Crafty Classics: Quilting with the Muppets

henson.jpgAbove: Jim Henson, a massively crafty dude, with fellow puppeteers early in Sesame Street history.

The folks here at Crafty Crafty all have massive libraries of well-loved craft books, and I'm no exception. But I am always discovering new books, often courtesy of my local public library. And there are some are real craft classics, books that might not be in print or brand-spanking new but which are worth searching out because, well, they're darn cool.

quilting_muppets.jpg Left: Quilting with the Muppets.

Recently, I encountered a real crafty classic: Quilting with the Muppets (C+T Publishing, 2000).

How have I missed this book for so long? Any fan of the Muppets, and of Sesame Street in particular, will love this collection of craft instructions and personal stories from the Muppet crew.

What's it about? First off, Quilting with the Muppets teaches you how to make a Muppets quilt, with each of a variety of characters from Sesame Street given their own square.

Second, it introduces the reader to the wonderful tradition of the friendship quilt, by showing how the Sesame Workshop artists have honored births, deaths and retirements with individualized quilts.

We see quilt after quilt in which every block is different, each being made by a different member of the Muppets community. And we're talking about the real people who put together some of your favorite childhood shows, from puppeteers to puppet builders, from photographers to body costume makers.

You'll also find out cool Muppet facts, like that Big Bird is as well-loved in China as he is in the USA.

One thing I like about this book is that plenty of the people who made blocks in Muppet friendship quilts didn't know how to quilt or sew - but they did their best, and made some pretty memorable craft projects, despite their lack of quilting experience.

The projects: You'll learn how to make quilt blocks with portraits of Ernie, Bert, Rizzo the Rat, and many more beloved characters who will make any child - or Muppet-obsessed adult - smile. Importantly, you'll also learn how to make a quilt using some offbeat materials: chiefly fake fur and metallic fabrics.

finished-quilt.jpgAbove: a finished quilt by dedicated Muppet-head, Roxy Nova.

What else is there? There's a short instructional guide on the basics of this slightly more sculptural, applique-based form of quilting. There are also, in the friendship quilt gallery section, plenty of behind-the-scenes stories about the people who made Sesame Street possible.

Most are for happy occasions, like the birth or adoption of a child. There's one that's sad: it was made for Richard Hunt, a colleague who died of AIDS. But they're all a previously private part of Muppets history, now generously shared with us fans.

To top it all off, there's even an introduction from Jim Henson's daughter, Cheryl, who's made a Muppet quilt square herself.

Craft type? Quilting and appliqué dominate - this is a very focused book, meant to highlight an intriguing aspect of the community behind the Muppets, and the friendships that held that community together through personal and professional changes.

To find this and other out-of-print books, check out Alibris, Ebay, Abe Books, Powell's or Amazon Marketplace.

[Image of Jim Henson via the Muppet Wiki.]

Crafty Classics: Quilting with the Muppets - Comments

  • Wow, looks like a fantastic book, want, want, want!

  • ellenlindna

    You won't regret it, Emma - and please let me know if you have ideas for future Crafty Classics!  So much great stuff out there...

  • deadlyknitshade

    I just bought it! Eek! Thanks, Ellen. :)

  • ellenlindna

     Ha ha...my pleasure!

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