On Monday, I came home from school (yes, school) and traded my black heels, a copy of the Creating America textbook, and 40 tests on the Interwar years for a stack of quilts and a three ring notebook. For the past seven months, I have been teaching history again! Teaching was my first career, and still holds a dear place in my heart. I am still keeping a foot in the quilting world, however. And Monday night, I had both feel firmly planted (on TOP of the cutting table, to be precise) at Patched Works, Inc. in Elm Grove, Wisconsin. Janine and I took all of our quilts from our latest book, In Love with Squares and Rectangles, to show to a group of Patched Works' lovely customers. We had a wonderful evening browsing Julie's beautiful selection of fabrics--and patterns! She has a whole wall of our patterns!
I love showing and talking about our quilts. Especially our book quilts--I hadn't even seen many of these quilts since we packed them in boxes and sent them off to California at the post office with a sprinkling of holy water for good measure (just to make sure they'd arrive). So, in honor of the official market debut of our book in Portland in this month, I am going to talk about each of the quilts individually right here over the next few weeks.
I have to start with Berry Patch--I love this quilt! The inspiration for Berry Patch started one day as I was organizing my batik bin. I took out all of the pieces I had and arranged them by color. I of course had a fair number of greens and blues, and they made substantial piles--each of their own color. Reds--I had a fair number of those as well--but I was lacking in the hot-pink department. So, I decided to throw the pinks in with the reds. This is the moment I started wanting to make an entire quilt out of pink and red batiks. As is usually the case, I am astounded by the color variation in tonal fabrics--especially batiks--when I make a quilt with an analogous color palette. Hot pink can have many different looks--and together, I think a variety of reds and hot-pinks look stunning.
After I had amassed what I felt was enough batiks for the larger blocks in this quilt (which took a fair amount of digging through unorganized parts of my own stash, Janine's stash and also a couple of trips to the quilt store), I had only to decide what color I would make the smaller squares. The decision to use plums and purples came naturally. I couldn't stop thinking about berries when I looked over at the stack of pinks and reds on my cutting table. So, I decided rather than fight it, I would just go with a berry theme. Sometimes going with your gut reaction is the best thing. To continue the berry theme, I quilted this quilt on my long arm with a freehand stone design. It's a little time consuming, but I always feel it is worth it in the end.
We came up with three variations for each of the book quilts--the variations for Berry Patch include alternate color ways, and alternate setting options. Check out the book to see them!
If you missed Monday's book signing, Patched Works has a stack of signed copies. And, we'll be at some of the other local shops this summer. Join our facebook page for the latest news! We are also the featured artists at the Riverwalk Quilt Guild show (Naperville Quilts!) May 10th and 11th at the NIU Campus in Naperville, IL. We'll be talking about color, AND showing our quilts and patterns. Hope to see you there!