Improv by Amy Friend

We are so excited to present Improv, a new fabric line by Amy Friend of During Quiet Time for Benartex/Contempo and a coordinating Aurifil thread box! Improv marks Amy’s debut collection and we love that the prints lend themselves so perfectly to the beauty of her quilt designs. Greys, Peaches, and Golds are perfectly offset by Deep Rose hues and the absolutely perfect shade of Green… Chartreuse! Fans of Amy’s work know her for her unique use of solids to create modern quilted masterpieces. This new fabric line plays off of Amy’s love for solids, introducing mini prints as a wonderful range of blenders. Her coordinating thread collection is a perfect companion but also represents Amy’s go-to colors for her everyday quilting. These collections are on our Summer must-sew list!

100% Aurifil Cotton, 12 Large Spools, 50wt (1422yds/spool)
Colors included:
1147 – 2455 – 2452 – 6723 – 2420 – 2600
2610 – 1246 – 2125 – 2021 – 2315 – 4060

To view this info on our website, click here. For purchasing, please contact your local Aurifil Dealer.

What first drew you to to the world of sewing and quilting?

I grew up in a house where the sewing machine table was a piece of living room furniture, frequently opened up and used by my mom to sew clothing and costumes. My mom taught me all my basic sewing skills at a young age. It wasn’t until I left my job as a museum curator to stay home with my kids that I discovered the modern quilting movement online and taught myself to quilt.

Who or what has been your greatest creative inspiration?
I think I must draw on my both my studio art training and my art history background when I create but I do so unknowingly. I most often find creative inspiration in nature, in my doodles made while on hold, and while on my morning walks.

How did you first connect with Benartex and what do you love about working with them? Benartex reached out to me as they were hoping to grow their modern fabric design branch, Contempo. I have very much enjoyed getting to know the other Contempo designers, Amanda Murphy and Cherry Guidry, who made me feel right at home at Quilt Market!

Tell us about Improv. What inspired the designs?
My designs are small scale, modern blenders. These are the types of prints that I like to use in my quilt designs. They are geometric and modern, read as solids, and work wonderfully for paper piecing. A few designs read as a cohesive background when cut up with paper piecing seams. Another design was made with fussy cutting in mind! Also, I love gradients so I created a few gradients in prints.

Do you have a favorite project or projects made with the collection?
I really love my new Triangle Toss Quilt pattern made up in this collection and designed with my improv paper piecing technique. I also love the Snowdrop pillow. Each new project becomes my favorite!

When did you first discover Aurifil threads and what do you love most about them?
I had to look this one up (something I love about blogs–they provide a great record!). I first used Aurifil in 2011 and I haven’t looked back. I love the fine 50 weight for flat seams when piecing. I also use it for quilting because I like my piecing to be the first thing you see and the quilting to blend a bit. The thread comes in beautiful colors and the sheen is gorgeous.

How did you go about selecting colors for Improv and what excites you most about releasing the collection to the world?
I knew I needed a gradient in grey created with a series of prints. I also needed a couple of soft neutrals that included a light cinnamon color. Then I selected colors based on the quilts I have made over the last year or so. I wanted to keep with colors that were true to my taste and that I actually used frequently.



To enter-to-win Amy’s Improv thread collection AND a bundle of Improv by Amy Friend for Benartex click here to head to the Rafflecopter entry page, or simply click on the image above. You do not have to complete all the options to be entered but the more options you choose, the more entries you have!  Entries will be accepted from now through 11:59pm Eastern Time on Wednesday, July 26! Winner will be randomly selected and announced here on Thursday, July 27. Good luck!

UPDATE: This Giveaway is now closed. Congratulations to our winner, Jamie Crist Tagba!!

Improv Thread Collection
Improv Fabric Collection
Improv Blog Hop & a Free Pattern
Owl Pillow
Improv Blog Tour Kick Off and Interview

WebsiteBlogFacebookInstagramTwitter — Shop

Amy Friend is a former museum collections curator turned designer and modern quilter. She has authored two books published by Lucky Spool Media: Intentional Piecing and Improv Paper Piecing. Improv is her first fabric collection, newly released with Contempo, a division of Benartex. Amy enjoys lecturing and teaching in hopes of spreading her love of paper piecing and modern quilt design!


** Images, biographical text and interview text by Amy Friend




  1. The colors make me want to sing an Improv aria–I’m neither a singer nor a composer, but I want to sing. The Aurifil threads that Amy picked are the soaring chorale joining with the star soprano fabrics.

  2. I have not tried improv, I tend to be traditional. But, I would love to learn! I do like the spontaneity of improv.
    cork at

  3. I love the small prints, the modern look that i can still somehow pair with anything and the colors. I mainly quilt modern and these are the colors I use most. I have them on my walls used in minis hanging in my sewing room because they bring me joy. They are beautiful and can stimulate or calm depending on how you use them which is why i love them so much and use them the most.

