Sunday, 22 December 2013

Sunday December 22, 2013 Quilt the days away

Oh the weather outside is frightful, but cuddling under a quilt is so delightful.  After the true winter weather we’ve been experiencing, my thoughts have turned to keeping warm.  The only question was, should I delve into knitting or quilting?  As you may have guessed I chose quilting this time around.  There’s something so comforting about a beautifully crafted quilt, two layers of fabric sandwiching batting in between.  This week I have four fantastic quilting books from our collection for your reading pleasure.
First up we have QuiltEssential:  A Visual Directory of Contemporary Patterns,Fabrics and Color by Erin Burke Harris. The book is divided in to four sections:  Fabrics, Colors, Designs, and Assembling.  In each of these sections there is ample information for both the experienced quilter and the novice quilter alike. Everything from calculating quilt sizes, to embellishment options are covered in this gem of a book.  I especially like that Burke Harris features both contemporary and traditional quilting in QuiltEssential.
In preparing to write this column, I selected two books with a more contemporary spin:  Tula Pink’s City Sampler:  100 Modern Quilt Blocks and Quilting Line + Color:  Techniques and Designs for Abstract Quilts by Yoshiko Jinzenji. 
Pink’s book is reminiscent of other sampler style quilt books with a number of blocks for the quilter to choose from and some ideas of how to arrange them.  Where her book differs, is that none of the blocks have names.  The idea being that the quilter can name them as they speak to the individual.  Seasoned quilters often know the story behind favourite blocks, but Pink opens us up to creating our own narratives. 
Quilting Line + Color is entirely different.  Jinzenji provides a variety of projects with a fresh modern aesthetic.  All use an abundance of white fabric to highlight all the gorgeous bright colours one might find in one’s fabric stash.  The quilting truly adds to the effect of each piece whether it’s a simple tote bag or a full size quilt.  We are introduced to using sheer fabrics for effect and there are detailed directions on reverse appliqué.  While the quilts may not be to all tastes, this book is a treasure trove of information.  Personally, it serves as an inspiration as opposed to being simply a pattern book.  In fact Jinjenzi says in the Introduction that “If you begin a quilt with your own vision and your own design in mind, you will soon see your own unique style taking shape.”

The final book in our quilt journey is Material Obsession:  ModernQuilts with Traditional Roots by Kathy Doughty and Sarah Fielke.  This book really uses fabric to great effect.  I was instantly drawn to the Retro Starburst pattern simply due to the funky fabric used in the blocks.  While I may not be able to find that precise material what struck me was the manner in which they featured the fabric.  So many large scale prints are beautiful, but difficult to integrate into a quilt without losing more of the design than I would like.

These books can either inspire one to quilt, or merely to snuggle under a quilt and read.  From my perspective, either one is a good use of time.  Quilts can warm us whether completed or in progress.  My mother likes to piece her quilts in the summer and sit under them hand quilting in the winter.  I wish you all warmth this winter.
Ruth Hamlin-Douglas

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