Monday, March 31, 2014

Thoughts on Improv : :

After spending most of March working on both my Winter's Garden and Winter Herringbone quilts to finish in planning with my week of giveaways this last week, it's now time for me to begin some new projects and to revisit some waiting to be finished!

Rapture Quilt progress!

My Rapture quilt is next in line to complete! It began as a second "Making Rows" quilt idea that has changed quite a bit from my original sketch. I so love having the freedom to dream up my pattern as I go without restraint. It's how I work best! Improvisational is the style of quilting that I most enjoy, that feels the most natural & creative to me personally, and is where I'm most comfortable within the quilting genre.

Rapture Quilt Making

I've been thinking about my approach to quilting so much lately, especially since the request for me to release a pattern or kit for each new quilt I finish has become so common. My unplanned way of making most of the quilts I do is the reason you haven't seen me release many quilt patterns these last two years. Surely that's the downside, the not being able to share more how-to's and offering patterns for sale. If I'm being open and honest today I do need to share, my hope is that even though I don't offer many chances for you to make the same quilts I make, that my creativity, my enthusiasm for producing unique quilts, for photography, and for my love of beautiful fabrics might inspire you to be more adventurous in your own artistry.

Today I would love a little feedback! What would you like to see? More pattern releases, tutorials, more of the same?

And how about you, how do you feel about Improv quilting?

91 comments:

  1. I like improve quilts, that is what makes it yours! I usually start from a pattern, or image I have seen, and almost always change something about it! Love those colors your working with!

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  2. I love your tutorials. Do what makes you happy! I have more patterns than I can ever use in my lifetime........

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  3. I like that you make one of a kind quilts. When I see a quilt picture on facebook I can usually tell right away that if it a Maureen quilt!

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    1. Well, that's wonderful to read that you recognize me having a style! Thanks for chiming in!! :)

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  4. Didn't know it had a name. Most of my quilts are improvise d .only a few have I made following a pattern and even then I change or improvise

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  5. Didn't know it had a name. Most of my quilts are improvise d .only a few have I made following a pattern and even then I change or improvise

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  6. I think you are at your most creative when you have no confines or limits.... the ability you have to take a project and let it evolve is what makes reading your blog so inspirational. I think if you had to think before you sewed or document it to a "T" it would mean for your work to become less fun and less about the creative freedom you enjoy so much. Don't change a thing! I don't want you to lose your quilting mojo!

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  7. I have done a couple of improv quiltops, I find it very difficult and stressful. I always run out of some fabric. And good fabric is so expensive that I buy what I need and no more--that doesn't work well with improv. I much more enjoy doing the quilting in an improv style--or at least in a more "organic" style--not forcing lines to be straight, etc. It looks really good, is easier (I quilt on my regular machine), faster, and less stressful.

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  8. Do what you love and don't worry about what others may or may not want. I find it rare for modern fabric lovers to demand patterns..... I liked your statement of "my creativity, my enthusiasm for producing unique quilts, for photography, and for my love of beautiful fabrics might inspire you to be more adventurous in your own artistry." That's why I look at blogs - not to copy what others are doing but I love to see and be inspired by others work.

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  9. 'creativity, enthusiasm for producing unique quilts, for photography, and love of beautiful fabrics' -that's it! That's why I so enjoy following your blog and seeing your work. I do work on the improv side about half the time.

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  10. I enjoy it most when I have lots of time and space to experiment. I can't do it in a hurry, and my sewing lair turns to shambles when I do improv!

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  11. I love to follow the differences in different journeys so encourage you to do what you're doing. I receive plenty of inspiration just seeing what you do and hearing about the process.

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  12. I love improv quilts and love to see how other's do them. What I love most about improv is that there isn't a pattern to follow and I have to think through every step. I enjoy having to think around the road blocks I encounter to complete my quilt. On the pattern side, it does help me stay strong on technique as you have to follow the pattern to make it all work together.