  4. i love that improv lets me use every snippet of fabric collection i love. i also love aurifil 50 wt for piecing and quilting.

  5. I love the colors of these fabrics and the fact that they have smaller designs so they could be used as background fabrics if needed. I love using colors as my background fabrics but don’t want a huge design that will take away from the main design.

  6. I love the freedom of improv and the chance to start a concept and build with it, seeing where it takes you.

  7. What a delightful line of fabric. I like the patterns and and colors and how they work together.

  8. I absolutely love the small designs and the color choices. Thanks so much for the chance to win 🙂

  9. Amy’s fabrics are stunning. And the coordinating thread collection is a must have. I just purchased her fabrics to make Caged. Her directions are clear and concise.

  10. Improv will make great blenders, they have a fabulous amount of low volume fabrics which will go with so many other ranges. x

  11. What I love most about Improv is the calming, gentle feeling I get as I admire the colors and patterns. I know it would be just as enjoyable to sew with it! It is such a great diversion from the wild, large, crazy prints of so many modern fabrics. Love it!

  12. I just love these colors and the simple designs. They work so well together, but would be perfect blenders to add to other projects too!

  13. I love EVERYTHING about it!! I am not into modern that much, but I do see a few things once in a while that I like. I love all that you have shown, from the thread collection (love all the colors, and would use all of them), to the fabric and to her book. The colors and designs on the fabric are very appealing. Not too big, not too strong. And her quilt designs are simple, clean and uncomplicated. Just overall appealing!

  14. Improv is not boring…Even if you make many similar blocks, they can all be slightly different. Just figure out how to tie them together.

  15. The Improv fabrics and threads would go with so many things, which is what I love best about them. As for Improv sewing techniques what I love best is the freedom to just play with fabric. And the results are sometimes surprising!

  16. Aurifil nailed the thread colors with this collection. Beautiful job! I would make a quilt using the free pattern that is on her site.

  17. I love that the colors are very modern but also have a touch of romance so I can make several types of quilts

  18. I love everything about this collection! I think my favorite print is the twisted screens, and I really like the greens. Yay Amy!

  19. Wonderful line of fabrics! And the thread is lovely as always.

    Thanks for the giveaway. =)

  20. I like the small scale prints and the colors you’ve shown. If I’d picked my favorite colors of Aurifil, they would have been very close to this. Thanks for the giveaway chance.

  21. I love the modern prints and colors in Improv! And I love the Aurifil colors that go with it.

  22. I would say it is an unusual color set for me. Grey, peach and cinnamon but it is growing on me.

  23. Improv is that wonderful mystery where you often have no real idea where you’re going until you start cutting or sewing, incredibly freeing!

  24. I love the great colors and ability to use as blenders are various projects. And the thread selection is simply delicious!

  25. Like Amy I also love solid colors, I also like improv because it allows a sense of freedom. Improv is another word for creativity as it strikes a person to change the flow of to fulfill a thought,

  26. What do I love about improv? There is no right or wrong. No must-do or must-not-do rules to follow. My project becomes a one-of-a-kind creation that I can enjoy both during the process and after its completion. Total freedom.

  27. I love the colors! I especially love the green and that bright pop of deep rose. The screen, twisted screen, and molehills patterns are my favorites! This is such a versatile and inspiring collection.

  28. Love Amy’s designs and this is an especially great selection of Aurifil thread colors – my go to for everything quilting thread!

  29. I love the small prints and the different colors that I can use to make the most wonderful paper pieced blocks!

  30. Love the prints and your colors. That citron is especially sweet even nicer with those cranberried colored fabrics.

  31. I haven’t tried Improv quilting yet either..but have kinda been a “stalker” I Very interested in the free-flowing designs, & use of colors.

    Thank you for chance to win your Give-a-way too! 😀

  32. I love Amy’s paper piecing anything. With Improv, i love the soft colors and the gradient greys.
    The greys are one’s I would use in a masculine project, as those are hard to come by. Thankyou.

  33. I adore the colors and they would definitely give you the excitement and freedom of improv. They’re magnificent 😀😀

  34. I have never tried improve piecing, but it seems very liberating! I would love to try it. Just need to get a book and get going!

  35. I’m not good at improv quilting but I love to see the work of others. I think improv quilting is a real skill.

  36. I like the softness of the colors. I ready Amy’s blog almost daily. I am drawn to her writing style as well as her improve projects. Thank you for the chance to win.

  37. What a *beautiful!*, versatile collection!!
    I love the modern geometrics that won’t compete against your quilt design, but works with it, to add a richness/depth of texture!!
    And, the colors are wonderful!!… the greys, greens, golds, rose…
    (I *love* that deep rose red!!)
    Pat T.

  38. This whole collection is right up my alley. I really like the colors and the fact that the prints are small scale.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: