weekend reads

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.

The Super Awesome Coloring Book (Weekend Reads)

If you haven't heard about the colouring book trend for adults then you are probably living like a hermit with no internet or TV and never a trip to a book store. Colouring books are HUGE. There are articles about the trend and research on the stress reducing aspects. 

When it first burst out I kind of shook my head and rolled my eyes, if I'm being totally honest. They're just colouring books after all. And it isn't like anyone who is a parent hasn't sat down to colour a million times in their life already! But, I have to admit now, I'm enjoying them. If only for the visuals.

In fact, I bet a bunch of people are buying them and not even colouring because they look so good! For quilters and other surface pattern lovers this is a boon for us probably more than anyone. We get another way to enjoy the design sensibilities of our favourite artists. 

Mark Cesarik is once such artist. He's designed some lovely fabric on top of having the cutest baby. I've enjoyed working with Mark in the past so I was happy to share his new colouring book when he asked.

Not all colouring books are created equal. Some are quite detailed, requiring super sharp pencil crayons or fine tip markers. Not to mention the patience of Job to colour them in! Many are designed around a theme - gardens, cities, mandalas, architecture styles. You name it, you can find it.

Two things I particularly like about The Super Awesome Coloring Book are, one, the varied imagery. There is no theme, just fun drawings. Some are in repeat, some are not. (The first page I went to was the mid mod chairs, of course.) And two, that the sheets are single sided. It's a small thing, but especially when you are colouring with markers that is a really nice feature.

Jenean Morrison, another wonderful artist with fabric, actually published the book. She's published her own, but is now licensing designers.

This colouring book trend has already lasted longer than I expected it to. Now that I've had some moments to sit quietly I get it. Plus, colour!