Saturday, May 16, 2009
Material Obsession (book review and personal condition)
It's a Happy Day when I have new sewing books to read (preferably in bed). Yesterday brought two new books for my collection and for the Little Hunting Creek Store.
First, Material Obsession. Anyone who sews has this condition. (Blessing or curse? Depends on who you ask.) The authors, who run a quilt ship in Sydney, Australia, present patterns that have modern twists on traditional quilt designs, all photographed in color. The inside cover says. "Owners of the renowned Australian quilt shop Material Obsession share 23 fresh and modern quilts inspired by traditional designs, and explain how any quilter, novice or seasoned, can create striking variations of their own." Excellent eye candy. The quilts are all ranked by degree of difficulty. There are detailed, well illustrated instructions that will walk the beginning quilter through the whole experience. I'd recommend the book for the pictures alone, but the text is very informative and full of helpful tips.
I find quilting very Zen-like. If you've sewn garments for many years, curved seams will hold no terror for you. Applique can be easy or difficult depending on your method, but I find nothing in quilting as frustrating as garment sewing can be. For example, quilters do not have to attempt trying to cut silk chiffon correctly (it slithers all over the table, defying you to keep it on grain. Cotton is much better behaved.) Quilters mostly sew cotton, which is the most pleasant, easy to sew fabric on earth. It doesn't stretch! It is easy to press, and stays where you put it. The colors and designs available for quilters nowadays are so beautiful that the quilts pictured are almost good enough to eat.
The second book is Freddy and Gwen Collaborate Again. This book is by Freddy Moran and Gwen Marston, both well-respected quilt teachers and authors of many books. Their book is full of pictures of quilts and quilt blocks and explains their collaborative quilt process in detail. The cover says, "Award-winning authors Freddy Moran and Gwen Marston reunite for a follow-up to their successful Collaborative Quilting. This time the duo uses historical quilts for inspiration and collectively gives them their own modern interpretations. Separately, Gwen offers unique insights about historical formats, while Freddy imparts her extensive knowledge about color and pattern. Then the two join forces, often using well-recognized historical quilts as inspiration for new, bold, and modern interpretations. Each author shares 20 of her own creations, along with an additional 30 collaborative quilts -- and every project comes complete with patterns for shapes, pieces and blocks."
(I have to confess that Freddy's color schemes are not quite my cup of tea. Her mantra is "Red is a neutral", hmm, maybe so, but I find too much color is a quilt distracting. I like the book and the directions, but I think if I attempted a quilt in her color schemes my head would explode.) The point of the book is how to develop a design and color system that works for you in designing your own original work. That's a good example for anyone to emulate. Thumbs up for the text, great illustrations and explanations. Plus both books inspired me to make a play date with the sewing cave and design a quilt soon.