Forthcoming in July 2014.
There are many, many modern quilting books out there, but only a few that have completely transformed the quilting conversation. Not surprisingly, they’re the work of modern quilting’s heavy-hitters, those who have earned their place in the quilting pantheon and have their names casually thrown around at Modern Quilt Guild meetings nationwide. You know them: Denyse Schmidt. Tula Pink. Jacquie Gering. Angela Walters.
We were lucky enough to score an advanced copy of Carolyn Friedlander’s Savor Each Stitch: Studio Quilting with Mindful Design at Quilt Market a few weeks ago. After poring over it for hours on end, I think I can safely argue that this book is going to completely blow the lid off modern quilting. In what seems like a never-ending stream of wonky stars and hexagons, it’s only when you get punched in the face with something completely revolutionary—print-on-print circular lattice overlays, for example, or whole-cloth, map-like hand quilting—that you realize what you’ve been missing. Listen up, people: THIS IS THAT BOOK.
Savor Each Stitch is obviously written by someone with a background in design (for the uninitiated, Friedlander has a degree in architecture), and it shows. She spends a healthy amount of space on classic design elements such as line, contrast, volume, and emphasis, with a project for each. Variations in fabric choice in each chapter help Friedlander to teach the element she focuses on: a monochromatic palette can bring out different focus points in a quilt than one with a wide range of color. All of her project designs have a quirkily modern aesthetic, both organic and architectural.
Besides her innovative designs, though, the real revolution in this book is Friedlander’s wide array of technique—including an unapologetic, mic-dropping focus on hand quilting and needle-turn appliqué. The modern quilting world very much embraces modern quilting technology, and even those who do their own quilting are hard-pressed not to do it on their machines. The main demographic for modern quilters is women in our 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s. We’re educated. We have kids. We’re busy as hell. Even as modern quilting has embraced traditional blocks and techniques, needle-turn appliqué has rested squarely in the traditional camp (my grandmother still hand-pieces and hand-quilts, and I’ve been perfectly okay with letting her be the one to do that). Friedlander’s awesome designs require these techniques to make them turn out right; she really does want us to do some serious savoring. In the modern world of go-go-go, a “slow cloth” focus is truly groundbreaking.
So: add Carolyn Friedlander’s name to the list. This is the book people will not be getting enough of when it comes out next month, and it will be the book on everyone’s lips at QuiltCon. If you’re a modern quilter, this book will eventually make its way on your shelf. Don’t believe me? Check back in with me next year, and let me know how your hand appliqué project is going.
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