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Improv Theme & Variation Workshop with Denyse Schmidt at Fiddlehead Artisian Supply

October 7 @ 10:00 am - 4:30 pm

Join Denyse Schmidt in Fiddlehead’s sunny new classroom space for a day of exploring the art of “talking” quilts with her pattern, The Proverbial Quilt! Workshop description and supply list below. Lunch provided by Fiddlehead’s – please let the shop know if there are any dietary considerations.

Improv Theme & Variation

A single block pattern can yield an infinite number of variations. In this workshop, we’ll use improvisational patchwork to explore repetitions and variations on a theme. You’ll gain a deeper understanding of the design elements of structure and composition, while building confidence in working with improvisation to create quilt tops that reflect your own voice. Bring a favorite traditional or original block pattern to work with. (See below for ideas.)

Tools & Equipment to Bring:

  • Sewing machine
  • Thread
  • Rotary cutter
  • Acrylic ruler
  • Fabric shears
  • Snips
  • Sketchbook
  • Pens or pencils
  • Digital camera
  • Template
  • Making supplies (paper or thin cardboard – a file folder is great –as needed for your block, pencil, paper scissors, etc)


A total of 3-5 total yards will be ideal for this workshop, based on your preference for working large or small, and how fast (or slow) you typically work. This total should include mostly solids, supplemented with prints and/or yarn-dyed wovens in a variety of values and hues. Your overall fabric palette should be simple and reflect the composition of the quilt block pattern you are bringing. For instance, if your quilt block pattern has three parts, select three main colors and broaden your selection for each by bringing several related fabrics that represent that one color.

* Selecting a Quilt Block Pattern to bring

Your experience will feel more successful (and you’ll have more fun) if you reduce your block choice to its most elemental form. Complexity and secondary patterns emerge through overall composition. Blocks like the examples below are all excellent. The blocks as shown have two main colors.

Above left to right: Basketweave quilt from my book Modern Quilts Traditional Inspiration, L pattern, Shoeman’s Puzzle pattern from my book Modern Quilts Traditional Inspiration, half-square triangle.

To Prepare:

Online, take a look at the Quilt Index. You can search by pattern names, or by “one patch”, or “four patch”. Either of these search terms will yield good references and ideas for this class.

Your local library will likely have one of the following books, or something like it. A little time perusing any of these is perfect preparation for the class. Bring a sketchbook to the library for visual note-taking.

• Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns by Barbara Brackman

• The Quilter’s Album of Patchwork Patterns by Jinny Beyer

• Encyclopedia of Classic Quilt Patterns by Patricia Wilens

• 5,500 Quilt Block Patterns by Maggie Malone


16 and up


Our classroom space is on the second floor of our building. Please let us know if we can help you carry up your things.

Please familiarize yourself with our class policies before enrolling. Thank you!


October 7
10:00 am - 4:30 pm
Event Category:


Fiddlehead Artisan Supply
64 Main Street
Belfast, Maine 04915 United States
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