In order to give myself courage for tearing out and re-sewing my bad quilt squares, I have been reading Quilts from the Quiltmaker’s Gift and More Quilts from the Quiltmaker’s Gift. The Quiltmaker’s Gift is a children’s book. It is not a favorite of mine because it is, in a word I learned from Feebeeglee, a bit of a glurge. The books I’ve been reading are actual quilt pattern books. (I still cannot link or show you the books. You can however see them at www.quiltmakersgift.com)
They are not books that I use much in the sense of following their directions. All the patterns are popular and traditional, so I have them all in other books anyway. The cutting directions in the QG books result in very large blocks, so that their quilts often have only a dozen blocks — not enough, in my opinion, to show the true nature of a pattern. And the example quilts are what I privately think of as “art quilts.”
It has to be private thinking because it is a very specialized and inaccurate use of the term. What I mean is, these are quilts you would have to hang on a neutral wall and admire, because they would not go with your room. Unless your room is all beige or all black, or designed entirely around the quilt.
I could be overgeneralizing here. Quilts in shades of turquoise and saffron with touches of gray, brown, and pink may fit right into your decor. But for me and most of the people I know, any quilt that takes 24 different print fabrics is probably going to clash with the wallpaper.
So if the cutting directions aren’t useful and I don’t want to copy the quilts, what is the value of these books?
They encourage different ways of looking at things. For the quilt I am working on now, for example, my 1930s quilt pattern book suggests pink, white, and rose. The Thimbleberries book (the one I am actually using for directions) alternates scrappy squares with tone-on-tone beige ones. 5,500 Quilt Block Designs shows it in plain blue and white. More Quilts from the Quiltmaker’s Gift shows examples with overdyed fabrics, batiks, and surprising settings.
Any of these ideas can make a beautiful quilt, but having all of them to look at leads to more thinking and a more creative approach. Assuming, that is, that the pieces are put together right. Which mine now are. I am back to where I was before — no actual progress, but correction is good, too.
My car is also fixed. Not my xanga, but in this life we cannot have everything.
Here is the prayer shawl, encouraging the tomatoes along. Or perhaps it is the other way around. I am not currently knitting anything else, because we have reached the sweaty part of the year, and I have to finish this shawl before it gets too hot to knit something as large as this. Even though it is not wool, you just don’t need a lapful of fiber at this time of year. So I plan to have this completed by Independence Day. And the tomatoes should be ripe by then, too, though that requires no further effort on my part.
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