Book review: Modern Patchwork by Elizabeth Hartman
Fancy learning about making quilts with modern designs, by machine? Check out the upcoming Modern Patchwork by Elizabeth Hartman - her Midcentury Modern-inspired aesthetic is the perfect complement to a colorful, casual home.
I'm an old fuddy-duddy when it comes to quilting - I love piecing and quilting my quilts by hand (or by surrogate hand - my mother often helps out!)
But if anyone could convert me to the world of the rotary-cut, overall-quilted coverlet, it's Elizabeth Hartman. I've been a fan of her designs under the Oh, Fransson! moniker for quite some time now. You may also know her as the author of the excellent Practical Guide to Patchwork.
With her second book, Modern Patchwork (Stash Books, 2012), Elizabeth blazes a wide and colorful trail for those who are interested in a less traditional approach to the aesthetic side to quilt design. Basically, if you like big bold shapes and striking colors - and you're not afraid to change tools! - this is the book for you.
The intro: In her prologue to this beautifully packaged volume, Elizabeth responds to critics who say that modern quilting techniques are exclusively focused on quickness and convenience. By upping the complexity and sophistication of the patterns we use, she argues, the modern quilter can have the best of both worlds - a gorgeous quilt that takes less than a decade to complete.
The projects: Geometrics dominate here, with quite a range from the ovals of Owl Eyes to the hexagons of Honey. I especially liked the Jetsons vibe of Happy Hour, where capsule shaped dollops of print pop against subdued solids. The occasional nods to pictorial quilting, as in the birdhouses of Neighborhood, offer a welcome counterpoint to the general air of updated Midcentury Modernism.
What else is there?: Tips on choosing and tonally grading fabric, as well as pointers on the various tools that go with this very machine-oriented strain of quiltmaking. Elizabeth dedicates a few pages just to the process of machine quilting, with a level of detail that will be welcome to those just starting out in this tricky endeavor (just FYI, there are plenty of places that will finish your quilt for a fee. Ask at your local quilt shop for details!) Also, Modern Patchwork comes with templates for the projects in the book, so you can get started without any fussy printing or tracing.
Craft type: Quilting by machine, exclusively. Quilters who want to learn how to piece by hand, or who covet a traditional block-oriented quilt will have to look elsewhere. May I suggest Quiltmaking by Hand, by Jinny Beyer (Breckling, 2003)?