Under the tree

flying geese improv 2

There might be

A lovely note for you.

A sweet wish for a merry new year

all in hopes of bringing some cheer.

If you’ve really been good and tried hard

The note may accompany an Etsy gift card.

What to do with that sweet, little token?

I’m so glad we’ve spoken.

Because I have a suggestion or two.

See if any of these appeal to you:

pillow stack improv circles 1 flying geese improv 2 improv star 2

Of so, you can find them here.

I wish you a sweet and wonderful new year!

The Thanks-for-Letting-us-Stay-at-Your-House-for-the-Marathon Coasters

marathon coasters 4

That title just rolls off your tongue, doesn’t it?

I realize an explanation is in order and I will provide one, but, first, I’m going to announce the winner of Sujata Shah’s book, Cultural Fusion.

She is:

Aileen says:

What a wonderful review of this book. I am so fascinated with those quilts. The colours blaze!

So, Aileen, I need you to email me at malka@stitchindye.com with your mailing address. If, based on the fact that you spelled the word “color” with that distinctively non-American U, you live outside the US, you will receive a coupon code for a free copy of the e-version of this book.

Either way, you’re in for a treat and congratulations.

Now, on to my story.

When my middle daughter graduated from high school she gave me a gift. Thankfully, because she was 18 years old at the time, it wasn’t some cute, little, unintelligible drawing that I was expected to coo at in great delight while really wondering exactly what it was supposed to depict. She gifted me a pair of beautiful ceramic coasters she had purchased at Anthropologie. As she handed me the bag with the coasters, she said, ” Thanks for raising me.” So, I dubbed these beauties the Thanks-for-Raising-Me coasters.

I use these coasters almost daily and they proudly sit on my coffee table. In fact, the other day, my girl came over to work on a school project and as she absentmindedly place her chilled and sweating glass on the table I encouraged her to use the Thanks-for-Raising-Me coasters rather than leave a ring on my table.

This past weekend we traveled to Bryan/College station to run the BCS Marathon/HalfMarathon and were invited by a very nice couple from our running group to stay at their house nearby. These folks went above and beyond just providing beds, but made meals and served as incredibly gracious hosts. All that despite the fact that they too were running the marathon.

To let them know how much we appreciated their hospitality I made them a set of coasters and have named them the Thanks-for-Letting-us-Stay-at-Your-House-for-the-Marathon Coasters.

marathon coasters 5 marathon coasters 2 marathon coasters 4

If you’re my friend on Instagram then you’re familiar with my recent interest in crafting, particularly improvisationally, in black and white with pops of color. I used this coaster project to explore playing with simple free-form patterns in the context of a limited palette.

marathon coasters back 2 marathon coasters back 3

I also used this project as an opportunity to use on my newest and most favorite hand dyed and patterned designs. I’m currently making lots and lots of fabric for my booth at QuiltCon, but thought I could spare a bit for these coasters.

They are, after all, meant as a special thank you to some terrific folks.

News Flash:: Long Lost Sister Found

sujata 9

I’m taking a break from my blog break(yes, I see the silliness inherent in that statement) to let you all know that I have found a long lost sister I didn’t even know was missing.

That sister is this woman:

sujata portrait

Sujata Shah, author of the wonderful new book, Cultural Fusion Quilts: A Melting Pot of Piecing Traditions. No matter that she is originally from India and I was born in Tel-Aviv and that both our parents may disagree with my statement, Sujata and especially what inspires her to design and craft quilts speak to me at my very core and, so, we must be sisters. No other explanation is possible.

I first met Sujata at Quilt Market this past October when she came by my booth to introduce herself and her book.I think I flipped through for about 2.3 seconds when I realized that I LOVED the quilts and the idea behind the making of this book.

Sujata is a combiner, a take-from-something-over-here-and-add-it-to-something-over-there kind of crafter. And, just to add a cherry on top of that she does it all with a wonderful sense of play and discovery and a passion for improvisation.

Cultural Fusion opens with an explanation of how Sujata came to make the quilts that she does, her love of different textile traditions, and how she combines disparate influences in every step of her process. She walks the reader through her process for selecting fabrics and piecing blocks with a joyous free-form approach that naturally yields a quilt bursting with energy.

You don’t have to take my word for it. I realize that because she’s my sister, I may be biased. So, just take a gander at these beauties:

sujata 9

sujata 4 sujata 1

Folks, there are 15 block/quilt designs in this book. And each design is linked to what Sujata calls a “root connection”, a pattern or textile influence.

Like this one:

sujata 7

Also, though the construction of the block and quilt is thoroughly illustrated and explained, you don’t have to necessarily make that particular quilt. Each design has an accompanying page called, “Possibilities”. These are alternative block settings you can try or play with to encourage you to put your special stamp on these designs.

sujata 6

This is definitely a book you want to add to your library. Also, if you don’t have a library yet, this is a book you might just want to start with.

So, how do you get this book?

How about here.

How do you see more of Sujata’s work?

