Tuesday 19 April 2016

AHIQ - pushing the boundaries

It's been a while since I did an AHIQ "why don't you try this" post but I am prompted now by the arrival of this:

As a regular visitor to Julie's blog (http://quiltdivajulie.blogspot.co.uk/) I was already an admirer of her free pieced barns so have been looking foward to seeing her book describing both the journey she went on in making the See Rock City quilt and her methods for free piecing.  

So what do I like about this book? I love Julie's attitude to inspiring the reader. She gives us, in detail,  her techniques and thought process but at every stage encourages us to do our own thing.  I particularly like the injunction to take off the spine, ring bind the pages and write all over them (though as someone who was brought up NEVER to write on books I will have to work on that part). 

I like that she works scrappy - seeing that as an approach that leads to creative solutions.

I liked being able to read the story of See Rock City all the way through, following the success and the glitches on the way to the final quilt.  I actually read this straight through in one sitting, even though I'd only opened the book for a quick first peek.

I like that she walks us through the making of 4 barns, step by step.  This is both a great project for those who want it, but also I found helped me to get to grips with how she breaks down her initial sketch into individual units for the piecing.

The best thing I can say about any quilting book is that it inspires me, makes me want to go out right now and make something and Build-a-Barn has got my head whirling with ideas.  This leads me on to the "why don't you" part of the post.  Julie looked at an existing strand in quilting (the free pieced house) and re-imagined it to fit her own tastes and interests.  Another book out this month, by Lara of Buzzin' Bumble (of which more another time) resulted when Lara couldn't achieve the effect she wanted using traditional applique techniques, so invented a new one.  

We can't all be trail blazers, but the challenge, I think, is to look beyond the obvious and not to say to ourselves "well, I'd like to make it look like this, but I don't know how to get that effect", not to discard aspects of quilting as not for us (I am guilty of having thought this about EPP, but this instagram feed has recently been making me think again).   There are so many techniques in quilting and indeed in other forms of sewing, like garment-making that we could regard as options for improv, tools to enable us translate the ideas in our heads into fabric - let's be encouraged to keep pushing the boundaries. 


Quiltdivajulie said...

Thank you, Kaja -- especially for "getting it" and also for taking the time to share your thoughtful and encouraging responses. I love that Build a Barn has inspired you and I can't wait to see what you create!! (for even more inspiration, be sure to watch for the Secret Society of Barn Builders' Blog Hop that starts next week featuring the quilts in the book's gallery)

Paulette said...

Thanks for the review, Kaja! Looking forward to perusing Julie's book soon.

Monica said...

You know, I try to stay in my own corner of the internet, because I am far, far too distractable. But, I've already been thinking about improv houses, and now you are telling me there are books. Arrrgh!

Mystic Quilter said...

What a smashing post Kaja! You have obviously read more of the book than I have at present, I have yet to get into the detail but intend to get busy pretty soon!

Lara B. said...

Julie's book really inspired me too Kaja! Her methods can be applied to all kinds of improv and free pieced quilting. An her story about how "See Rock City" came about and evolved was fascinating. I've been having fun already scoping out barns for inspiration.
LOL, thanks for grouping me with trail blazers Kaja! What a wonderfully exciting thought!
Now I have to go see that Instagram EPP feed you mentioned. :)

Ann said...

You make me want to read this book. Soon! And you're so right about finding alternative ways to get the effects we want and keeping our minds open to the many techniques we could use.

helenjean@midgetgemquilts said...

Good review and interesting project Kaja . I love the idea of the improv in the barn blocks

Sue said...

Great post! Well, now there are two new books on my wish list! Your comments are spot on, about ideas we have in our heads and being open to different ways to accomplish them. I've had an elusive vision for months and months, and still have not found the right technique to accomplish it. And yes, I have certainly found that my background in clothing pattern making and construction serves me very well in both traditional piecing and improv. Looking forward to reading Julie's and Lara's books!

Shelina (formerly known as Shasta) said...

It is easy to discard aspects of quilting - some don't fit our "rules" (raw edges aren't proper, seams must match, points must be perfect), and some are techniques that are difficult at first try (needle turn applique, EPP, paper piecing, etc.) but you are right, some perseverance and ingenuity and you will find a technique that will work for you. Great review.