Friday, August 21, 2015

You Should Buy This Book!

Let me preface this review by saying that the author of this book is a friend of mine. With that being said, I will give you my honest opinion about her new book.

As you can see, the book is titled "Pattern-Free Quilts--Riffs on the Rail Fence Block" by Kathleen Loomis. The book is well written, has more examples of different takes on a "rail fence" quilt than you can imagine, and has a wonderful gallery of finished quilts. One of the reasons I liked the book SO much is that after reading it, I felt like, "Yeah, I can do that!" I wanted to head right to my studio to experiment with some of the ideas presented in the book, and only one other book has ever made me feel like that.

I know I have a lot of traditional quilters that read my blog. Several of my traditional quilter friends definitely do not consider themselves to be "art quilters" but have expressed an interest in making more creative quilts. I think one of the reasons they haven't done it is because they just don't know where to start. This book would be a great starting place for them.

The book isn't just for beginners, though. I have been a quilter for a LONG time. I still love looking at and creating traditional quilts, but I have been working in the "art quilt" realm for awhile now. I'd like to have a copy of this book on my own bookshelf. It inspires me to think about traditional patterns in a new, more creative way, and I'm anxious to have a chance to get into my studio to try out some of the suggestions in the book.

There isn't much for me to criticize about this book, but I do have a bit of a problem with Kathy's view on the way I happen to I do my creative work. (My method is the total opposite of Kathy's.) She says the following of (what she calls) the "plan first, sew second" approach of creating a quilt (which is MY preferred method), "I don’t like this approach, because it seems that all the fun—the creative decisions about how the quilt will look—is over before you sew your first stitch. If you know exactly how the quilt will look before you even sit down at the sewing machine, why bother? You could just as well send it out to China to be made up." Now, I have to take offense to this. I get GREAT joy, have lots of fun, and feel VERY creative working the way I do--which is to draw up my design and stitch the quilt according to my vision. The challenge and fun for me is to see if I can make my vision become a reality. I make creative decisions both when I draw up my design and when I work to make my vision come to fruition. I'd like to think my work is unique and would be hard even for someone in China to duplicate.

That being said, there is WAY more to like about this book than to dislike. The book is well worth buying. You can purchase it here.

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