I acquired this book a few weeks ago. It crept into my Amazon basket I'm not entirely sure how. (That's my story and I'm sticking to it. ) The Gentle Art of Quilt-Making 15 Projects inspired by Everyday Beauty by Jane Brocket.
I really connect with this book. There is an uncomplicated, calmness about her approach to patchwork and quilting which is really filling a need for me just now.
I love her description of how for years she just admired quilts feeling that it was far too complicated, much too difficult, a craft with too many rules for her to even begin. She shared these feelings with a friend who more or less told her to 'get on with it.! So, she did. She faced her fear of getting it wrong and went for what was possible.
I like that. Sometimes when you want to learn something new, acquire a new skill, I think you do have to be brave enough to get stuck in. There's a danger of you can denying yourself a lot of simple pleasure by being uncomfortable about getting it wrong, afraid of needing to ask for help just in case we seem foolish.
One fantastic thing about craft blogs is that they always provide somewhere to find answers and often someone you can talk to when you're stuck.
Jane talks about how she learned to enjoy the process of piecing and quilting. How she became able to focus on her fabric and colour choices once she freed up her mind by sewing 'simple, timeless and often childlike quilt patterns' , playing with simple designs and learning to fill them with colour and pattern. Rather than getting hung up on the precise 'jigsaw' type construction of some block designs, which had prevented her from ever getting started in the first place.
There's no surprise therefore that the quilts in this wonderful book are are based on strips, squares, squares set on point and triangles (in probably the most complicated quilt called the Amaryills.) The beauty in her designs are achieved by the fabrics she uses to create large, bold sweeps of pattern and colour.
She is inspired by the fabrics of Kaffe Fassett and has a similar kind of colour wash approach to her designs that you can see in his work. Kaffe's aren't the only fabrics she uses though, you can can spot fabrics from Heather Bailey and Amy Butler and fabrics from many other designers which she names just in case you wish to try and reproduce her quilts precisely.
At the beginning of reach quilt recipe she explains her choices; the colours, the fabric patterns...
...what it was which inspired her to create it in the first place...
...and how she went about constructing it.
This 'narrative' or quilt story is important to her. Jane likes that connection that the craft gives to all those quilt making women of the past. That's another part of the attraction for her. Quilt making has a very 'social' history, women often came together in groups to sew and to talk, thus memories, hopes and wishes have always been sewn into quilts. Jane makes it all seem so possible and I think that is really liberating. The whole tone of the book is 'you can do this ...' and as a result I've even started to quilt by hand. Not a death defying 'craft' leap I know but I've always believed it to be too slow, too difficult. Well, it isn't! It's wonderful! I like the texture, I like the sitting and doing, I like the way it stills the mind and soothes it after long days. If you get a chance to look at this book for yourself you won't regret it.