Improv Hand-Pieced Curves: Fast! with Heidi Parkes

Improv Hand-Pieced Curves: Fast! with Heidi Parkes


February 1st (10am- 12pm Lecture, 1-5pm Class) - Febrary 2nd (10-4pm class)

Price $250

Members $225 with Member discount code


To the avid machine piecer, curves can be intimidating and complicated- not so by hand!  In this 2-day workshop, Heidi Parkes will guide students in hand piecing a 3x3’ or 5x5’ quilt top.  It is entirely reasonable to anticipate completing the quilt by the end of class! Students will learn to piece invisibly, and visibly to show off their handwork.  They will also learn to follow their intuition and piece improvisationally, moving forward without experiencing decision fatigue, and allowing the quilt to come into being through their subconscious intentions. 


10-noon, lecture included with the class

noon-1, lunch

1-2:30pm, intro and demos

2:30-5pm, piecing begins!


10-10:30, Intro, and a check-in with all students

10:30-12:30, more piecing!

12:30-1:30, lunch

1:30-3, piecing

3-3:20, final advice, group check-in

3:20-4, resolving quilt tops

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A few yards of fabric

  • Solids, hand dye, and prints will all work.  You may bring one of these fabric types, or a combination.

  • It is helpful to have at least two pieces of fabric that are at least a yard.

  • Bring some scraps too, they are a great place to start improvising from.

  • Bring some fabric that doesn’t feel precious, it’s easier to ‘play’ with.  40’ or 60’ cotton muslin, retired clothing, low thread count sheets, tablecloths, and anything ‘free’ is a good idea.

  • ***Choose fabrics that can hold a crease when ironed.  Polyester isn’t good at this. Some silks are great at this, and others are too slippery.  Cotton and linen are always good.

  • Thread

    • Heidi’s favorite thread is DMC pearl cotton size 8, in a variety of colors

    • Crochet cotton in size 10 is also good

    • Any thread that is mercerized, visible, and strong will also work

    • For more invisible piecing, a standard spool of cotton sewing machine thread is ideal, Heidi likes the color ‘ecru’ for most quilts

  • A thimble for pushing, Heidi likes the ‘clover grip and protect’

  • A rubber thimble for pulling, Heidi likes the ‘clover flexible medium thimble.’ A round rubber needle pulling disk will also work well.

  • Needles for sewing by hand, Heidi loves the ‘Dritz milliners multi pack’ since it’s sharp, easy to pull through the fabric, and works with thick thread

  • Pins, be sure to bring long quilting pins, and short applique pins.  These are very important in the piecing process.

  • A few safety pins

  • Scissors, a small snip scissors, and a larger cutting scissors is ideal.  Heidi loves Westcott scissors from office depot.

  • Optional: students may want to bring a mini tabletop iron and ironing surface

  • Optional: a rotary cutter and mat

  • Optional: tracing paper, or tissue paper

  • Optional: some drawings or photos of things that inspire you.  They might be photos of art, nature, people, places, animals, objects.  Try to print them, or at least put the images in a special folder in your phone, tablet, or computer.  Consider making a pinterest page. 

    • Some artists to consider are: Diana Guerrero-Macia, Anne Wilson, Xavier Toubes, Mary Heilmann, Margaret Kilgallen, Julie Mehretu, Mark Rothko, Joan Miro, Henri Matisse Paper Cuts, El Anatsui, Cai Guo-Qiang, Alex Katz, Yinka Shonibare MBE, Kara Walker, Ellen Gallagher, and Lorna Simpson

About Heidi Parkes

A highly skilled fiber artist, Heidi Parkes is a 2005 graduate of The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Active on social media, Parkes has 5,000+ followers on Instagram, and has her finger on the pulse of the contemporary fiber art world. She taught at the Modern Quilt Guild’s QuiltCon 2018, 2017 and 2016, where she has won 1st place in handwork, and 2nd place in improvisation.

Cancellation Policy and Refunds

WMQFA reserves the right to cancel any program up to 10 days prior to the event. When WMQFA cancels the workshop, lecture or event, students will receive a full refund. When WMQFA cancels a program due to extreme weather, every student will be notified, and if the program cannot be rescheduled, refunded.

In the event that you are unable to attend a program that you registered for, please request a refund 30 days prior to the program. For refund requests made 30 days prior to an event, a full refund less $25 will be provided, or you may apply your full costs towards another workshop or program. For classes over $250, a non-refundable fee of $100 will be assessed to any cancellations instead of the $25 fee. WMQFA is unable to offer refunds for programs with a $25 or less cost. While WMQFA is understanding, “no-shows” will not be refunded. No refunds will be given within 30 days.

Class transfers may occur up to 30 days prior to the class provided it does not cause the class to drop below the minimum for operation. Individuals are also welcome to send a friend in their place at no additional cost instead of a cancellation or transfer, and this can be done at any time.

If you have any questions about the cancellation policy, please contact the Education Coordinator at