East-Meets-West Quilts

When Patricia Belyea of Okan Arts first approached us about a collaboration, we were honored. We’d worked with her on a number of giveaways and had always admired her designs with Yukata Cottons. She shared news of her book deal and we started to hatch a plan. It’s been a long time coming and we are now delighted to share news of Patricia’s book in partner with Abrams, East-Meets-West Quilts.

The book is a stunning celebration of improv quilts made with Japanese or Japanese-inspired fabrics. It heralds color, showcases a variety of traditional Japanese Cottons, shares insight into Patricia’s process, and drops little nuggets of knowledge, all wrapped up into the titles and inspiration for the feature quilts. Patricia covers it all, from embracing the improv quilting process to working with Yukata cottons, from piecing to quilting to finishing… It is a marvelous and beautiful guide for anyone looking to get started on a Japanese inspired quilting journey.

We are particularly taken with the photography, done by Kate Baldwin Photography.

Patricia’s coordinating thread set includes three hues of indigo plus a selection of seven vivid colors. We are in love!

We’ll have more news on the thread set next month, including an interview with Patricia to learn more about the book, her inspirations, her creative journey, and her new found love for Aurifil threads. Today, we’re thrilled to have an opportunity to show you a bit of the book… and of course, there is a giveaway!

Sakura Spring by Patricia Belyea

“The Japanese flock to see cherry blossoms, known as sakura, in early spring. They adore the clouds of delicate pink overhead and see the season as a new beginning– a time for optimism and hope.” [from East-Meets-West Quilts by Patricia Belyea published by Abrams ©2017]

[from East-Meets-West Quilts by Patricia Belyea published by Abrams ©2017]

Hidden Wonders by Patricia Belyea

“Off the beaten path, you can encounter many strange attractions in Japan. How about the Parasite Museum, an island inhabited by cats, a town with more life-size dolls than residents, and a nightclub made totally of ice?”

[from East-Meets-West Quilts by Patricia Belyea published by Abrams ©2017]

Nori-P by Patricia Belyea

“Teenage pop singer Nori-P (Noriko Sakai) exploded onto the JApanese music scene in 1986. At that time, many novelty yukata cotton designs featured her autograph– a cartoonish little man with three haris on his head.”

[from East-Meets-West Quilts by Patricia Belyea published by Abrams ©2017]

Kabuki by Patricia Belyea

“Kabuki, a classical Japanese dance-drama, was first performed in 1603 by a shrine maiden in a dry riverbed of Kyoto. The dramatic style became popular, first with all-women troupes and later with men laying the male and female roles.”

[from East-Meets-West Quilts by Patricia Belyea published by Abrams ©2017]

These are just a few in the gorgeous lineup of quilts and we so adore the bits of information that Patricia has collected to inspire and accompany her quilts. We can’t recommend this book enough!


We are thrilled to offer a pretty awesome giveaway in celebration of East-Meets-West.  To enter to win 1 copy of East-Meets-West by Patricia Belyea for Abrams, 1 yard of Yukata Cotton from Patricia Belyea, and 1 Small East-Meets-West Thread Collection by Patricia Belyea for Aurifil, please leave us a comment on this post answering the following question:

Have you ever made an improv quilt? 

Entry is open until 11:59pm on Wednesday, November 1. We’ll pull a random winner and announce here on Thursday, November 2. Giveaway is open to all, including all of our International friends. Book + fabric ship from the US, Threads ship from Italy — so the winner will receive two separate packages. Good luck!

East-Meets-West Giveaway Tour!
There is an amazing group of industry influencers involved in a series of giveaways for East-Meets-West. So many chances to win — so many fabulous designers!!
Pat Sloan (giveaway closes Nov. 1)
The Quilt Show (giveaway closes Nov. 1)
The Crafty Planner (giveaway closes today, Oct. 20, at 12pmPST)
Modern Sewciety  (giveaway closes Nov. 1)
Victoria Findlay Wolfe (giveaway coming!)
Denyse Schmidt (giveaway coming!)
Heather Jones (giveaway closes Nov. 1)
Blair Stocker, Wise Craft Quilts (giveaway closes Nov. 1)
Susan Briscoe (giveaway coming!)
Jane Sassaman (giveaway closed)

Lovely designers, we salute you! Thank you for your help and participation! To Patricia, Congratulations!! <3


  1. I have not made an improv quilt but would love to give it a go. This book looks like inspiration.

  2. I have done some pretty Reginald designs but I don’t think that qualifies as improv. I’m always pushing myself to try new things though and I think this book would be very inspirational

  3. I guess you could call a few of my own design quilts improv, though most are based at least loosely on traditional patterns. This is an amazing giveaway, that book is a winner! I’ve loved yukata fabrics for a long time and it would be such fun to actually have a chance to work with some.

  4. I love improv quilting, as it allows me to be creative throughout the quilting process, not just in the planning and the final quilting itself.