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  13. I am a newbie quilter and though I have patterns (already more than I will ever need) I use them only as a basis of determining approximate yardage and "how to" information on putting together the basic block. Recipes and quilt patterns ... Inspiration, not a step-by-step follow the rules procedure. I have made 4 baby quilts and 2 table toppers using all different styles and various "inspirations" and all were successful. I learned my skills, such as they are, from hundreds of hours of online tutorials and when I get in a bind, I think ... What did Mary Fons say about ... how did Eleanor Burns do that ... With skills and knowledge comes the freedom to improvise. I did my tutorial watching when I had insomnia and was working far too many hours to even consider starting a quilt, so I had head knowledge with no practical skills to back it up, but at least I know when I have made a mistake and can figure out a way to fix it. I make a lot of mistakes, but I am loving my new hobby. Just keep giving me the "inspiration" MC ... i wouldn't follow the pattern anyway! :-)

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  14. I love what you do. I think it inspires quilters to get out of the box. Making what you see in your mind is such a wonderful gift. Did you know not everyone can do this? I didn't. When I look at fabric, it starts to form something amazing in my head. I thought everyone was this way. A school teacher friend told me not everyone's mind works that way.. I just happen to come from "crafty" genes. If writing patterns or laying out a tutorial is going to interfere with your creativity, don't do it. When your passion becomes work, it makes it more of a job and less of a lifestyle. Never stop doing what you do! Thank you for taking the time to share and inspire!!

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  15. I don't follow patterns, but I do always appreciate when people share techniques and tips. I read your blog for inspiration because it's so interesting to see someone doing their own thing:-) So I agree with everyone above who said just do what you love!

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    1. I think the greatest benefit of following patterns are the skills I have learned while doing them. It's probably a good idea to start there as a newbie, to get your feet wet, and then feel the freedom to branch out into your own ideas once you have the skill set!

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  16. I also love improve quilting the best...and it seems that I love the end result as well as the process much more. I get bored making the same quilt block over and over again. I love starting with a seed of an idea and seeing what it ends up being!

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  17. I love it! The colors are perfect. The idea of improv is wonderful as it frees you to do whatever you like.

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    1. Thank you Trin! Pat Bravo's Rapture collection is one of my most favorites from this year!

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  18. I love seeing each and every quilt you make Maureen. And I love that you don't have to feel confined when making them!!! It shows in your work, and it's gorgeous.

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  19. I love seeing what you create and t often does inspire me. Obviously I would love to be able to make a few of the patterns :) But it certainly doesn't affect my enjoyment of your blog. You are one of my daily must reads!

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    1. Thank you Leigh Anne! I wish pattern writing was easier for me. Most of the patterns I have released are as free tutorials and there is nothing better to see than someone making a quilt I've designed! I think finding a balance between creating quilts that are able to be recreated and those that are one of kind is going to be something very important for me to find as I continue in this business. I appreciate your sweet support!

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  20. I love your approach to quilting! There are a gazillion patterns out there, old and new. I feel it's the inspiration that's important, and you share so much of that. I always enjoy seeing what you're making.

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  21. Improv quilting is new to me but I like it! I love seeing your pictures, I get inspiration from them and don't necessarily need kits or patterns. (maybe I do more improv than I realized!)

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  22. I love your quilts and your projects that are you inspiration. I love to look and wish I had your creativity and imagination. I try to create as I go along and it just doesn't work for me because I tend to worry too much and mine look it. I like the create as you go and you do and your quilts are always so beautiful - keep the same.

    We always love your daily dose of inspiration.

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  23. Just keep doing what you're doing If we want to make something similar to what you've made, we'll figure it out, and make it our own way!

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  24. Hello! I too love making improv quilts. I'm not at all a fan of patterns, so seeing lovely photos of your improv quilts is exactly what I'm looking for.

