wanted to do some kind of a modern flair. So here's one block. And you basically have a 10 inch square that you start with. In this case it's a teal blue. Then you have to white strips, which get cutoff. But this starts is to white strips and then to accent strips. These again started as two strips that have been sliced up. So that's what a block looks like. And just to show you some ideas for different fabrics you could use, these are just going to be all solids in a color palette that I seem to be using a lot for modern quilts. And then I'll also do a gold color and a purple. I'm not sure which purple at this point, whether it'll be a red or a blue purple, but there will be a purple. Light purple. Let's talk about materials. I have provided a copy, The United the improv pattern for you. You can find it on the resources page. It will show you all the fabric requirements, how you cut it and how you piece it. I will also cover that in the class, but sometimes people like to have it in front of them. For fabric, you will need ten inch squares. For the quote that's in the pattern, you will need 3010 inch squares, but if you want to make one larger or smaller, I'll also talk to you about how you can configure that out. But basically you need 110 inch square for every block that you want to make. Night at the Improv is five by six blocks. So you need 30. I'm probably going to make mine larger, maybe six by seven. I'm not sure. And if I did it six by seven, of course that's 42 blocks. So I would need 40 to 10 inch squares. I'm using this collection, really pretty collection by Kimberle. So I think it'll be a lot of fun. And then you need two additional fabrics in the pattern. They are called accept one and accent too. Let me show you again. Now that I've set it aside here. So in this block, this is my tenant square, of course this is Accent 1, it's sort of the background. And then this is x at t2. And that may help you to figure out which is which. It also gives you the instructions for how much you will know how many strips you need to cut of each of these. I will also be providing you a worksheet. I'll kind of talk you through it, but I'll also provide a worksheet for figuring the number of strips you'll need and therefore how much fabric you'll need of each of these for whatever size you wish to make if you're doing something other than the size of the quote in the pattern. And speaking of those accent fabrics, my accent one fabric is going to be white. And this is just a bleached muslin. And you will cut them into two-inch by width, the fabric strips. And then from those strips you are going to cut two inch by 10 inch strips. Because there are 10 inches and your fabric is 40 inches. I always figure fabric is 40 inches wide. It's the safe measurement. Sometimes you will still find fabric that's 42 to 45 wide, but it's best not to count on that. But teak often is that wide, but others are not necessarily so. So these are, you will get two sets, two blocks worth out of a with the fabric strip. So you're doing ten inches into 40 inches wide and that gives you four strips. So if you want to figure the number of strips that you'll need, it's just the number of blocks divided by 2. Again, I'll give you a worksheet for that. Then for my accent to fabric, excuse me. Allergy season, I'm using this pretty well. Threaded here, Andre fabric, and this is gelato from May would studio. And it just goes from dark gray, almost black into a lighter gray. Which means I'm going to have strips that are variegated. I guess she would say. So from this fabric accent to fabric, you are going to cut strips that are two and a quarter inches wide or long, wide by the width of the fabric. So it's two and a quarter by the width of fabric. And two and a quarter is kind of may seem like a little bit of an odd measurement, but that's how you get the block to be square in the end. All right, so those are going to be two and a quarter by what the fabric and then you are cutting those into 13 inch strips. So it's two and a quarter by 13. 13 inches will go three times into 40 with a little bit leftover, but you can't get four out of it. So you will be able to get three of these two and a quarter by 13 inch strips out of one with the fabric strip. Which means that you can get 1.5 blocks from each strip, or two blocks out of, or three blocks out of two strips. Again, put this on the worksheet so you can figure that out. Now. I get, when I cut those three, I get different gradations. So I have some that are lighter. Just needs pressing. Sorry that bothers me. I had to go press that. Right, which are lighter and then some that are darker, sort of going a little bit into the light. So I need two of these per block. And I could choose to go either with always using the light together, two lights together, or two darks together. I think I'm going to opt to go for a light and a dark together. Let's see how it goes now, obviously at some point because I, I only get one of these light strips for every two that I get these dark strips because of how the fabric is great aided. So I am going to have to, of course, at some point abandon that or have lots of strips left over. So those are the fabrics that you need as far as notions, tools, et cetera, you will want a rotary cutting mat and a rotary cutter change the blade. Always good idea. And a ruler to cut the strips, the width, the fabric strips. You are going to want a six by 24 by 24 or whatever 24 inch ruler you have. And you can continue to use that when you are cutting the, everything else. I often switch to a 6 by 12 ruler just because it's a little easier. I don't have to flip it around so much of a ruler. And particularly for demonstrating here, it's much better than having 24 inches in this limited space that I have. So if you happen to have a shorter ruler, you may wish to use that, but it isn't necessary. Then you will want an iron and an irony and service surface sewing machine. I have my 2170 handy here. Good working order. New needles, probably a good idea. And some way to measure an accurate scant quarter inch seam, which is what we'll be using throughout. You may wish to use some pins. I always recommend these clovers, super fine quilting pins and Little Glass had their very fine and very sharp. I like them a lot. Some kind of clippers to clip your threads. And I trust you won't need a seam Ripper, but if you're like me, you have one just about everywhere. All right. That's it for materials. Next step we'll talk about how to go about doing our cutting and starting to so. 3. Cutting and Piecing: Let's start making a block. I'm going to use this yellow 10-inch square. So I think it will give contrast against the grain. You'll be able to see it pretty well. The first thing I'm going to do is take one of my accent 1 strips, sort of background ones that are two inches by 10 inches. And I'm going to so one on opposite sides of my 10-inch square, which is gonna give me a long piece. Not to worry. We'll make that square and the end. So I'm going to put these right sides together, pick off any threads. And so a scant quarter inch, scant quarter inches, just a couple of thread shy of an inch. It allows for the width of the thread and the fold when you fold it back to press it. Alright, and I'm remembering that the 10 inch measurement on here is actually about