Workshop Offerings

15391829011_614bc18c8f_mI love to teach and have 20 years of experience sharing my work through presentations, demos, and workshops. Check out workshop photos from Penland School of Craft 2001, 2006, & 2011, the Orange County Modern Quilt Guild, East Bay Modern Quilt Guild, and QuiltCon Day 1: Get Your Curve On, Day 2: Modern Block Improv, Day 3: Improv Round Robin.

Please visit my Events calendar for a complete list of upcoming workshops, exhibitions, presentations currently scheduled across the country. If you don’t see anything happening close to you, contact me about visiting your community soon!

 Teaching Philosophy

My teaching focus is improvisational process and technique. I use a multi-disciplinary approach for teaching the process of improvisation. I invite students to draw on methods of improvisation from music, theater, drawing, and meditation as well from their every day life –cooking, child rearing and conversation. We all improvise everyday so why not bring it into our quilt making!
Modern quilting is about expanding the boundaries of the tradition without forgetting them. Improvisational patchwork is one of the cornerstones of the modern quilt movement because it drives the evolution of innovative design. Improvisation is not design but the creative process behind design, cultivating and pushing it towards the fresh and authentic.
I offer a unique approach to patchwork that doesn’t rely on step-by-step instructions for following a pattern, instead I provide frameworks for flexible patterning that support improvisatory exploration. My students walk away with a broader understanding of improvisational process and the confidence needed for  setting their own boundaries, so that they can relinquish the need for control and instead enjoy the sweet reward of working in the flow. They leave with a comprehensive set of tools empowering them to move beyond paint-by-number patchwork and beginner level improv to create with an authentic, honest voice. These tools include multi-discipline approaches to the process of improvisation, ruler free patchwork techniques, and mind tools for accessing their creativity.

2015/16 Workshops

Ruler-Free Strip Piecing, 1-day, 6hr

Participants will explore intuitive color and experiment with three methods of choosing -random, spontaneous and planned- as they create expressive and dynamic strip pieced foundation fabrics without using a ruler. The results can be utilized with stunning effect in either fixed or flexible pattern compositions. Participants will leave with multiple string sheets created in the half-day workshop. Composition options will be fully explored during the second half of the full day workshop.


Get Your Wedge Curve On, 1-day, 6hr

wedge curves by Sherri Lynn WoodGet your wedge-curve, mod-mood, groove on in this improvisational quilt-making workshop. Participants will commit one step at a time, as they explore advanced approaches to improvised patchwork and composition, develop a personal/intuitive language of color, and learn ruler-free, wedge-curve, piecing techniques.


Get Your Bias Strip Curve On, 1-day, 6hr

12761766865_224ceaea82_qGet your bias-strip curve on and celebrate your mistakes! Participants will learn the innovative ruler-free technique of bias-strip piecing on the curve, how to flatten internal bubbles as they arise, with options to apply the technique in fixed block or improvisational compositions. This is an advanced technique that takes time to master but worth the effort. Imagine the possibilities!


Get Your Curve On, 2-day, 12hr

Get your curve on in this improvisational quilt-making workshop. Learn innovative ruler-free techniques for building wedged curves and for bias-strip piecing on the curve. Learn how to incorporate both techniques without a plan, into a finished composition, by committing one step at a time while celebrating mistakes! You will learn advanced approaches to improvised composition, develop a personal/intuitive language of color, and learn advanced ruler-free curve piecing techniques. Based on the Mod Mood Quilt-along.


Modern Block Improv, 1-day, 6hr

Modern Block Improv by Sherri Lynn WoodThe goal of improvisational patchwork is flexible patterning. Participants will start with a favorite fixed or “traditional” block pattern and gradually transform it through a series of repetitions and variations. Without the use of rulers, templates or instructions to guide them, they will gain a deeper sense of how patterns evolve, while learning ruler-free patchwork and composition techniques along the way. All skill levels.


Improv Round Robin, 1-day, 6hr

An improvisational twist on the Round Robin. Free your creative energy, use up your scraps, and learn the basic skills of improvisational quilt making. At the end of the day you and everyone else will leave with a distinctive quilt top beyond anyone’s wildest imagination. There are no mistakes in this fast-paced class, only discoveries, community, and FUN! Perfect for fist time improvisers. Sign up with friends! All skill levels.


Improvisational Patchwork Doodling,  1-day, 6hr

12761888323_38c3999d83_qDoodling is the model for this playful approach to improvisational patchwork. Letting go of expectations, participants will practice building patterns with simple shapes and negative space, while learning ruler-free patchwork techniques. It is a flowing YES, AND “drawing” that accepts and builds on what comes immediately before. Like a doodle it is not planned nor is it random – it’s responsive… and plenty of fun! All skill levels.


Improvising From A Score,  1-day, 6hr OR 2-day 12hr

Floating Squares by Sherri Lynn WoodWith jazz music, a score, or lead sheet, indicates basic chord changes, and arrangements of a song without specifying how the song should be performed. Now imagine a score written to perform a quilt!  In this ruler-free improv workshop participants will explore the key concept of how to set limits to support your creative flow. Finding your flow not only feels super good, it actually replaces the need of having to work from a plan. Participants will also learn basic ruler-free sewing techniques and leave with the confidence to create your own patchwork scores for future improvisational projects.


Modern Memory Lane T-shirt Quilt, 1-day, 6hr

Modern Memory Lane T-shirt Quilt - improvisational patchwork

Break out of the traditional t-shirt logo grid and take a stroll with me down memory lane! We will be mixing our favorite t-shirts with contrasting fabric to create a series of “memory lane” sections. This method adds visual interest by fragmenting logos that hold together in readable paths of color. Techniques covered include stabilizing and sewing knits, preserving necklines, and ruler-free patchwork techniques. All skill levels.