Umm, here.

How do you follow the Cultural Fusion Quilts Blog Tour as it makes its way across the internet?

Check out these sites tomorrow and in the following days:

Tue. Dec. 9 – Sherri Lynn Wood  http://daintytime.net/

Wed. Dec. 10 – Bonnie Hunter  http://quiltville.blogspot.com/

 Thu. Dec. 11  Jake Finch  http://generationqmagazine.com/
 Fri. Dec. 12 – Jan Burgwinkle  http://www.bemused.typepad.com/
 Sat. Dec. 13  Janet Treen  http://quiltsalott.blogspot.com/
And, most importantly, how do you win a free copy of Sujata Shah’s AMAZING Cultural Fusion Quilts: A Melting Pot of Piecing Traditions?
Well, just leave a comment here letting me know how much you love my sister’s book and I’ll randomly pick a winner at the conclusion of the tour.


Look, I made a book

screen shot of look book cover

Well, not exactly a full book, but a Look Book.

It’s an enrollment bonus for my CreativeLIVE class, 10 ways to Love Improvisational Quilting and surprisingly, it too is entitled…

screen shot of look book cover

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I am learning the Adobe Creative suite, I mean really learning it, taking a class, consulting with others, the whole shebang. Well, I LOVE it. It is the quickest path to so much fun. And the possibilities? Freakin endless. I recommend the process to anyone and everyone.

I’m about halfway through the Indesign course and feel like I have enough know-how to craft this Look Book.

Each page features one of my 10 hopefully helpful hints for embracing improvisational quilting along with a pretty picture or two.

Here’s another sample:

screen shot of look book step 4

Interested in getting a copy? Watch my class this coming Wednesday and Thursday FOR FREE and, if you decide you’d like to purchase it for future perusal, the nice folks at CreativeLIVE will send you your very own copy.

As for me, I’ll be doing lots more of this kind of thing. Learning this process has spawned so many ideas; as learning often does.


Improv(e) Me!

improv zig-zags

Sometimes you work on a project and you think, ” I’ve done this before; I know how it goes.”

That’s how I entered the process of prepping for my CreativeLive workshop, 10 ways to Love Improvisational Piecing. It’s nor that I’d taught this workshop in this forum before, but I’d taught it to guilds and groups many times.

I didn’t expect anything new to appear.

Boy, was I wrong.

Maybe it’s because this particular workshop is two days and will cover a lot more material or maybe because when you’re working within a different media (this being an online class versus a class that happens once in real time), or maybe it’s because I really, really wanted to do a good job, but I have made new discoveries and stumbled upon new ideas and unearthed new avenues I want to explore more fully. With more fully meaning AFTER Quilt Market at the end of the month.

A lot of these newnesses have come about through making step-outs and sample blocks for the class.

improv zig-zags improv stars

In making these sample blocks I was simply trying to show some possibilities for improvisationally working with half-square triangles, but I think I learned much more than my students will. For now, I’m going to keep it under my hat what direction I see myself going with these, but these block, along with some of the other ones I’ve created for the workshop and featured here are definitely pointing me in a new direction.

For today, I’d like to point you all in the direction of the blog tour that is hot and heavy and helping to promote my class.

9/30 – Modern Sewciety
10/1 - House on Hill Road
10/3 – Fresh Modern Quilts
10/6 – Cheryl Arkison
10/7 – Wisecraft Handmade

Take a moment and check out these amazing blogs and enter to win a free copy of my workshop, 10 Ways to Love improvisational Quilting.

Planning to Wing it

step out for class

Based on the amount of prep I’m doing for my CreativeLIVE class, 10 Ways to Love improvisational Quilting, I’m not planning on winging anything. Kind of ironic considering this is a class focused on learning to go with the flow of piecing and letting one step dictate the next. But, as I’ve pointed out to my students in the past, working improvisationally doesn’t mean you don’t have some framework, some parameters.

So, to make sure I’m ready, set, go come next Wednesday when filming starts, I’ve been making these:

step out for class

Step-outs for pretty much every part of the process.

And sample blocks like these:

improv block for class improv block detail pinwheel block for class

I’m also putting together an inspirational Look Book for those who enroll in the class and am working with the marketing team at CreativeLIVE to promote the class. Check out my post yesterday at CreativeLIVE to read about the quilt that most inspired me.

Also, follow the blog tour starting with Stephanie Kendron’s fabulous Modern Sewciety to hear more about the class and enter to win free enrollment.

Back tomorrow with more about my class and the tour!


What I’m Working on Wednesday

b and w improv

First, it struck me that when last I posted a “What I’m Working on Wednesday” segment, it was actually Tuesday. That alone is a testament to how busy I’ve been lately.

Most of that busyness has been from work and I’ll get to some of that in a bit, but some has been due to trying to wrap up work so I could take 4 days to do this:

bushwacking on Lookout mountain resized above treeline resized lookout Mountain view resized

Hiking and climbing a few of the many peaks in Rocky Mountain National Park. Amazing stuff.