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  25. Wahr Jever yue do, i love it. For me it is eveytime a gold lesson :-)

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  26. There are a zillions of patterns out there. People that need or want patterns have tons of options. Keep doing what you are doing and what you love best. Your quilts are creative originals. That's what draws us to them and why we love them so much.

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  27. I love your fresh ideas and they do inspire me, even though there may not be an exact pattern. I do appreciate your tutorials though. Keep on doing what you are doing!

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  28. I love improve quilts but I find I need some sort of 'outline' to keep it from becoming a hot mess - sort of a path to a place I want to end up - it helps me have some balance. That is usually a sketch. I can't sit down and just grab some fabric and scissors and GO.

    Your dilema is so common among artisans. It is the place where art and commercial try to intersect. It's very difficult to find a good balance and satisfy both groups, either you lean more artsy and don't produce things that can be commercialized with a pattern and tutorial, or you begin to create tutorials for things, thus requiring you to reign in that free spirit. Honestly, I think there are plenty of people that can create a pattern and do a beautiful job of it and LOVE it, but there are far fewer people that can allow their inner voice to shine without restraint. You have a beautiful way with fabric, it sings in your hands. While I love tutes for techniques, I would never want a tutorial at the expense of your creativity. THAT is what I love about your work.

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  29. I love the way you create...whether it is quilts, pillows or whatever. You are amazing and I find myself looking forward to seeing what you are doing next. I read your blog almost every day. I am a relative newbie and I find that every pattern I use teaches me something new. There are no quilt shops near me so I have been learning from you and the others I follow. My guild teaches me also but I learn so much more from the internet.

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  30. Almost every quilt I do is 'improve'. I love dramatic and artistic fabrics and find that most patterns do not compliment them. Love your quilts and they are definitely an inspiration.
    lindagutierrez9@yahoo.com

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  31. I love improve quilts! They are, however, much more time consuming as processes go. When I make my handbags, I do not use patterns; I just go about slicing, sewing, and slicing again to make a quilt top for the bags. Of course that also means that I have several "quilt" tops just sitting waiting to made into handbags, lol. I do love the process. From you, I guess it would be lovely if you shared a couple "how tos" Perhaps, a design as you go quilt along??? Here's the thing, if you are in the business to make money (as well as deriving pleasure); you might want to write patterns for some of your quilts. Perhaps you may want to just make quilts and sell them. I appreciate original designed "anything". Anyhoo, I look forward to whatever you share.

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  32. I agree with your response to Catherine! I'm still too much of a newbie to be good at improv quilting , so patterns help me to learn which is why I love block of the months to help me build skills, so I love when you share tips and techniques. I don't get to sew enough to buy patterns, but love sewing. Please keep doing what you do and share when you can :0)

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  33. Okay...I just had to come back here to leave another comment regarding the improv quilt question. You have already done so much with your tutorial section. Wow! So, maybe more the same! Lol...have a lovely Monday!

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  34. I only follow a select few quilters - and like yourself they are what I consider to be the genuine article -originals. You offer me much inspiration by what you do - improv is truly artistry. I have a background in painting. I never went to another canvas to "see how", but rather let the image become part of my consciousness. So much can spring from the originals around us! Don't change a thing for me! I love your signature.

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  35. I love your improv style. It has challenged me to get out of my box and be more creative rather than just going by the pattern. You give me ideas without telling me what to do. You set my mind to thinking and creating. Don't feel that you have to be like everyone else. God made each of us different and we should enjoy and be challenged by each other.

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  36. I haven't made a improve quilt but know it's coming soon. I love the freedom and creativity and just don't like a lot of structure. If it looks like it came out of a book, it ain't mine.

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  37. I say do what makes you happy - but I'd also love to read more about your creative process - not full-on tutorials, but how you approach a project / seeing it progress and change / etc. I love the look of improv quilts (and yours are always AMAZING) but I think they can be pretty intimidating for some of us who are used to / comfortable with the order, plans, precise and formulated strategy that more traditional quilting uses. Plus, I just love seeing how others work because I learn so much from it! :)

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  38. I should explain that by saying I've never used a pattern or copied another quilt but the ones I've made so far have been structured not free flowing.

