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Mar 27, 2017

Book: Improv Paper Piecing by Amy Friend

Mar 27, 2017
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Hi everyone.  I'm popping in today to share a review on the new book Improv Paper Piecing by Amy Friend.  Amy is an extremely talented artist and paper piecing designer.  Her work is always well planned out and very thoughtful.  I admit I was intrigued by the title of the book.  How could Improv be paper pieced?  Amy discusses this oxymoron in the introduction of her book.  She explains how elements of improv (asymmetrical shapes, acute angles, bias cuts) can be incorporated into paper pieced designs.  If you read her thoughts on this approach, it is definitely eye opening.  Paper piecing can give you an improv look - that can be repeated using the foundation templates!  It's definitely a way I've never looked at paper piecing before.
Catawampus Quilt from Improv Paper Piecing
Amy's intention in this book is to arm you with the tools to design your own improv paper pieced blocks.  She provides 10 different patterns for quilts that walk through her thought process and design interpretation.  She also leaves you inspired to branch out and try your own.  And that's exactly what I did.  I decided to give it a go.

Improv is very difficult for me.  I'm a right angles and measurement type of girl.  Paper piecing is also a bit of a struggle for me too.  My patience is limited, so sometimes paper piecing and I don't get along.  This exercise definitely pushed me.  I decided to try to add improv style to a basic block - the Friendship block from the Farmer's Wife Sampler.
FW block
I re-sketched the block in EQ7.  I made the middle stripe wonky, but still intersecting each quadrant.  Below you can see what that block would look like in a repeating grid.
I decided to make a sample and pulled a ton of green scraps.  Amy explains how to draw up your own paper piecing templates for printing multiple times to make an entire quilt.  I was able to do this quickly in EQ7.  If you like drawing your own blocks with templates/foundation units, EQ7 is really the way to go.
improv book + scraps
I ended up sewing a bit less scrappy than I originally thought.  I really like how this block came out though!  To me it looks little like those open envelope blocks.  This would look great in a quilt where each envelope is a different color.  Fun!
improv paper piecing block
Overall, I enjoyed the book.  Amy has defined a completely new approach to paper piecing and it's always fun to open doors to new creativity. Pin It


  1. Anne Marie, I love your block! I hope that you are going to keep going with the idea at some point because I think it would make an awesome quilt!

  2. This is such a neat concept. I sometimes have struggled with wonky piecing and working from paper piecing might make things easier to manage! Thanks for sharing today!


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