On behalf of my blogging sisters, I want to start with a huge thank you to all our readers–we hit 100,000 views in our anniversary month. Thank you, thank you and keep coming!
In my quilting life simplicity always trumps complication and that’s probably why I’ve got a taste for books and patterns for making modern quilts. Sure I love paradigm-shifting bravura quilts, but if I’m going to buy a how-to I’m going to choose something that promises easier satisfaction. For me, minimalism is welcome therapy: a lot of white space, clean lines, pared-down geometry, and a dose of quirkiness. That’s why Quilting Modern: Techniques and Projects for Improvisational Quilts by Jacquie Gering and Katie Pedersen from Interweave Press is such a pleasure—and a surprise: Jacquie has been quilting actively only since 2008 and she’s scary good!
Together (well, sort of, they managed to collaborate while living separately in Chicago and Seattle) they’ve woven an interesting assortment of techniques and block formats to deliver an instructional book of 21 quilts and home décor projects. Interweave’s party line is that the duo uses “improvisational technique to make contemporary graphic quilts,” and that is certainly true, but they’ve managed to make the improvisation doable for anyone who wants to tackle the projects.
Jacquie and Katie outline the processes they used to create the quilts and offer an interesting range of construction alternatives. The goal is not so much exact reproductions, but original quilts based on their designs. I like that approach because I’m one of those students who tends to tweak class projects to suit my own ideas—I’m a show-me-the-way-and-I’ll-find-my-destination quilter. Even if your taste runs to more directed projects, Quilting Modern offers the details you’ll need as well. There are projects appropriate for all skill levels in the book and a detailed primer on quilt making essentials for the novice.
What is more the duo delivers 7 core techniques to build a modern quilt-making vernacular. They’ve tweaked familiar blocks so they dance to a new beat, but I couldn’t help seeing similarities to Gee’s Bend “housetop” variations in some of the projects in a what’s-old-is-new approach, like the Blue Ice quilt (shown below in a detail image). That’s the ultimate reality about making quilts–traditional blocks are essentially always modern, it’s how we deploy them that determines whether the quilt’s design is timeless or representative of a particular period. Coincidentally, I just read an article in the most recent issue of Traditional Home magazine about an award-winning Southern chef named Sean Brook that described his restaurant’s fare as having “historic roots with a modern disposition.” I couldn’t help thinking that the words also describe Jacquie and Katie’s take on contemporary quilting making.
And so, if your quilt making taste runs to contemporary fare, or if you have a newbie you want to lasso into the craft, Quilting Modern is a great start (and gift).
Curious to know who won the Spoonflower giveaway? Before I spill the beans, I absolutely must applaud the many intrepid commenters who wanted to jump into designing fabric–Wow! The winner of the giveaway is JoJo!
Until next time, keep those sewing machines humming!