Getting ready for this trip and working were also the two main reasons my September Challenge didn’t make it. It’s not uncommon for me to ignore the fact that there are JUST 24 hours in a day. Nevertheless, I did learn a lot from the 2 weeks+ I managed to post daily and I’ll chat about that in another post.

Today I wanted to share one of the samples I made for my CreativeLive class, 10 Ways to Love Improvisation. By the way, it’s not too late to RSVP for the class and/or to join the live studio audience.

b and w improv

One of the concepts I’ll be discussing is the choice of cutting tools when working improvisationally.

b and w improv 2


To demonstrate that I made this block with patches that I exclusively cut using scissors. You definitely get a differnt edge and have to make different design and piecing decisions.

b and w improv 1

It’s actually nice to be able to gather a pile of fabrics and just sit at the sewing machine cutting and piecing almost simultaneously.

Truth be told, though, I prefer a rotary cutter, mostly because scissors hurt my hand after a while, but there’s something about the rawness of the edges you get when you cut with scissors.

As for the design decisions that went into making this block, that too is something I’ll discuss in the class. I hope you think about joining me.


September Challenge :: Go with the Flow

front page for improv class

I’d like to chat a bit about how the September Challenge is going and what I’m learning, but I’m in Colorado and I have a mountain to climb.

But I did want to tell you all about a terrific opportunity to join the studio audience at my CreativeLive workshop, 10 Ways to Love Improvisational Quilting, in San Francisco.

front page for improv class

It’s happening October 8 and 9 and we are going to be having So. Much. Fun.

Live in San Francisco and want to join the studio audience, go this URL: https://www.creativelive.com/courses/10-ways-love-improvisational-quilting-malka-dubrawsky

Happening to be visiting San Francisco on those dates and want to join, go to this URL:https://www.creativelive.com/courses/10-ways-love-improvisational-quilting-malka-dubrawsky

Yep, it’s the same URL, but, no matter, I hope to see you at the workshop.

September Challenge :: What I’m Working on Wednesday

indesign learning

I’m squeaking in just under the gun, but I’m going to make it…at least for today.

What I’m working on today? You mean other than projects for Quilt Market and step-outs for my Improv class?


indesign learning

I’m learning Adobe Indesign, but really. I’m taking an online class and getting together weekly with my beloved Nan and we are mastering this baby together.

And, you know what. I love it. It is so fun.

My first project which I’m starting on this week is to create a little PDF booklet that features images of all the different projects I teach as workshops.

I’m almost halfway through the class and up until a few days ago I would have told you I was nowhere near ready to take on that task, but over the past few lessons Nan and I have gained just the right amount of knowledge that we’re a little more daring about trying this or that. We try something, see if it works, and then share the results.

I feel like a kid in a candy shop, so many possibilities, so many tasty options to t try.

When we first started learning I thought this would be something I just had to make my way through and I would by sheer willpower. But, I’ve come to delight in all the new terms and techniques. I am loving it and would recommend the process to anyone.

I’m so loving it that I’ve started a similar class focused on Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop.

I hope that when folks take my online Improv Quilting class they will get as excited about learning something that’s new to them as I am in learning this.

That’s what I think about as I make the step-outs and refine the outline I’ve created for the class. I want folks to be excited because, man, it is a wonderful feeling.

September Challenge:: Week 3

dress 2

It’s September 15. You know what that means?

Cue the Bon Jovi, ” Ohhh, we’re halfway there….”

Yep, half of 30 is 15.

I’m not going to lie to you. This challenge can be difficult at times. I have a lot of projects in the works, but not all, hell, not most, are ready to be photographed. And, though I had that handy little cute story for Friday’s post without pics, I probably can’t get away with that too often.

Sometimes I have to wake up super-duper early to make sure I’ve finished up what ever it is I’m planning on featuring here.

That can be difficult, but it pays off.

Check out what I saw this morning:

morning sky

Try to imagine it without the telephone wires and it’s even prettier. Also, why in 2014 do we still have telephone wires above ground?

You have to get up pretty early in the morning to see that, but it just might be worth it.

Along with taking pictures of the sky I also finished this:

dress 2

I’m not exactly sure why I like this slightly odd picture. I think it has to do with having recently listened to Haruki Mirakami’s The Wind-Up Bird Chronicles and feeling a bit surreal.

Anyway, this is the second version of the dress I made last week, but this time

A. It’s made out of one of the prints from my soon-to-be-released line, Poems from Pebbles


B. I remember the pattern name and number, Simplicity 2473.

If you and I were in the same room you could literally hear me singing the praises of this pattern, practically belting out how easy, straight forward, and flattering this pattern is. Both the versions I’ve made have been in quilting cottons, but this would be terrific in linen or a beautiful Liberty of London print. Oh, man, it would look amazing in a Liberty print.

Only about six weeks until market and a little more than three before I go to film my CreativeLive class, so no new Liberty dresses for me…yet.