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  39. I Love tutorials and the ability to learn a new technique. I plan to try a quilt as you go project now that I've seen you explains yours :) I'm not very great at "improv", usually I like detailed instructions. But I feel like that more I see others do it and try it myself, I feel like I will grow in that area! Don't feel obligated to make patterns and such...I like what you're doing so far. And I'm a new follower ;)

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  40. I think in today's world of blogging, and the ability to comment without actually knowing the person, has given readers an unwritten approval/authority to think they can ask for anything or comment on anything. While I may not agree with everything a blogger says, I have the choice to read that blog or not read it.

    Having said that, I think you should do whatever you feel you want to do. If it's just blog about what you make then that's what you should do. If you enjoy writing patterns (and it's a financial benefit) then do that but only if it's worth it.

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  41. Do what makes you happiest! I love the privilege of watching your journeys!

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  42. I think you should just keep doing what you are doing. I love to be inspired by you and not to copy everything you do. Thank you Maureen!

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  43. Maureen I love looking at your quilts. They inspire me. I like to think of quilting out of the box and to mix it up. I also at times love the traditional. Do you always start from a sketch or do you sit down and just start putting pieces of fabric together?

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  44. I typically don't buy patterns because I can figure them out by myself from the picture, but I do like to see ideas for using up scraps. I also like to do quilt alongs if I don't have too much on my plate. I've enjoyed your work and am inspired after visiting your site! (mickey louth)

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  45. I *adore* improv quilts. I just wish I were comfortable doing it. I've taken one class and have an upcoming class (thursday!) to explore it more. Unfortunately, I'm scared oof it. Don't know why... I know it's silly.

    I'm hoping this class will give me more comfort with the process and allow me to step out of the pattern mode.

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  46. Spontaneous is so much better than being rigid in how you do things. they are much freer and open. Publish a pattern but tell people - this is how it's done but you should go off on your own.

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  47. I love reading your blog. Your quilts are amazing!

    Sure I would love patterns because I enjoy picking out fabric and sewing (designing patterns or trying to figure out measurements...isn't what I find relaxing. I would much rather purchase the pattern.)

    I love tutorials too! Your "quilt as you go" method is fabulous!

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  48. although tutorials and technical "tips" are helpful and appreciated, I mostly read blogs for inspiration.

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  49. Never having followed a pattern I'm not sure how that works. I've never cut all the fabric ahead of time either-"go and cut as I go" kind of style. I'll reshape the top to match a backing before I'll purchase a new one for a quilt too. I use recycled fleece blankets, thrifted sheets and tablecloths for backing rather than buy fabric specifically for that purpose.

    Your blog inspires me and encourages me to keep doing what makes me happiest. Thank you.

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  50. I think you should continue to do what you love doing. Improv is my favorite too. It's fun and free spirited. You're QAYG tutorial is wonderful and I will have to give this a try.

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  51. I do use other people's work as inspiration -- sometimes heavy inspiration -- but I've yet to use a quilt pattern (I think), so count me as one who doesn't mind if you don't do patterns. I do like tutorials, but mostly I just like to see what you're doing. Yes, I love improv.

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  52. I LOVE improv quilts and people who share their projects. To me that's what gets my creative juices flowing - just seeing what someone has made directly from thier own brain. I don't need a pattern to be inspired. I do love the occasional insight into the how and why you made something the way you did, but keep doing what you're doing!

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  53. I love seeing your projects! I guess I look at your quilts as inspiration on how to put colors together and such without wanting it to be a pattern. As for improv, I'm learning to step out of the over-planning and seeing your quilts helps me in that. You do what makes you happy - I would think that writing patterns for your quilts would take some of the fun away and make it more work/stress than just making your quilts and blogging about it. I do love your tutorials and would like to see them continue.

