Block Party – The Modern Quilting Bee, by Alissa Haight Carlton & Kristen Lejnieks
Book Site: Block Party!
Block Party is a lovely book for those who want to start quilting, but feel somewhat intimidated by the scale and precision of the craft. Alissa Haight Carlton and Kristen Lejnieks, both lovers of modern quilting, formed a virtual quilting bee, where twelve quilters from all over the U.S. shared the process of making twelve quilts over the course of a year. The book shares the patterns, color stories, and processes of making for all of the quilts, along with stories of how these quilters helped each other grow new skills and feel connected through making.
We’ll have more pictures and details from the book after the jump. Below, you can find a PDF project excerpt from Block Party – the Wonky Log Cabin quilt pictured above. It’s a beautiful, accessible project for new or experienced quilters.
Edited to add:Sorry, everyone – we aren’t actually hosting a giveaway for this book, although other stops on the Block Party blog tour were.
|Download the Project PDF
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For each month’s quilt, one member of the virtual quilting bee mailed a selection of fabrics to the rest of the group, and requested the style of block she wanted them to make. Everyone mailed back their finished blocks, and these were then assembled and quilted. At the end of the year, each of the members had a lovely quilt representing the whole group’s talents.
The group settled ahead of time on a modern style of quilting (Alissa is a founding member of The Modern Quilt Guild), and they agreed to work in what the book refers to as a “wonky” mode. The quilts in the book use a lot of improvisational piecing, which involves not worrying so much about straight lines or precise angles. While traditional quilters may find this style a little too loose, the resulting quilts have a nice freshness and energy to them.
Block Party encompasses relaxed approaches to a number of time-honored quilt block designs, including the Nine Patch, Roman Stripe, and Dresden Plate. Step-by-step photos explain how to make each block, and an illustrated chapter on basic assembly covers backing, binding, and various quilting methods. Beginners should find everything they need to dive into quilting.
What’s perhaps most interesting here, though, is the collective story of how these monthly block exchanges pushed the group to learn techniques and use colors they would have never attempted otherwise, and how these “out of the comfort zone” projects deepened their quilting practice. The quilting bee is a time-honored idea, and it’s nice to see it play out in the online space.