Passage Quilting Through Life’s Transitions, 1 or 2-day, 6-12 hr, introductory workshop; 1 or 2-week, intensive workshop

This is a workshop about relationships, past and present. Working with the architecture of clothing and with materials of meaning from everyday life, participants will improvise a quilt without a predetermined pattern. This process will be the vehicle for inner work and outward expression as it reveals and orients the patterns, by which we survive, thrive and transform. All skill levels. More info at


The Rhythm of Attention, 1 or 2-week intensive workshop

Tracking, sharing, and exploring the rhythm of attention is the goal of this workshop, ideal for anyone interested in flow and the creative process. Mornings will be devoted to exploring—through group dialogue, chanting, stitching, writing, and drawing—topics on listening and engagement. Through focused experiential exercises, a variety of approaches to pattern making will be explored. We will move from exploration into practice each afternoon by making improvised quilts without predetermined patterns. All skill levels.


Group Stitching Mantra, 90min group stitching meditation, up to 30 participants

Join me on a communal, restorative journey that merges the Eastern spiritual traditions of mudras, mandalas and mantras, with the simple act of stitching. Participants will experience together the rhythm of attention and the creative impulse through  movement, vision, and voice, and will leave with feeling refreshed and renewed. Don’t miss this fun, trippy, group stitching and chanting exploration!


Improvise! Creating, Quilting, & Living Courageously, 1hr multi-media presentation

improvise! with Sherri Lynn WoodImprovisation is at the heart of living creatively. Music, dance, theater, drawing, cooking, conversation, play, child rearing, and even science benefit from the flexibility of mind that improvisational process engenders. We all improvise every day. Attendees will leave with mind tools, tips and a fresh perspective on how to apply improv skills learned in life to their patchwork – and vice versa! Includes classic African-American quilts in the improvisational style, time-lapse process videos, and quilts featured in The Improv Handbook For Modern Quilters.


Passage Quilting, 1hr multi-media presentation

Passage Quilting is an improvisational process about relationships, past and present. Working with materials that carry meaning, memory and emotions, the creative process of Passage Quilting fosters a healing heart. In this multimedia presentation, I review the traditions of memorial and scrap quilting with historical images. I also share stories from my practice which illustrate how Passage Quilting supports the bereavement and growth process we all experience during times of transition. See


It’s Daintytime!, 1hr multi-media presentation

Multimedia presentation of my journey, influences, and process as an artist, quilt maker, teacher, blogger, and craft therapist.With a year’s worth of allowance I bought my first sewing machine when I was 11 years old. I’ve been sewing with devotion and attitude ever since!



Improvise! Ruler-Free Patchwork Performance, 1hr demo –  (NEW!)

Basic strip, bias strip, wedge, curve, stack, float, repetition, flow, bleeding, darting, natural fit, approximate measuring, trouble shooting, and composition tips, tricks and techniques for ruler-free patchwork will be demonstrated and performed on the spot according to suggestions received from the audience. It’s an Improv Patchwork Theater Mashup! Attendees are invited (optional) to bring up to a 1/4 yd of fabric scraps for use in the patchwork performance. Venue provides sewing machine, ironing station, and work table.

2015/2016 Booking

I would be delighted to teach or speak in your community. Please contact me about rates and availability.


SHERRI LYNN WOOD is an artist working in Oakland, CA. She is the recipient of the Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant for Painters and Sculptors, and a two-time MacDowell Colony Fellow. She has been making and improvising quilts as a creative life practice for twenty-five years, and blogs about it at Teaching credits include Penland School of Craft, QuiltCon, and numerous modern and traditional guilds across the country. In 2016, she will be an artist in residence at Recology, the San Francisco dump, where she will begin work on her second book. Her first book, The Improv Handbook For Modern Quilters – A Guide to Creating, Quilting and Living Courageously, released by STC Craft/Abrams in April 2015 has sold more than 10,000 copies.

14 Responses to Workshop Offerings

  1. Pingback: quiltcon 2017 workshops | daintytime ~ Sherri Lynn Wood

  2. Kathie Wilson says:

    I am program chair for Amador Valley Quilters, which meets in Pleasanton & Livermore, CA on the second Saturday of the month with a workshop the following day. Would you be available in either November 2016? or January 2017? One of our members recommended you.

  3. Diane says:

    Thank you for your inspirational presentation tonight at the Quilting Guild of the Villages, here in central Florida. Never looked at improvisational quilts in the way you explained. You have opened up a whole new world to me. I can’t wait to get started on another journey into artistic expression.

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  5. Dorie Javier says:

    Would love to hear from you.
    I am the program chair of Folsom quilt guild and interested to have you to do a trunk/workshop in my guild. Waiting for your reply.

  6. Angela says:

    I took your Improv Round Robin workshop on Tuesday with the SCVQA and wanted to tell you that I had a FANTASTIC time! I’m so thrilled with the outcome of all the quilts and loved your teaching style and process. I had lots of fun and really enjoyed your concept of grounding ourselves in between and focusing right upfront.

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  8. Joan Barrett says:

    Thank you Sherri, I will share this with the Sacramento Modern Quilt Guild.( there are so many of your offerings I would love to participate in with you)

  9. Sandie Scarpa says:

    PLEASE! when is your book going to be out? We are fascinated and inspired.

  10. love your philosophy, Sherri! Would love to explore the kind of improvisational patchwork you talk about, especially the ‘mind tools for assessing creativity’. I think that is an area of improvisational quilting that has not been addressed much. And the group stitching mantra sounds like a blast! maybe one day i’ll get the chance to take one of your workshops. and i can’t wait until your book is done.

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