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.


Winners and More

Criss Cross Half Yard

For the record, I’m not supposed to be posting today. It’s not on my September calendar. But, I know you guys are eager to know who won the giveaway fabric and I have some new-to-my-store items to tell you guys about, so here I am.

First, the winners.

Can I get a drumroll, please?

Debra says:

I love the bright colors! Thanks.


Shauna says:

I love the bright colors of your line!!! I follow you with bloglovin


Vanessa says:

Beautiful fabric!! I’m a new follower on Bloglovin’ – thanks for a chance to win :)


Susan says:

The colours in your fabric are so vibrant. I love it.

Congratulations! Please email your addresses to malka@stitchindye.com.

One little side note though. If you’re international I have to bill you for postage. Shipping overseas is super expensive and I can’t afford to ship internationally.

Now on to new shop offerings:

I’ve added a few new fabrics.

Traveling Triangles Quarter Yard

Traveling Triangles Quarter Yard

Criss Cross Half Yard

Criss Cross Half Yard


Criss Cross Fat Quarter

I’ve also added one of the pillow covers I created as part of my recent tutorial for Sew, Mama, Sew.

red diamonds listing for etsy 2

If you’re interested in any of these items or to see what other goodies I have in my shop, just head on over to stitchindye.etsy.com.



September Challenge :: No Pictures, but a Wee Story

I’m going to share a little story today to explain why, despite the fact that I don’t have pictures to share today, I’m still posting.

I’ve mentioned here before that I’m a runner. Well, the other day a couple from my running group mentioned that they had taken on a challenge of their own. They were going to run at least three miles a day, no matter what. I should note that this couple runs a marathon just about every month and that their challenge would mean that even the day after a marathon they would lace up their shoes and head out to run.

As a side note, for those of you saying something about how young and foolish these two must be. I can’t dispute foolish, but I would point out that they’re both in the mid 50′s to 60′s range. Not spring chickens, but they have the hearts of real adventurers, no matter the age.

Anyway, a few days later I was discussing this challenge with another running group pal and she told me about a similar challenge taken on by yet another runner. This guy managed to run (however he defined that) every single day for two years. Was he stopped by injury or illness or not finding new running shoes in his size? Nope.

One day, he and his family were moving and in all the hustle and bustle and moving vans and boxes, he came to the end of the day and realized he had just plain forgotten to run. According to my friend, he was beyond disappointed, though he soon took up the pledge again.

What is the moral of my story and how does it relate to my challenge? Well, you guys are smart; I think you know the answer to that.

I’ll just say that my challenge was to post every weekday, preferably something of beauty or interest, but, no matter what, every weekday.

Today is apparently a “just 3 mile day”.

Have a fabulous week, friends!


September Challenge:: Big Treat

Wall of Sound, 2014

I don’t think my title exaggerates because you guys are in  for a big, dare I say, super-big treat today.

Why? Because, for those of you not familiar with her work and for those of you who are but want to see and learn more, I’m featuring a wonderful textile artist and quilt maker here on the blog today: Maria Shell.

Let’s just start with a bit of eye candy, shall we?

Wall of Sound, 2014

Wall of Sound, 2014

Pinterest introduced me to Maria’s work. I’d see a quilt here or there, add it to my Inspirations board, and wonder about the artist behind these amazing quilts.

So, I did the next logical step and checked out her website. It was then that I decided I wanted to feature her words and work here on my blog. Maybe everyone else is already familiar with Maria’s work, but when I came upon it, it felt so fresh to me that I felt like I had “discovered” something.

So sit back, grab a cup of tea, and I’ll let Maria’s and her creations speak for themselves.

Me: Tell me a little about you art background. Did you start out making quilts or did you come to them from another media?

Maria:I started sewing when I was four. My mother did not sew, but she would let me use fabric from old clothes to make dolls, pillows, purses, whatever I could come up with. She promised me I could have a sewing machine when I turned ten and she kept her word. At that point, I started making my own clothes. I continued sewing all the way through college, working in the costume show for the theatre department, and making clothing and costumes for myself and friends. The entire time, it never crossed my mind that I could use my technical skills to make art. I always thought I would be a writer. I majored in journalism as an undergrad, and I have an MFA in creative writing. When we moved to Valdez, Alaska in 1999, I decided that I was going to learn how to quilt. I took a Mystery Class at the local quilt shop and stayed up all night sewing. That was it. I was quilt maker from that evening on. At that time, I focused on mastering complex traditional quilt patterns which was very satisfying and gave me the skill set I now use daily. In 2009, I was awarded a Rasmuson Foundation Individual Artist Award <http://www.rasmuson.org> to travel to Baltimore, Ohio to spend three weeks studying with Nancy Crow. Studying with Nancy gave me a strong foundation in improvisational piecing and color work. All of these things–my love of sewing from an early age, my grounding in the traditional quilt world, and my introduction to improvisational piecing and color theory, have led me to this spot on the plant. I am eternally grateful to all the stitchers who helped me on my journey.

Good Vibrations 2010

Good Vibrations 2010

Me: Do you work primarily with commercial prints or is hand dyeing fabric part of your process?

Maria: I work with any textile that responds well to being cut and pieced. My fabric collection includes vintage and contemporary prints and solids, as well as fabrics I have hand dyed. I like to combine all of these types of fabrics into a composition. I also have a good collection of lightweight upholstery fabrics that occasionally show up in my work especially the artful oven mitts I make.

Artful Oven Mitts

Artful Oven Mitt

Me: I sense an interest in architecture in your work. Is that accurate? What are other sources of inspiration?

Maria:I would say that I am obsessed with pattern, repetition, and the traditional quilt block. I also love curves, but because of show obligations, I have not been working with them in the past few years. I am very inspired by industrial components of architecture–pipes, grates, windows, bricks–anything that repeats itself is inspiring to me.

Habanero 2012

Habanero 2012

Me: I really love your chair series.Could you discuss the process of abstracting something so recognizable?

Maria: The chair series came from taking Lisa Call’s online class Working in a Series <http://lisacall.com/workshops/online-workshops/> If you are interested in going deep into a subject matter, it really is a wonderful class. For the class, I wanted to select an everyday object and really figure out how to piece it. And then I wanted to see if I could use that everyday object to say different things. I think the thing that really helped me work through the construction issues of abstracting chairs into pieced cloth was drawing them over and over again. If you can draw it, you can stitch it.

Hipster 2012

Hipster 2012

Sewing Chair 2012

Sewing Chair 2012

Me: Where do you see yourself fitting in to the multiple quilt worlds? I definitely feel like your quilts resonate with modern quilters, but would you consider yourself more a part of the art quilt world?

Maria: This is a good question. I am grounded in the world of classical quilt making. My early teachers were traditional quilt makers. I was obsessed with learning how to make beautiful complicated traditional quilt patterns. From there I moved into the art quilt world. I spent many years with my head down stitching–trying to manifest what I wanted to say with my work. When I looked up, I realized there was this new quilting community out there. I love what the modern quilt world is doing and many of the classes I teach are geared towards modern quilters. I especially enjoy the emphasis on stitch, composition, and color.