04 October, 2014

Savor Each Stitch (Weekend Reads)

It's been a while since I posted about a book. I've been reading, that's for sure, but so busy that I haven't had a chance to stop and post about any of them! But I HAVE to tell you about this book. 

Savor Each Stitch is the recent publication by Carolyn Friedlander. It is a beautiful book and full of so much information. The book is a glimpse into Carolyn's life and the way her brain works as she makes quilts. That doesn't mean it is only a book about Carolyn though. At its core it is a quilting book, a resource.

When we write quilt books one of the first questions asked during the proposal process is who the audience is for your book. Of course we want to say that the book is for everyone! I wonder what Carolyn said when it came to her book? My read is that her fans will love it, the new or beginner quilter will be inspired, and the established quilter will look at the design and process with new eyes. I can say that the latter happened to me.

Instead of running through techniques or colour theory in a standard way, Carolyn talks about different aspects of design. She explains the concepts, then uses quilts to demonstrate what she is saying. All the projects have multiple iterations to further illustrate the concepts. 

While the book is clearly a reflection of Carolyn, her aesthetic, her process, and the quilts reflect that, it is more than that. I found it tremendously inspiring and informative. It got me thinking about fabric in some new ways, about combinations I never would have thought of. It also has me looking at my older quilts and the ones I'm working on for my intentions. Have I articulated what I wanted to with my choices, my seams, my process? This is precisely why Carolyn speaks of Mindful Design.

It isn't about tearing into a new project like a bag of potato chips - hands in, crumbs everywhere, and pure enjoyment without consequence. If we take a moment to evaluate, internally, our selections and intentions we can savour the process as much as the result, maybe even more so.

You know already that I love Carolyn's work and find it inspiring enough to work with both her patterns and fabric frequently. So it should be no surprise that I jumped at a project from Savor Each Stitch.

Having finished my Alturas top I was searching for another appliqué project. I was going to try and design my own little graphic block, but I couldn't ignore how completely awesome Circle Lattice is. This project is from Savor Each Stitch and Carolyn uses it to demonstrate the concept of Scale in the book.

It happens to come together quite neatly, like a paper snowflake. This makes it even cooler.

I chose two completely disparate fabrics. My background is a drawn illustration by Samarra Khaja, made by Timeless Treasures. There are so many little details in the fabric that it is rather fun to discover things as I stitch. I did nothing to prepare the fabric in terms of fussy cutting, so little treasures like Lady Liberty shining through here are a treat.

For my appliqué I chose one of the Charley Harper fabrics from Birch Organics. I've been hoarding it, frankly, so it was good to pull it out. As much as I love the fabric and its birds, I love that elements come and go in the empty spaces. And sometimes the birds are exactly where they need to be.

This one block will be a labour of love. It took me about 6 hours just to hand baste the thing. I thought about glueing and/or machine basting. But it seemed more cumbersome. Something about the hand stitching called to me. So I loaded up Anne of Green Gables, and the sequel, and basted away. I'm on to the needle turn and it seems faster than the basting. It's certainly more enjoyable. I'm glad I followed Carolyn's directions for basting too. It seemed redundant to go on both sides of the appliqué as opposed to down the middle, but it is making the appliqué a breeze. See, even an old pro like me has a lot to learn. And I'm glad I've let Carolyn be my teacher in Savor Each Stitch.

Now, about that missing U...


house on hill road said...

As I am sure you can imagine, I have been contemplating making this, too. I adore your fabric choices. Unexpected but so right.

Sewing In CT said...

I look forward to seeing more of this!

Lauren said...

Do you have an Amazon affiliate link? I'd use it for this recommendation.