Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Quilting Happiness

Do you remember I was hoping to receive a copy of Quilting Happiness for my birthday from my lovely Mother-in-law? Well, it arrived!

So, I thought I'd tell you a bit about it...

It has twenty different quilting projects for you to try. These are all lovely, as you'd expect, but not the most interesting or useful part of the book for me. Especially as quite a lot of the quilts (not all, notice!) do benefit from careful measuring, cutting and piecing. There are very detailed, useful instructions on how to make these quilts, so, for quilters out there who will take the time to work carefully through these, I'm sure the book will open up different designs to try that otherwise might seem a bit daunting. For quilters, like me, who really don't like working through instructions ever (I can't even follow a simple recipe without trying to tinker with it in some way!) then there's still some scope to recreate the quilts in our own way - although probably with far less precise results!

You probably won't be surprised to hear that the quilting project that I most want to try out from the book is titled 'The Haphazard Chevron Pillow'! Here it is:

I've got someone I'd like to make a quilt for in just 2 colours. I had already been thinking a chevron quilt might be a possibility, but I haven't been too enthusiastic about sticking to a very rigid (and possibly slightly boring) chevron pattern, so when I saw this page it seemed like the perfect solution.

But, getting away from the quilting projects themselves, the parts of the book which were more interesting to me were those that encouraged you to explore your own creative style, recognise what quilts you most liked to make, perhaps push yourself out of these comfort zones occasionally, just make you think about why you like to make quilts even. And also the parts of the book which looked at the stories behind other quilters - who maybe made quilts for charity or within quilting groups or who made very personal quilts. Lots of snippets jumped out at me from these areas of the book, for instance:
  • ideas for group projects - eg, within a group each person chooses a piece of fabric that is particularly special to them and cuts it up, so there's an equal piece for everyone. Each person will then have an 'interesting collection of fabrics that represent the whole group' and then everyone can use these in a small quilting project.
  • when making a quilt as a gift for someone - 'Ask yourself what words best represent your recipient. Look at the quilt you're planning and find a space where you can tuck these words into the design'
  • creating an online group charity quilt - choose a colour scheme and get members of the 'group' to make a quilt block each and then send them in to a central person to assemble, quilt and bind. I'd love to do a quilt for Hope Sews like this. I'd be happy to assemble, quilt and bind so if anyone out there would be interested in making a block please leave a comment to that effect and we could see if there's enough interest to get one done.
  • making a collage of colours/patterns/designs/pictures/words etc that jump out at you from magazines - to help identify your own personal style.
That's just a sample of some of the ideas that stuck with me. The last one - making a collage - was something that several amazing, quilting bloggers did in a 'blog hop' to help 'launch' the book in the Summer - have a look here to see one of these posts and find links to the others.

As far as my personal style is concerned, I think I have a fairly strong idea of what I like to create. I love to make 'pictures', either one whole picture or individual pictures within a quilt. Often this involves applique (eg bird quiltwool flower quilt), but not always (eg Sunshine Quilt). Obviously I love working with recycled fabrics, particularly wool. I generally love bright, bold colours and patterns, especially if there's a hint (or more!) of 'retro' about them. Paler, more intricate and subtle designs and patterns aren't so much my kind of thing. I also love lots of contrast with my colours. (I've just flicked through 'My Quilts' on here to see how they measure up against those statements - and yes, that all seems to fit!)

With all that in mind, it's no wonder I've been very 'happy' to start doing a little on a new quilt this week. I've started the 'tree' themed quilt that's been in my 'queue' to make for a while. And that's meant lots of sketching trees and appliquing them on to blocks for the finished quilt - perfect quilting happiness! None of these are finished yet, quite a few leaves missing for a start, but here's a sneak peek so far.

That's it so far. And I've also been doing little bits of sewing here and there on two smaller, non quilting projects over the last few weeks, so I'll be back with one of those tomorrow, Sally.

PS Don't forget - if you're interested in making a block for a Hope Sews quilt and sending it to me, then please leave me a comment and we'll see if we could get one done. They're not big quilts so it really wouldn't take many kind volunteers to do one.

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