Quilt Local (Weekend Reads)

One of the most common questions I get asked is "Where do you find your inspiration?" I'll admit, it is a frustrating question. Partly, because the answer - everywhere! - seems trite. But mostly because the answer itself frustrates many. So many of us seem to think that inspiration is some magical creature that touches only a select few. Like the Greeks and their Muses, that is comes from something else and not within. Poppycock!

If you open your eyes and your heart to seeing the world around you, if you listen to the people talk and the love you feel, the inspiration is right there. And if you get your butt in the sew it can come to life in a quilt.

Quilt Local, by Heather Jones, is a book that walks the reader through noticing the world around and capturing it in a quilt. It takes you through her thought process on everything from colour, capturing inspiration, designing a quilt, and decision making. For a quilter wondering how it goes from planks on a dock to a quilt, this is it.

Heather is a lovely woman, a quiet and reflective soul. I've known her through the industry for a few years now. She was gracious enough to contribute to You Inspire Me to Quilt. Her quilts are bold, even if their colour schemes are usually more muted. It is her emphasis on line, translated with large scale piecing, that gives her a unique voice in quilt design.

Where Heather is restrained and focused in her palettes, I am all over the place. Neither is better or worse, just different. In many ways I am drawn to her quilts because of this contrast. Only a handful of fabrics, muted colour ways and straightforward constructions. Not my usual more is more mentality when it comes to fabric selection!

In Quilt Local I was particularly drawn to her quilt Indian Hill. I loved the bright colours she used in both versions of the quilt. A difference for her and probably what made it more appealing to me. I also quite liked the angles of the design. What I found interesting is that when I read her construction method I was surprised. It isn't how I would have put the quilt together. Now I'm not saying her way is wrong, not at all. It is more about noticing and remembering that each of us approach a design challenge and pattern making differently, from our own experiences. It is the same with inspiration - we see the world through our own lens and what we find fascinated, another might be bored. Where we see a quilt, someone else just sees a misty mountain. The important thing is to see.

This is one of the final stops on the blog tour for Quilt Local. Check out the other posts for more inspiration and insight.

10/5: Creative Bug
10/6: STC Craft Blog  
10/10: Sew Mama Sew
10/12: Plaid Portico
10/16: Pellon
10/29: Okan Arts
10/30: Kara Sews
11/2: Crimson Tate
11/4: Dainty Time
11/9: Spoonflower
11/11: Aurifil 

A few details about the book. Heather runs through an extensive colour discussion. She also details her approach to design. It really is like sitting with her as she explains a quilt from start to finish. The photography is beautiful. My one issue is that the original inspiration image is not all that large. It is included, as are Heather's sketches, but I would have liked to have seen more of them.

One of my favourite things about the book is that Heather made two versions of each project. That means you see two different colour ways. This makes a huge difference for the reader because we are less likely to get hung up on making that quilt, or dismissing a quilt simply because we don't see the colours. It also shows us the power of fabric selection in quilt making.

My camera and phone are filled with images that may one day become the basis for a quilt. I can't stop seeing the potential. Once you open up you will indeed see that inspiration is everywhere.