Improvisational quilting is about creative self expression through craft. Sherry Ann Byrd's family has been expressing itself through quilting for six generations. They love music and embody it with a needle and thread using mismatched pieces of fabric to create jazz portraits. These chaotic creations are beautiful in their own right but legend has it that some improvisational quilts also tell unique stories.
One popular story was that when a particular sort of log-cabin pattern quilt was hung outside, it indicated a safe house on the Underground Railroad. Another claims that improvisational quilts had escape routes mapped out on them, either in topography or star patterns.
These unique folk art quilts are finally receiving recognition as works of art after being dismissed as unskilled work for many years and there is now a booming collectors' market for improvisational quilts.