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  54. I love your quilts, Maureen, and I follow your blog, where I find inspiration. I personally do not buy patterns, because i like simply constructed quilts, and can generally figure it out myself. I also use blogs as inspiration, and if I end up making a quilt similar to what I have seen, I always end up tweaking the pattern anyway. If I buy anything, it will be a magazine from time to time, or a nice book. If you feel like making patterns, go ahead, but don't feel that you have to answer people's requests to make patterns available. People will keep following you and your beautiful work whatever you decide.

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  55. Keep doing what you are doing! Your an artist. You wouldn't expect an artist to explain every detail of how "you to" can paint or draw like them. Your work is gorgeous you have a good eye for color and design. It's your gift. Your gift to us is sharing what you make and giving us encouragement to create and tutorials when you can. I recently finished a quilt using your herringbone tutorial. I love it!! I'm going to make another for a wedding gift. I will try to email you a picture of it or if there is another way I can share it with you, let me know what is easiest. Thanks again for all you do for us :0) shopgirl7232(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  56. I think you should do what you are doing and what makes your life more creative. I like the tutorials but I also get ideas from you sharing your blocks. I love improve and I like to use my stash and if I run out of something I improvise on that too. I think necessity is the mother of invention so when you run out you do something else. I look everywhere for inspiration.

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  57. Improved quilting is the way is roll. I tried the patterns but I can't seem to get my seams straight. So I just tell everyone, I drink while quilting that why its a little off.

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  58. Improved quilting is the way is roll. I tried the patterns but I can't seem to get my seams straight. So I just tell everyone, I drink while quilting that why its a little off.

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  59. Hi Maureen. I am inspired by your creativity, and although patterns make it easier to calculate things like fabric amounts, and a quick way to decide how to cut your fabric, I rarely use them anyway. I can relate because I love to cook, and have been doing so for about 30 years now (started as a young kid). I rarely use a recipe, except occasionally as framework for the dish I am making if it is a new flavor profile or style of cuisine. I always struggle when people ask me to "share my recipe" because my cooking is usually pretty improve, so I get what you are saying about writing out patterns. Honestly, I would focus on staying with what works for you. If you make something people really want to make their own version of, you can offer tips or a basic framework, if so moved (i.e. the blocks finish at "x" size and the sashing is "x" wide between them). That's my two cents, and thank you for the inspiration you provide with your blog!

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  60. I love what you do, and how you do it. I love improv too, and I can't imagine the pressure of trying to write a pattern for it. Don't stress, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but you don't actually have to facilitate it beyond showing your finished items!

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  61. I haven't tried improv quilting myself, but after seeing such great results, it makes me want to try it. I have built enough of a stash that I feel like I could "risk" it. I think anything you have to offer us, we will LOVE it. :)

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  62. I'm not a quilter at all, but I follow you because I love your eye for combining color & pattern, and your sketch sewing blows me away! I also love your tutorials &/or explanations of techniques, and apply them to my non-quilt projects (ie, bags, always bags). =)

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  63. You're inspiring no matter what you make or how you make it! I love your improv quilts and completely understand why you aren't able to write a pattern. I look forward to seeing more of them!

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  64. Well, I guess I would have to say more of the "same" -- in other words keeping doing what you're doing, but only if you're happy doing it. I love seeing all your creativity, you know I love all those wonderful fabrics, and I also get inspired by your tutorials.

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  65. Be creative! That being said, I love reading about the process of creating improv things. So instruction along the way? I want to do improv things but I'm so intimidated. Sort of a compromise between a full pattern and letting you do your thing.

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  66. I love the improvisational quilts! I love to see your style, use of color and patterns in your quilts. I'm still new to quilting and the ones I've made have been fairly importing as well. Your quilts provide inspiration for future creative projects. Do what you love and what brings you joy.

