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Show 2208: Maria Shell - Improv Patchwork

Featuring: Maria Shell

Posts On: April 8, 2018


Inspired by an antique quilt, Alex starts things off by sharing her updated version of that quilt and discusses the problems she encountered when trying to mimic the original quilt's border. Using lemons to make lemonade, Alex shares her ‘super improv’ new and out of the box triangle border.
The improv continues as Maria Shell, an Alaskan quilter who refers to herself as a ‘bit maker’, shares her method for creating visually vibrant and patterned quilts created by sewing small units or strips together. It is through sewing, cutting, and joining a large number of strip set units that Maria pushes a design as far she can with the end result being an entirely new design.
Maria also shares tips for cutting both with and without a ruler for very different and organic design finishes. Being a quilter in close knit Alaska allows Maria to share her talents with others through a community no-sew quilt project. We also visit her Alaska home studio and summer cabin.

Show Information

Links to Artists:

Maria Shell

Alex Anderson (Alex Anderson Quilts)

From Chapter One:

Alex works on creating an updated version of an antique quilt. She talks about strip piecing and her 'super inprov' triangle border.

Cutting for 8” x 8” finished strip block:

            Strips - 2 ½” x 8 ½”
                         2 ½” x 2 ½”

            Half Square Triangles - 3 7/8” squares

From Chapter Two:

Alex and Ricky welcome Maria Shell to the set. Maria discusses growing up in rural Kansas and how she is based in traditional quilting. She pushes the traditional element in the block to see where it will lead. She considers herself a bit maker and makes lots of bits that springboard ideas to another quilt series. Her degrees in Journalism have come full circle by allowing her to express ideas via a blog and now a book.

From Chapter Three:

Maria walks us through the process of taking small solid fabric strip set units and then pushing the envelope to create an entirely new design.

From Chapter Four:

Maria has a heart for helping others, and shares a community quilt made by former chronically homeless people. Her simplified step-out prep method means that anyone can make a no-sew fused quilt block. This activity gives the participants the confidence to do something creative.

We also look at images of Maria's Alaska home studio and summer cabin.

After Set:

Maria talks about her summer cabin in McCarthy, AK, where she works and teaches. She also talks about being a part of the artist residency program at the Wrangell Mountain Center in Alaska.

Products and Artists Mentioned:

#5 colorcode 2018-06-18 10:11
Alex, I just love your color sense and composition. You infuse so much vitality into your teaching as well as down to earth practicality. You modestly make us feel that what you do, we can do, even tho you are a quilt giant. Alex, please teach often on The Quilt Show.
#4 NuttyKin 2018-04-12 10:25
Loved this show! I am going to use the community quilt idea with my grandchildren!
Also, when sewing strip sets together: in addition to ironing after each seam, if you sew the first strip going down the strip, sew the next strip going in the opposite direction. Continue sewing each strip going in the opposite direction from the previous one. This helps avoid the curve forming on the strip set.
#3 jeanniebench 2018-04-09 10:45
So much fun to watch, congratulations , Maria! Maria is such a generous, gifted, and hard-working artist. I'm so impressed by the openness of her spirit in sharing her skills and process, and her support of other people in their journeys.
#2 FiberontheMt 2018-04-08 20:54
Loved the show. Hearing and watching other artists creative process is a true learning experience and is the best value of the show and any class. Thank you Maria and Alex and Ricky!
#1 Kay Welch 2018-04-06 22:49
This so exciting! Congratulations !!! Your quilts look FAB in the studio.
Thanks for letting us know when it will be on.
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