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Show 2112: Creating Improvisational Patchwork and Modern Molas & A New Spin on an Antique Quilt

Featuring: Mel Beach

Posts On: December 3, 2017


A quilter since 2003, Mel talks about her love of stretching creatively through quilt challenges which push her out of her comfort zone. Some of her quilts include improvisational patchwork. Mel demonstrates a “slice” of improvisational patchwork which involves inserting a secondary strip of fabric into a background block. She shares the infinite “what if” ways to vary this basic idea to create a whole range of fun and unique blocks. Then, using crayon-etched children’s artwork as her inspiration, she shows you her technique for creating modern Mola designs using hand-dyed batiks and commercial prints, again showing a myriad of variations for their use.

In the After Set, we know that Mel loves challenges and that includes Improv comedy. She uses what she has learned doing Improv as a parallel to being present in the moment when it comes to working on a challenging quilt.

Also in this show, Alex puts a new spin on an antique String and Old Maid’s Ramble quilt using contemporary fabrics. It’s a great way to use orphan blocks and is a great baby quilt project.

Show Information

Links to Artists:

Mel Beach

From Chapter One:

Alex puts a new spin on an antique String and Old Maid’s Ramble quilt using contemporary fabrics. This is a great baby quilt project.

From Chapter Two:

Meet Mel Beach, a quilter since 2003, Mel talks about her love of stretching creatively through quilt challenges (fabric companies, Fabric Designers, online groups, etc.). Take a look at her quilts.

From Chapter Three:

Mel steps us through the process of slicing (slice, separate, insert) through a background fabric block to inserting a strip of a secondary fabric. She then shares the infinite ‘what if’ ways to vary this basic idea to create a whole range of unique and fun blocks.

From Chapter Four:

Using the crayon-etched artwork many children create in elementary school as inspiration, Mel shares a technique for creating modern Mola designs using hand-dyed, batiks and commercial prints.

After Set:

Mel loves challenges and has even included improv comedy to her list. See how this helps in her quilting life.


Contact paper

#34 Sue81007 2017-12-16 12:42
"What if?", "Okay &.....", & "Why not?" are my go-to prompts when I brainstorm a new project. Thank you Mel for exposing improv techniques to the quilting world. Many have & you just made a few more quilters go "Ah ha!". I've done the "color reveal" technique you've demoed years ago. Thanks for making me dig deep into my toolbox to revisit this FUN! (Especially with today's yummy fabrics!)
#33 AnnRapp 2017-12-14 16:32
I am a new subscriber and this the first show I’ve watched! It was fantastic! I love modern quilting and improv piecing. Mel Beach is so talented!! She will be getting a call from my guild very soon about teaching a class. Thanks Alex and Ricky for always looking into the future of quilting while respecting the past.
#32 Kidwell 2017-12-08 23:49
What a great show. I am very excited as Mel is coming to our quilt guild (Pinetree Quilt Guild; Grass Valley CA) in June 2018. Im hoping to book her for 2019 as well. Both classes are going to be surpurb!!!
Mel's quilts are so beautiful. I love her style and color selection. I cannot thank both Ricky and Alex for such a great program; I love love love my membership to The Quilt Show. Kudos to all!!!

Raedean Kidwell; Nevada City CA
#31 LadyRags 2017-12-06 11:44

I was able to watch the entire show since you switched to YOU TUBE viewing. No stops even when I switched back and forth from full view, added captions... tried it in all different modes and the video went on without a hitch.

VIMEO just was not working ... I originally thought it was my ISP ... BUT it did not work at my daughters home either and she streams videos all day long.

#30 betty-small 2017-12-06 09:19
Trailer and other videos play but not the main show. I have tried different approaches to no avail. Is it my fire kindle or you please?
#29 carrolllee 2017-12-05 07:36
Thank you for fixing the problem, John and staff! I musr say, it was frustrating when I couldnt get the whole episode, but definitely WORTH THE WAIT!!! Mel Beach segment was more than fabulous!! I now know what im going tondo with all thos hand dyed and hand painted fabs i made some 20 years ago and didn't want to cut until the RIGHT project came alomg.... Oooooo jusr too exciting!
#28 phreckles 2017-12-04 09:07
Also using iPad pro and it is Monday morning and still cannot watch the whole show. Get about 10 minutes before it cuts out. I have never had this problem before.
#27 KittyDeLapp 2017-12-04 05:34
am watching video; used emai link! Safari and Ipad Pro.
#26 KittyDeLapp 2017-12-04 05:17
Am using Ipad pro and Safari; Justin’s intro played fine as did Alex and Ricky, with quilts and theme music, then nada; show stopped at 1 minute, 9 sec. hope this might help. Thanks!
#25 joleneshindler 2017-12-04 01:55
Wow! What a great show & Mel’s Mola technique is refreshing and omg, just wonderful. I admire Mel’s inner drive with each challenge she takes on! Mel reminds me of myself except for one very important element I’ve been myself permission. The challenges gives me instructions or “permission” for original designs however, I never do improvisational piecing for gifts or for myself. Funny huh? So, THANK YOU MEL!! The similarities in common with Mel, I entered the same years of the Hoffman challenge, teach quilting, treasurer for a local animal rescue and lastly, I live near Mel’s mother! Mel, if you’ve been looking for your blonde twin Sister, here I am!
Thank you TQS, Alex & Ricky! I’ve been a TQS member for years and this show truly taught me more than quilting!
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