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  67. I love your tutorials, but you need to do what makes you feel fulfilled and happy. I don't think blogging and making the beautiful quilts you do should make you feel miserable. If you need, take a day or two off of blogging every week to spend time with your family. What I'm saying, with too many words, is DO WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY AND FULFILLED!

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  68. I love your blog because it is different and not the same old patterns. You are a very talented lady. Keep doing what you are doing.

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  69. Maureen ... I am very new to the fabric world. Started taking sewing classes a few years ago and have head dived into quilting last year. I remember taking one of my quilts into the local quilt shop and asking how I could improve my technique. The lady ripped my work apart .. basically telling me that not everyone was a quilter. Heartbroken ... I really considered stopping and sticking with what she had suggested .. house pillows. :) And then I found YOU!!! You have no idea of how much *fun* you make quilting appear! And for me .. I want to enjoy what I do and like the outcome. You have shown me that I do not have to be a traditionalist to achieve a result. I have followed your lead and gone where the quilt takes me and I love the last few things I have made. Please continue to do what makes your happy! Because through your happiness you are sharing so much .... Hugs, Kimberly

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  70. I love your blog just as it is too. So many beautiful photos and the occasional tutorial just when its needed. I think your approach is very inspiring, and that is what I am looking for - inspiration. Thank you, Maureen.
    Mandy

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  71. Hi,Maureen: first I want to thank you so very, very much for your sharing, caring and creative nature.
    Personally, I believe that in all areas of life, a gentle guide along a path rather than a forced march down a rigid road is the best way to developing.
    I love that one beauifully photographed and clearly written tutorial by you lights a creative spark in my mind that keeps me exploring, cutting, and sewing for months---
    Keep throwing out sparks , you keep so many of us warm.
    with gratitude and a kindred spirit, Lou
    zanalou999@gmail.com

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  72. Your quilts are gorgeous, and you are an inspiration to us all! That said, when it comes to sharing your process, I would say listen to your heart. If you are happy just creating and sharing the finished product, and it is only the requests for patterns that are making you consider sharing the "how to" aspect of your quilting, then you do not need to oblige, despite the demand. If, however, you are feeling that you are ready to take on a new challenge of sharing your process but aren't sure if the effort will be worth it, then start small and work your way up. Perhaps, share a tutorial on how to complete an interesting aspect of each quilt. If you enjoy it, then you can work your way up to full patterns! Do what you love and it will all fall into place!

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  73. I love just about everything you share with us. I realize that it takes a ton of additional time to document your process so that you can write a tutorial. I am so thankful that you do. I want you to do what makes you the happiest rather than worry about everything having to be "for publish". I would hate for your creativity to be stifled by the feeling that you constantly had to share the pattern with us. Thanks for everything you do to inspire us!

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  74. I haven't been sewing that long maybe only a couple of months, so I'm no where near your experience but I love the inspiration I get from seeing your posts - the colors, designs, fabrics, the photos are beautiful. Especially when I'm having a not so great day its nice to get your blog emails, they make me smile. So just keep doing what you're doing! :)

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  75. I love the beautiful pictures, doesn't need to be something specific, just joining you in your sewing process, whatever you are doing is fun for me. I love when you draw with your stitching (I don't know if it's the proper way to say it...). You are very talented, as long as you are inspired, you stay inspiring...

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  76. I come to this as an experienced quilter and LOVE the fresh approach you take to your blog, photography and quilts. I am very tired of everything "looking the same". I would love to see tutorials as I can easily follow your instructions. Thanks for giving me something to become inspired all over again!

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  77. A friend just pointed me to your blog and I like it because of the beautiful photography and inspiration. I like to create small art quilts just for the fun of it, and I love to work in an impromptu fashion. So the more unplanned, impromptu your work, the better!

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  78. I just found your blob today and I wish I would have found it sooner. I have a hard time following a pattern and I have just now spent over an hour reviewing and learning so much from you on your quilts. I will be a daily visitor!!

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