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4.5 out of 5 stars33
4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 4 September 2013
I pre-ordered this book so have been waiting for it for a while. In the meantime I have bought another improvisational quilt book, but I should have held fire, this one is just what I was after.

I have a made a few quilts and am now looking to improve my technique and to be inspired, but I do not want 'quilt recipes' telling exactly how much of a particular fabric to put where to churn out a copy of somebody else's work.

This book is well set out, with clear sections providing techniques and inspiration to create beautiful quilts for yourself. I know my creations will never be even close to the beautiful work of Lucie Summers, but as a result of buying this book they will be better than they were and still uniquely my own style. It is the best craft book I have bought in a long time.
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on 3 September 2013
I bought this book after inheriting a bag of old clothes and no idea what to do with them. Now my room is filled with neatly cut out rectangles of different fabrics in plastic boxes and my winter quilt is well on the way! The illustrations and photos are really lovely, and the step by step instructions are really easy to follow. I've not quite mastered anything beyond rectangular quilting but hopefully I'll get there. A really nice gift book for crafty folk looking for a new project.
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on 3 September 2013
Lu has been the Queen of Improv for years and the release of this book proves it. This isn't a book of patterns or blocks, but instead teaches a technique and mind set. The writing style is smooth and easy and the pictures and illustrations are gorgeous. Personally I'm not sure if improv is for me, but I certainly love looking at the book while dreaming of making things where the points don't have to match!
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on 23 September 2013
I bought this book because I had seen Lu Summers quilts and loved the style and colours of them. This book didn't disappoint, it arrived just before my holiday and so I took it with me to read. The photos are fantastic and the layout of the book makes it a really lovely read and it had me itching to make one of the quilts, even though I was hundreds of mile away from my machine.
I love that Lu encourages you, through the book to make the quilt your own, but for people that need a set of instructions, they are there too.
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on 4 December 2013
"Quilt Improv" by Lucy Summers is such a treat and a real gem for its price.

I would recommend this book to advanced beginners and beyond, who are prepared to improvise. You need to learn the basics elsewhere, for instance the free Craftsy class "Piece, Patch, Quilt: Basic Quiltmaking Skills" by Gail Kessler:
If you're a visual learner, I'd be surprised to hear you don't like the piecing instructions, since they consist of a photo/diagramme with adjoining text, rather than the other way round.

How to use this book
The building blocks
The quilts
General techniques

There are 13 blocks, 12.5'' squares or 12'' when finished. They all introduce a new technique and you can make a 3x4 sampler if you like, a perfect baby quilt size.

There are twelve patterns:
- Shoe boxes quilt, 29'' x 45''
- Farm buildings quilt, 35 1/2'' x 29 1/2''
- Seed tray quilt, 21 1/2'' 30''
- Feathers quilt, 35'' x 43''
- Bricks and fences quilt, 29 1/2'' x 35''
- Garden wall quilt, 34'' x 36 1/2''
- Mesh quilt, 36'' x 47''
- Pavement quilt, 35'' x 33''
- Plates quilt, 29'' x 29''
- Railings quilt, 35'' x 36''
- Rope quilt, 30 1/2'' x 30 1/2''
- Building blocks quilt, 36'' x 30''
All patterns follow the same structure:
- Intro
- Design idea
- Design plan
- Make me key; which techniques learned in The Building Blocks are included
- Finished plan; how the end product has the improv look compared to original sketches
- Piecing map; visual guide how to assemble the quilt top in improv manner (final subunit sizes are given)

The smallest typeface is quite thin in artificial lighting. The gorgeous diagrammes make up for those shortcomings. The quilts are on the smaller side, but I don't see how they couldn't be built upon either with more subunits/blocks or with enlarged blocks; the book is for people prepared to improvise after all.

In the Mesh Quilt intro, Lucy mentions her love of colour and this is indeed a colour feast, but it would be very interesting to see the patterns in solids only or a combination of solids and patterned fabrics. Low-volume fabrics could also work fabulously.