  5. I have never made an inprov quilt and am curious about them they are everywhere online now. I would love to win the giveaway.

  6. Hi There, Never made an improv quilt. Not sure I have the confidence yet to attempt this? LOL
    Thanks so much for the giveaway!

  7. Haven’t made one yet. I’m always scared to start. But I’m sure this book would help! Great give-away!

  8. I have not made an improv quilt, but this book will inspire me to do so! And what lovely thread!

  9. I’ve only made one improv quilt so far. I had a gorgeous panel with a peacock on it and I surrounded it with Japanese lanterns & I used pebbles on the bottom to make it look like an Oriental Garden. It came out beautiful!! I love the Asian Fabrics & would love to win a copy of Patricia’s book with the threads & fabric. Thank you for the chance to win!

  10. I belong to a small group of ladies that experiment with techniques. We have made improv quilts in our journey and it is quite a wonderful experience, I love mine.

  11. No, I haven’t made an improv quilt per se, but I do respond to my muse as I work. Does that count?

  12. The closest I have come to an improv quilt was a round robin that evolved far bigger than originally planned.

  13. I’ve made more than one improv quilt. I have a piece of Patricia’s fabric that I plan to use for same. Lots of ideas in my head to move this forward. Thanks for the giveaway.

  14. I haven’t made an improv quilt. This book and all are cool! angielovesgary2 atgmail dotcom

  15. Well….. many of my quilted pieces turn into improvs!! Lol The book, fabric, and thread are awesome❤️❤️❤️

  16. Yes, I have made an improve quilt. One day I just decided to close my eyes and open my mind when reaching for fabrics……..just to see what may show up. Sometimes I think your muse or subconscious just wants to have fun. Let it loose.

  17. No, I have never made an improv quilt. But it looks interesting, and I am thinking it might be something for me to try.

  18. I have made an improv table runner. Japan is on my bucket travel list, and I have been collecting Oriental fabrics for about 10 years! This book would give the push to -gasp!- use them. I took a class from Pepper Cory on Sashiko at Cincinnati IQF…do you see how enamored I am?

  19. I love improve. I have made several wallhangings. I have used hand dyed, Indigo and commercial fabrics in my pieces.

  20. No I’ve never made an improv quilt but I think I would like to try, I think it would help stretch quilting muscles.

  21. No, I have never made an improv quilt but the concept sounds like something I am really keen to try. Thank you for a great giveaway!!!

  22. I have not made a whole improv quilt, but I have played around a lot trying out different improv styles. I would love to have this book (and the lovely fabric & thread) because I have a stash of Japanese fabrics and I’d love to experiment with them!

  23. Yes I’ve made several improv quilts and I have a
    Large collection of Japanese fabrics that I can never figure out how to use. The book is beautiful an$ I’d love to win it.

  24. No I haven’t made an Improve quilt. They look like fun so I will have to add it to my quilt bucket list!

  25. This is inspiring, but I haven’t made an improv quilt yet. I would love to try, as her fabrics are lovely. Thanks.

  26. I’ve done a few improv projects which evolved when the right fabric wasn’t to be found in my stash and have generally “broken out of the mold” in terms of colours and mixing fabrics to do something new and exciting – just to surprise my friends at our show and tells!

  27. I haven’t made an improve quilt yet but it is on my list for next year. Interestingly, I recently pulled out some Japanese kimono fabric that I have had for more than 30 years. Some of these are samples. Trying to figure out something to do with them that preserves their beauty.

  28. Beautiful book! My improv has been limited to using left over fabric pieces and block mistakes from the front of the quilt I made for for my sister’s grandson and using them in a totem-pole I designed on the back.

  29. I’ve been working with improv more and more. Back in the ‘90’s I made two quilted jacket that were improv but I’d didn’t realize that’s what it was called. I just used pieces of fabric and arranged and cut them to fit together using what I had. It’s fun if you don’t get too wound up in perfection.

  30. I have never tried an improv quilt, but it is definitely a style that I would love to learn. It would be a perfect addition to my journey to build my business with art quilts!

  31. The only time I’ve attempted an improv quilt was at a retreat. I had terrible back pain and didn’t finish it. Everytime I look at the pieces it brings back painful memories 😞

  32. No I have not made one this is the first time I even heard about one but would love to try make one.

  33. Yes! For my daughter’s 40th birthday, I made 5 large quilt blocks, each designed for an important part of her life. The rest of the quilt I added fabrics in her favorite colors and I free motion quilted each area with no preplanning, just inspiration from the fabrics! Lots of fun!

  34. I have not yet made an improv quilt but I believe I am ready to bust out of my traditional painting, sewing and quilting. I have begun adding unusual elements to my sewing and begun a mixed media project including painting. Quilting must be my next improv breakout!

