Announcing The Improv Handbook For Modern Quilters

An Official Announcement

I’m pleased to officially announce the upcoming publication of my first book!


THE IMPROV HANDBOOK FOR MODERN QUILTERS: A Practical Guide for Creating, Quilting, and Living Courageously by Sherri Lynn Wood is a comprehensive guide on the process of improvisational patchwork quilting, which includes 10 project scores, innovative sewing techniques, tips for accessing intuitive color, and mind tools for creating with fearless spontaneity. Scheduled to be published by Abrams Books under the imprint of STC Craft / A Melanie Falick Book in Spring 2015.

How The Improv Handbook Came About

I began working with a literary agent in November 2013 on a detailed book proposal.

In March 2013 we submitted the 50 page proposal to a handful of publishers. I was thrilled to have phone interviews with a majority of the editors representing the publishing houses and received several offers. The most exciting part of this process was hearing how each editor would emphasize different aspects of my proposal to fit the publisher’s mission of reaching it’s particular audience.

Once the offers came in it was really a tough decision to choose one, but ultimately I decided to work with Melanie Falick at STC Craft. She designs some of the most beautiful craft and lifestyle books on the market today. Melanie edited my friend Sabrina Gschwandtner’s book KnitKnit, and Denyse Schmidt’s latest book Modern Quilts, Traditional Inspiration. In the next couple of years I know that STC Craft will be publishing books with Spoonflower, Kristine Vejar at A Verb For Keeping Warm, and Heather Jones. STC Craft creates books that highlight the unique visions of their authors.

The Improv Handbook Concept

Improvisation is a fundamental process at the heart of every great creative endeavor. Music, dance, theater, painting, drawing, design, cooking, conversation, relationships, play, life and even the discipline of science benefits, survives, grows, transforms and innovates through the flexibility of mind that improvisational process engenders.

The Improv Handbook For Modern Quilters provides a comprehensive framework for fostering improvisational skills through the discipline of patchwork quilting.

The 10 patchwork projects featured in the book are organized as “scores” or “games” rather than as patterns. A score or lead sheet, common to improvised musical traditions such as jazz, is a set of notations or parameters within which the improvisation is free to take shape. In the discipline of improv theater a game defines the set of limits in which an improvised and unscripted scene unfolds.

Each quilt score is designed holistically to illustrate a) approaches and methods from different improvisational disciplines, b) innovative sewing techniques particular to improvisational patchwork, c) design considerations and exercises, and d) mind tools for fostering fearlessness, presence and curiosity.

For instance one project asks the reader to think about doodling as a method for improvisation, by introducing the techniques for building a quilt with simple shapes, while also encouraging a mindset of acceptance. Another project will get you thinking about the design element of rhythm by posing a puzzle to be solved, while teaching skills for ruler free measurement.

My goal for the Improv Handbook is to teach improvisational patchwork in a way that encourages authentic expression. To this end, along with my interpretation of each score, the book will feature one or two quilts by other people to illustrate the infinite range of possible outcomes that improvising from a score allows.

As an example the Mod Mood Quilt is written as a score to interpret, rather than being presented as a pattern to follow, and you can see a range of interpretations of the Mod Mood Quilt score here.

Participate! A Call for Test Quilters

Here’s how to participate

  • January 1 – Register to participate as a test-quilter.
  • February 1 – Open registration to participate closes. Scores sent out to test-quilters.
  • March 1 – Information about contributor quilt submission process will be sent to test-quilters.
  • March 25 – Images of finished quilts based on the scores provided are due and will be considered for publication in the book. Submitted quilts will be reviewed and chosen for publication by me and the editorial staff based on how well they illustrate an alternative yet recognizable interpretations of the quilt score provided.
  • April 1 – Makers of the chosen entries for the book will be notified.
  • April 15 – Chosen quilts will need to be quilted, bound, shipped to and received in Oakland by this date, for photography.  The publisher will pay for round-trip shipping by USPS Priority Mail to Oakland, CA.
  • Makers of the chosen entries will be completely acknowledged in print, and will receive a complementary copy of the book.
  • The makers of non-chosen quilts will be entered in a drawing for complementary copies of the book and other thank-you prizes hand-made by me.
  • There will be an online forum showcasing ALL of the test quilts with the release of the book in Spring 2015.
  • There may be exhibition opportunities for the test quilts, but there is nothing on the calendar at this time.


This entry was posted in Community, Modern Improv, The Modern Quilt and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

64 Responses to Announcing The Improv Handbook For Modern Quilters

  1. Ben says:

    Sherri, I finally came to this page and read it. Congratulations on this book which I know is a culmination of many years of work and introspection. I look forward to its release!

    • sherrilynn says:

      Dear Ben! So happy to hear from you. I hope all is well in North Carolina. Wishing you a fabulous 2015. I hope to be visiting again sometime this spring or summer and would love to see you and Molly. Hugs!

  2. Christie says:

    Would be very excited to know when I can purchase this book, can you let me know?
    Many thanks Christie.

  3. Amy Gay says:

    I would love to participate! It may be too late, but a friend just received an email and refered me. So Happy Together (Jessica F) sent me. And I would be honored to be chosen.

  4. Catherine Rhodes says:

    What book?

  5. Judy Tucker says:

    Looking forward to getting info and getting started since I hopped in late!

  6. Jane Iverson says:

    I am interested in participating in an improv quilt submission for your upcoming book. This is very exciting news indeed! Just saw this link on my friend’s blog and hope I am not too late. I will forward the questionnaire to you in any event and hope to be included in the screening process. Can’t wait to see the finished book.
    ~ Jane

  7. Susannah says:

    Congratulations! You are one of the most talented textile artists and this is long overdue. We will all drool over every page!

  8. Susannah says:

    Congratulations! You are one of the most talented textile artists and this is long overdue. We will all drool over every page!!!

  9. Betsy Greer says:

    So excited to read this, Sherri! Yeah! Congrats and I can’t wait til it’s out!

    • sherrilynn says:

      Thanks Betsy! I know you know what it takes to get a book out there. I appreciate your support… and it’s not to late to sign up to be a test quilter if you have any spare time – wink!

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  11. patty says:

    Am I too late to fill out the questionnaire? I just got back from time off and I hadn’t read any blogs for the last 12 days. Congratulations on the book! This is something I had thought about – writing a book, but I just don’t think I have the patience to pursue such and endeavor.

  12. Susannah says:

    Have been “off the grid” courtesy of the ice storm but am catching up. Congratulations on your book deal! You are one of the most talented quilters ever and this is long overdue. I look forward to drooling over every page:)

  13. Chandra says:

    Thank you Sherri Lynn, I’m looking forward to this opportunity and I will pass it on to some Seattle guild members.

  14. Chandra says:

    I was delighted to hear about this and will pass it on to the rest of Seattle MQG, thanks Sherri Lynn! I love your approach to improv as it resonates with my own favorite ways to piece.

  15. Pingback: Improvisational Quilting with Sherri Lynn Wood

  16. Stephanie says:

    Would be thrilled to participate, and have completed the questionnaire. Will post to my blog tonight. (Sorry not to do so sooner, but for some reason this post didn’t show up in my feed in a timely way… just saw it today.)

  17. Pingback: Sherri Lynn Wood’s First Book | Quilting Queerly

  18. Isabelle says:

    Félicitations Sherrilynn ! This is a wonderful news, like a Christmas gift. I really look forward to reading your book when it is published next Spring. I have not been doing a lot of quilting this year, your book will be my new inspiration:)

  19. Congratulations on the book, it looks like it will be amazing! I look forward to reading it when it comes out. I also filled out the form… fingers crossed!!! I found my way here from the NY Metro Mod blog.

  20. chris hudson says:

    Hello! I would truly love to participate in your project – but I know my limitations and must therefore decline at this time. :( I love your idea of “score” rather than pattern – I am a music major/teacher, so this concept really stood out to me! Good luck with your project and book!

  21. Barb says:

    I can’t tell you how excited I am to see your book. You approach the subject of quilt making with depth, recognition of tradition, art, community and just plain fun too. I can’t wait, and congratulations to you. PS, I filled in your questionnaire!

  22. Jodi says:

    Congratulations to you! What a wonderful gift! I’ve shared on Facebook and my blog in hopes my handful of followers will take note and volunteer. I will also pass on to the Pittsburgh MQG’s social media coordinator to post on our blog. Cheers!

  23. Lisa says:

    Hi Sherri!
    How exciting. I am the new prez of the NYC Metro Modern Quilt Guild. I have posted on our blog about this great opportunity. I know you will get tons of feed back and interest in the wonderful project! I’ll post it on my blog too.
    Thanks so much and good luck!

  24. Barbara Long says:

    Can hardly wait for this to be published – just awesome news!

  25. I am so very excited for you! And really looking forward to reading this and adding it to my collection. Blogged about your call for contributors, too. Fortune follow you!

  26. Pingback: Call for contributors for Sheri Lynn Wood’s book–is this you? | mandalei

  27. Robi Witulski says:

    I love a challenge, and this sounds like a fun one I can also learn from. Can’t wait to see the finished book. Congrats to you!

  28. shannon says:

    congratulations sherri! what exciting news for both you, and for us out here in cyber space! :) this book sounds like one i would love to have in my library!

    i think it would so fun to participate! perhaps just what i need to kick start my creative direction in life! :) this summer i had a heart attack (go figure!). it wasn’t the typical plaque heart attack, but rather something rare called spontaneous coronary artery dissection–where the inner lining of the artery spontaneously tears. anyway…needless to say, it caused me to reassess and reflect on life. i have embraced the heart attack as a message from spirit to get back into balance and really tap into, and find my true self. part of it is adding more creativity into my life.

    also, after the heart attack, i did iching readings…and used the hexagrams for the iching quilt i have yet to finish. i finally starting cutting the fabric! :)

    congratulations again! :)

    • sherrilynn says:

      Oh Shannon. I am glad to hear of your news. Sometimes a wake-up call like that turns out to be the best gift ever. I’m happy you are doing well and look forward to seeing your iching quilt and all the other beautiful things you will create in your awakening.

  29. Becky says:

    So Want to do this, but don’t have a blog or website.

    • sherrilynn says:

      Oh yes Becky, Please participate. You don’t need to have a blog – just type in N/A or none in the field. I will need to go back and make a note on the form that the blog is optional. Thanks.

  30. Heather says:

    Oh wow! I am so excited for you, Sherri! This book will change people’s lives! Thanks for all the inspiration you have shared through your blog – and this book will take things to a whole other level. (I did fill out the questionnaire and am crossing my fingers.)

    • sherrilynn says:

      How sweet Heather. Thank you for your best wishes. By the way I am teaching and speaking at the Fidalgo Island Quilters the first weekend in March 2015. Maybe you can stop by.

  31. sandra rocca says:

    what a fabulous initiative!

  32. debby says:

    SOOO Excited for you and also just about the book in general! When I saw Melanie Falick’s name I was super excited. She edited/wrote the most beautiful knitting book I’ve ever seen-Knitting in America.

    • sherrilynn says:

      Thanks Debi – My favorite knitting book is one by Melanie as well – Modern Top-Down Knitting. I haven’t made anything from it yet but it’s so beautiful I just enjoy thinking about making something from it!

  33. this sounds like such an exciting book! Your ideas about improvisational quilting are very interesting to me! I have filled out the questionnaire. And congratulations!

  34. very exciting. woohoo!

  35. Tina J says:

    My computer will not allow me to open the questionnaire, but I am interested in completing the questionnaire.

  36. Very cool to read this get the “official” notice. Very happy for you!
    Figures you would invite others into your project and make it a community effort! And I love the subtitle, so fitting for your inspiring work. Namaste!

  37. Byrd says:

    Congratulations! This opportunity to particpate is early Christmas present for me – thank you! Take care, Byrd

  38. tubularsock says:

    This is great. I am thinking of going out and buying a needle and thread. That would help me get started! How do you use those again?

    Looking forward to your book.

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