in the middle of the pink edges. So I could pin it or I can just take it to the sewing machine. And I will be back when I have these sowed. I'd have so those two strips on opposite sides. And I chose to press toward the 10 inch square rather than the strip. It's sort of natural to want to press it toward the strip that you've just sewed. But because this is such light and pretty thin fabric, it would shadow through if I pressed it the other direction, even though this is a pretty light color. Anyway, this yellow, it would still Shadow through. And I know that I've got some other pieces that are quite a bit darker and brighter and those would definitely Shadow through. So rather than trimming those seams so that you can go in and then trim this part of the CMB, the darker back a little bit so that it doesn't shadow through so much. But I'm not interested in doing that. This is a fun quick buck. Don't want to do it. So now my next step is to take two of my 13 inch by two and a quarter by 13 inch x sent to fabrics. And because I know I'm going to eventually to use two darks, I'm going to go ahead and use two darks if you don't have Andre fabric and good chance you don't feel you don't have to worry about it. So just two strips, I'm going to stack them on top of each other and then I'm going to stack them on top of the piece that I just sewed and make sure that these edges are even. And I'm going to take my ruler and slice it somewhere randomly. Probably not right in the center. You could do a couple blocks that way. But each block you want to be a little bit different. So I'm going to just choose something I don't want to be too close to one edge or the other because then a lose most of that in the prod. It just isn't as good for this design. So I'm going to go about here. If you look on one of these locks here, she's getting fairly mangled in this process. This is the cut that I'm making right here. And you can see that one is nowhere near the center. So I'm going to cut this and I want to make sure that it's perpendicular to the edges here of my 10 inch square. I'm going to line up one of my perpendicular lines on the ruler with the edge, which is kinda tricky when you have a pink edge. And then I want to check to make sure that this is straight there as well. And then I'm just going to cut through all of those. And now I have one section with two. This one's pretty short and then wider section with these two pieces that match. Now what I'm going to do is slice each of those sections this direction and insert these pieces in there. And I can do that however I want. I can have these two close together and these far apart. I can have one over towards this side and these 20 over to this side. I tried to avoid having these line up because it's just not what this design is about. That's one of the beauties of this, is that you don't have to line up. Upon those seams. It's just more interesting if you have more variety. So I, I put these pieces like this, facing this orientation because that's how I'm going to cut them and I can visualize it better this way. It took me a couple of quotes to figure this out. I would just sort of randomly, I pull that aside and cut this one and then cut this one and it just didn't work for me. I am more visual than that apparently. So this is how I think I'm going to do it a couple over this way, couple over this way. I can move that aside. And now I'm just going to take the point is that I want the two sides to be sliced in different places, put it that way. So that's what I want again, I'm going to slice, and then now I'm lining up one of the lines on my ruler with the same line. So I'm sure I'm getting that straight and perpendicular, make that cut. And then this one I want to be over to this side as well. Now I'm going to leave these, spread them apart a little bit so it's clear where that slice is. And then I'm going to take this second one and make my slice. My piece has to move up here, so it's all on the board. And line these up again just so I can see. All right, I don't want to put my slices in exactly that same spots. So these, I want to be over here. I don't want one. I usually go at least two inches from an edge. If I'm getting close to the edge, make one slice, make sure I'm not slicing into the other set there. And again, I'm lining things up to make sure it's perpendicular. And then make the next slice. So now we're just going to insert these in here in both pieces. So again, I'm just going to flip right sides together, do scant quarter inch seam. And in this case I'll show you when I finish it, but I'm going to press toward these strips because when I do that, it lifts them up off the quilt a bit. And I want to have that particular dimensionality to it for the finished block. So I will be pressing toward the strips in this case. When I finished those, I'll be back. I'm back. I have pressed the seams toward the dark strips and then I don't know if you can see it very well on video, but it, it lifts that up off the surface a little bit and I like that for this design. So we have just one step left and that's to put these two sections right sides together. And so a scant quarter-inch to sell them back together. Because that's what we do. And here is our finished block. That's it. You just keep making those blocks and putting them together and you'll have a quote. There's one thing that I do want to show you about laying these out, these blocks out and arranging them. And that is that you want to pull these out again. You want to alternate the direction. You want to rotate it 90 degrees for every other blocks so that you are never lining up these white strips or your background strips. Strips, you want to call them. But you've always got every other one is rotated 90 degrees. So you're just doing an alternate set. And this way you can see that you're never having to match. Seems. Although occasionally I suppose this scene might match up with that one, but that's going to be pretty rare. Again, that's one of the beauties of this as you don't have to be lining up those seams. So that's it. You just do as many rows and columns of it as you want. I did do a couple of from this collection off-screen, off camera. So here's another, here's a peak polka dot, which I would then put together this way. This is what allows you to kind of lose the edges of the block and they all seem to sort of blend in with each other. Here's a green one. I need to deal with the pressing and list some flatter or best press here. So I've got three blocks finished so far. Think it's going to be a lot of fun. You can see on these I have one accent to strip that was a lighter gray and one that was a darker gray, but that's going to vary throughout the quilt and that's all right as well. 4. Wrapping Up: That's it for this night of the improv mini class. I hope you enjoyed it. I enjoy making these blocks, and I enjoyed doing these classes and videos. So I'm so happy that you've joined me. Remember your class project is to make at least one of these blocks. I would love for you to make more than that, of course, an entire quote top, they are quick enough and easy enough. I think you'll find that you can do that without much trouble. Thanks again for joining me. I will hopefully see you in the next class. Be happy, be healthy. Be quoting, he's out. Diffusion.