  35. One time, I made an improv quilt, it was a middle quilt but it was beautiful 🙂 Thanks for a chance to win

  36. Yes! I love improv. It looks cool to slide a couple of traditional blocks into the mix to add interest.

  37. I have made several improv quilts. I am constantly being told that I quilt “outside the box” that is because I don’t know what the box is. I’ll get an idea in my head about an idea or try to figure out how to use fabric I love. And off I go!
    I love the creative aspect of quilting…making art through fabric.

  38. Not really, though I’d like to. I’ve started out with improv a couple of times but ended up with more traditional structure.

  39. I have played with making 2 small improv quilts which was quite fun. I want to try more. Thanks for adding inspiration!

  40. I made an improv mini quilt to work through the technique. I will certainly give improv a try again to work on making a quilt.

    tushay3 (at) yahoo (dot) com

  41. I’ve never made an improv quilt, but I once used the small leftover pieces of a quilt to piece improv blocks for the backing. To this day, the backing is still my favourite part of that quilt!

  42. Yes, I have made an improv quilt and enjoyed the process and the results. AND I’ve been lucky enough to take a class from Patricia, surrounding by bolts of beautiful yukata cottons. She’s a great teacher! So happy to see she’s published this book.

  43. Until I saw this I had never heard of an “improv quilt”, but the definition of the word it implys freedom of expression. What a fascinating idea, I wonder if I have that ability? I would love the opportunity to learn something new.

  44. I have made a few Improv blocks, but have not done enough to put into a quilt. It is a fun technique!

  45. I have never made an Improv Quilt. I think it would be fun to try though. I tend to lean towards traditional quilts which are my main comfort zone. This book and give away look wonderful. Thank you for offering the giveaway!

  46. I had the opportunity to learn curved piecing from Patricia a couple years ago. I think many of my quilts are improv!

  47. Well a lot of my work seems improv as I am not sure how it will turn out , but I really have not made a start to finish improv quilt.

  48. Oh that book and fabric look gorgeous. No, I havent made a full imptov but Pats book would give me the push I need to get started.

  49. Yes I have done improv quilting but mostly to make the backs of my quilts more interesting. This looks like a lovely book to inspire!!

  50. I’ve recently made 2 improv quilts in response to my quilt group’s paint chip challenge. Well, actually only the tops so far as I have to decide on the quilting. I only make my own designs and quite a number of them have included improv-style elments.

  51. Yes I am just working on an improv quilt made of scraps of Yukata cotton from Okan Arts and some cotton prints from my own stash. The center focus is a turquoise slice of Yukata with dragonflies. This central piece is surrounded by print on print combos of scrap yukata cotton squares with a path of creamy brown cotton followed by 3.5 inch x 1.5 combos of the remaining scrap around perimeter topped with a light gray floral. The intention it to finish the perimeter of the quilt with Garden fence blocks. The back will be the creamy brown cotton with a large scale Japanese inspired garden gate. Taking my time and deciding whether to start the machine quilting of the top and back separately to highlight the central focus ( dragonfly panel and garden gate.) The thread set would match perfectly!!

  52. No improv quilting as of yet, Pat’s supply of Yukata cottons and her new book are inspiring. I have some of the cottons hanging in the studio from a visit to Seattle last year, they haunt me to be used but are so beautiful as long lengths.

  53. I’ve never made an entire quilt using improv, but I’ve tried with smaller pieces. The Okanarts and all the big, bold fabrics that carry. Would love to win one of the books. Thanks

  54. Since I discovered this “technique” I have only done improvisational quilts. I am now making the 3rd one. I am in love with it. Thanks for letting me participate.

    1. Congratulations!!! You are our winner for this giveaway 🙂 I’ll email you directly to coordinate shipping!

  55. Yes I have made 2 improve quilts ! Used some yukata fabric! Very Asian/Japanese . It would be so wonderful to win! Thank you for giving me the opportunity to take part in the contest!

  56. I’ve made slab blocks/quilts which are a form of scrappy improv but would love to explore it more.

  57. Yes, if looking at a picture of an improv quilt and randomly sewing scraps together until there is a resemblance can still be considered an improv quilt!

  58. Lovely article. My quilts to date have been patterns. I reconnected with my sewing machine just over a year ago and have been diligently storing scraps for improv purposes. Will be fun!

  59. I’ve admired improv quilts, but have to fight my perfectionist tendencies and my love for order to attempt them!

  60. I made a table runner once which was great fun. Haven’t made a quilt yet but some of my quilts change from my original plan halfway through. Book looks great

  61. I have made blocks for an improv quilt, but have not finished it. For. A guild block swap I made a few blocks.

  62. I am currently in the process of making two improv quilts; one I’ve decided needs to be a bit bigger and the other is in pieces on my design wall after taking an improv class.

  63. I haven’t made an improv quilt yet but ideas are swimming in my mind. Maybe a book with Japanese ideas would help as I love Japanese fabrics and ideas. thanks for the opportunity to win this book

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