Personally, I find the general look to be quite scrappy, but again, toning the quilts down with a controlled set of hues could lead to unexpected results. "Quilt Improv" and "Scrap Republic" by Emily Cier are a killer combination for tackling the scrap basket.
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on 3 September 2013
Lu makes Improv so accessible. The book is beautifully presented and gives real insight into the author's design process. A really inspirational book that definitely deserves a place at your sewing table.
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on 7 October 2013
Lucie Summers is British which makes reading this book a real pleasure, whilst I enjoy American books I get a bit fed up with the American terminology, this makes a refreshing change.

Lucie has some lovely ideas and themes which are also great for using up your stash (what do you mean, what stash?).

There is sufficient information in the early chapters to go ahead without experience but I really think you would have to be extremely determined. However, with a little experience, this book will provide a great way to "do your own thing" in an original way, the designs are meant to be interpreted as you wish.

I also like the way in which Lucie shows her inspiration boards and how she translates it into a quilt idea; I haven't tried this yet but I will - just as soon as I clear the decks of UFOs (unfinished objects).

So, to summarise, if you don't have a "stash" and you have no UFOs this may be a bit advanced for you but it is possible to utilise the lovely ideas with specially bought fabric (then you WILL have the beginnings of a stash, I promise you).

The only negative point I would like to comment upon is the font the book is printed in. It's very fine and seems to be grey rather than black. It's not a major showstopper unless you have poor eyesight but it does make the "look inside" feature quite difficult to read.
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on 7 October 2015
I ordered this book together with this one:
I was looking for inspiration and tips into making less structured and more spontaneous patchwork/quilts, and I find that both books are quite interesting, but ultimately a bit disappointing. The text and the philosophy behing the quilt making process is very different, but in both cases intriguing. The book is an enjoyable read, but the end results of all the creative process are some astonishing ugly (in my opinion) quilts. If you like this style of quilting (yawn-inducing choice of fabrics, screaming colours and gawky compositions) or can ignore the pictures, you can get some interesting insights from the text, but if you are looking for visual inspiration you might find the book somewhat dispiriting (I do).
I have one more critic to do, and it's that I'm tired of quilting/needlework books telling me that I need a list of materials/tools/workshop facilities as long as my arm, when I know for a fact that all one needs to quilt is a place where to sit out of the rain, some fabric and tread, a needle, sharp sissors and maybe a pencil and some paper scraps for templates. I am a bit sad that such a thrifty "pioneer" craft has been apparently transformed into a luxury hobby.
That said it is nice to read a book about creative quilting, (creative, as opposed to just endlessly redoing the same classic patterns over and over again). I just wish that some of the more subtle quilt-artists out there would publish something more inspiring.
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on 11 September 2014
My main objection to this book is the awful typeface .Parts of the quilting instructions are in very small type which is also extremely feint.This may be a gimmicky trendy print but it is almost impossible to read,especially in artificial light.Given that the demographic of the majority of quilters may be of mature years it is completely unreasonable to expect them to have to struggle to read this book. On the positive side the illustrations are lovely and bright and the patterns are innovative.I feel the author has been sadly let down by her publisher
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on 7 March 2015
I couldn't wait for this book to arrive and I love the quilts. 2 things let it down which is a real shame. Firstly the Typeface - very difficult to read and see even in the day light ( I don't need glasses to read or sew) because it is a very light, thin font - it needed to be bolder. Even the bold headline paragraphs are not easy to read because of the silly font - not quite italic but similar. This is a book where the text needs to be easy to read as it contains a lot of instructions. Secondly, some of the instructions themselves are incorrect. For example, each quilt has a Key to the blocks that make it up. On page 76, The Garden Wall quilt, the image that should be Strip Piecing is actually Crazy Triangles, and on page 112, The Building Blocks quilt - 3 out of the 4 block images in the key are incorrect. Block 2 should be Half Square Triangles but in fact shows an image of Chain Pieced Strips, block 3 should be Log Cabin but shows a String Block ( this maybe understandable as the strips are placed on point to make a square so someone who has never done patchwork could get this mixed up) block 4 should be Quarter Circles but shows Pieced Squares. I do hope that these issues are sorted out in the next print as it is very confusing for a beginner to patchwork and frustrating to the reader. I think Lucie Summers has done a great job and its a real shame that her first book has gone to print with these issues.
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