Lucie Summers is a surface pattern designer with a love of screen printing and quilting. She sells her own hand-printed fabrics in her Etsy store and also designs quilting fabrics for Moda Fabrics. Lucie is well known for her improvisational quilting and has written many magazine articles about her work. She recently won third prize at Festival of Quilts for her beautiful ‘Quarter’ quilt. I asked Lucie Summers about improv quilting and what inspires her designs…
How did you get into improv quilting?
“I’ve always wanted to do things ‘my way’ and not create quilts the same as anyone else! Improv quilting appealed to me because, however hard you try, it’s difficult to replicate it exactly.”
What do you enjoy most about making quilts?
“My favourite thing is piecing. I love to just sit and stitch and see what happens. I rarely have a plan – I just let it evolve. The ideas happen when I’m actually working.”
How would you describe your style?
“Eclectic and colourful, sometimes bohemian, sometimes minimalistic. I like lots of different things and it depends on my mood so I find it hard to pin it down one style. I admire clean Scandinavian style, but I also like a vintage look, and sometimes a more monochromatic, raw feel.”
What inspired the projects featured in the book?
“I find really ordinary things interesting, like a row of pegs hanging on a line or a pile of cut logs, and I’m forever taking photos on my phone when I’m out and about – it drives my family mad! The quilts in the book are inspired by a collection of images like this and I’ve tried to interpret them in a ‘quilty’ way.”
Do you have a favourite quilt from the book?
“The quilt I’d most like to hang on my wall is the Farm Buildings quilt, but the one I enjoyed making the most is the Pavement quilt. I’ve just realised that they’re the only two quilts in the book that are made entirely with solid fabrics. I’m a BIG fan of solids!”
How do you choose your colour combinations when designing a quilt?
“I’ve always been really confident with colour and have a theory that more is more. I actually find it harder to use a limited palette!”
What is your favourite quilting technique and why?
“I love piecing curves so I’m very fond of ‘drunkard’s path’. I call my version of it ‘really drunk drunkard’s path’.”
What inspired you when you designed your latest fabric range for Moda?
“Summersville Spring was inspired by patterns found living on the farm I live on with my family. Tracks, tire treads, meadows and fences.”
Do you have any top tips for beginner quilters?
“Create what you love to do and don’t be ruled by what you ‘should’ do. And learn how to use a rotary cutter properly! You don’t need a ton of fancy equipment either – a simple sewing machine that does straight stitch and a rotary cutter, mat and ruler will take you a long way.”
What projects are you currently working on?
“Right now I’m working on samples for a possible new book, and I’m also planning classes to teach in a barn on the farm we’ve had converted into a studio called The Turkey Shed.”
What is the best creative advice you have ever been given?
“Do you know what? I’m not sure I’ve ever been given any! I remember my mum saying to me ‘measure twice, cut once’ when I was younger, but that doesn’t really apply to improv quilting!”
Discover just how simple it is to get started with improv quilting for yourself with
Lucie Summers’ book, Quilt Improv. Check out the Summersville and Summersville Spring fabric ranges from Moda or buy Lucie’s hand-printed fabrics directly from her Etsy shop. Take a look at Lucie’s blog, or follow her on Twitter and Instagram to keep up-to-date with her latest creations.