Sunday, December 28, 2008

"90-Minute Quilts" and more

Meryl Ann Butler was one of five Fairfield/Bernina show designers who co-wrote a book on wearable art. I was asked to edit the book and thus became very familiar with their design styles, their thought processes in working out garment design, and of course with their talents. The book still hasn't been published for reasons beyond our control, but I have the greatest admiration for these women. So I know about Meryl Ann's capabilities, her sense of whimsy, and her efforts to meet the standards of good art. I have also seen the original and interesting ensembles she's made since then--can't recall exact details at the moment but one was of something like an Egyptian princess--stunning and exquisite. Using these same talents, Meryl Ann has now published 90-Minute Quilts, a book of over 15 projects, most of them quilts but also bags and pillows etc., using the 9-patch. It's available in bookstores everywhere I've looked. What I like about the book are the clear instructions, clean layouts, and many diagrams, and of course the bright colors. Plus it's spiral-bound so you can keep it open by the machine as you sew.

Yes, it's a book for beginners who need some easy, fast ideas to get them started. However, I found that even a practiced quilt book editor needs a refresher course at times, and Mery Ann's book helped me get my new baby quilt made. The surprise is that Meryl Ann has included a little bit of wearable art--a luscious silk shawl made just as simply as the quilts.

She preceeds it with a velvet quilt that to me would also make a fantastic shawl. And before that we get a quilt project from Susan Deal, another Fairfield/Bernina designer, who has embroidered blocks. Now wait a minute, wouldn't that also make a great shawl--or even a jacket? This book shows you the basics. It's up to you to take what you learn and use it to make something that can end up on your back!

I'm still working on my jacket that has to be finished by Wednesday, so I will leave you with a peek at the "unpressed" baby quilt I made last summer and finished under Meryl Ann's tutelage. I didn't use the nine-patch, I was just trying to piece together images that would excite a baby. However, I most enjoyed the freemotion quilting I did at the end, making up a different design for every block. It's a bit loud for me and full of "baby" images, but now that I look at it from a distance, sure, I could have cut this up into a vest! I hope I'm giving you ideas.

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