Saturday, March 15, 2014

Modern Quilt Perspectives: 12 Patterns for Meaningful Quilts

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Hello friends.  I cannot tell you how excited I am to be sharing this book with you today!
First, a little bit of a story.
I met Thomas at Fall Quilt Market in 2011.  Eeeeeeeveryone was talking about Thomas Knauer.  I walked up to him at the Fabric 2.0 party and simply said, "my name is Lisa Sipes, and I've been wanting to meet you."  And then, I walked away.  Ha!  Awkward?  Perhaps a little.  It wasn't until I was actually leaving the convention center to head to the airport at the end of the show that I finally got to have a conversation with Thomas.  We exchanged business cards, and I honestly thought that I would never hear from him again.  I was quite surprised when he emailed me a few weeks later.  And my quilting life was changed forever.

Working with Thomas has stretched me so far creatively, that I just can't even imagine that I would be where I am without him.  The very first quilt top he ever sent me, was the first quilt top that I ever did straight lines/ruler work on.  It didn't take long for me to realize that line-work was my true love.  But, this post is certainly not about me, so let's get the show on the road, shall we?

I'm not going to explain the point behind the quilting for ALL of the quilts in the book on this single post, but I will choose the ones that had the biggest impact on me, and perhaps discuss the others in future posts.

When Thomas first approached me about this book (I quilted all of the quilts in it, except for one that Thomas hand tied himself), the only quilt that he had in mind was Martha, otherwise known as In Defense of Handmade.  While this quilt wasn't technically the birth of our true collaborative relationship, I like to think that it was perhaps the birth of the most creatively amazing relationship I have ever, or will ever have.  He and I decided that I would do trapunto for this quilt (which in itself should tell you how much I love him), but we had several discussions as far as what exactly the trapunto should be.  For those of you that don't know, the quilt design is the bar code of a Martha Stewart mass-produced, made-in-China quilt.  The purpose of the quilt is to make a truly hand-made item based on a truly non-hand-made item.  We toyed around with the idea of trapunto-ing Martha Stewart's slogan, but I vetoed that, as it seemed extremely cheese-tastic.  It was then that Thomas came up with IN DEFENSE OF HAND MADE.  Beyond the trapunto, the quilting was left entirely to me.  I decided to do straight-line work at an angle (forming what I believe to be absolutely beautiful diamond-y plaid).  I used three different shades of thread, which no one would probably ever notice.  I also stitched the quilting at 20 stitches per inch, in total contrast to the typical 6 to 8 stitches per inch on a mass-produced quilt.  I also used three shades of thread for the outline quilting of the trapunto, to create a shadow effect.  I also did not travel in the seams of the code, but TIED OFF, every.single.line.  I wanted this quilt to be the epitome of hand-made and true love for the craft.  And Thomas did as well.  And I think we succeeded tremendously.

The next quilt I'm going to talk about is Palimpsest.  This quilt was quite literally the hardest quilt, technically, that I have ever done and likely will ever do.  The quilt design itself is a gay pride flag.  Thomas and I wanted the quilting of this one to make a HUGE impact.  The quilt itself is pretty simple, but the quilting had to really send a message.  What better way to show the purpose of the quilt than to stitch a Double Wedding Ring design onto it forming a whole new layer to the quilt?  As I'm sure you can imagine, stitching a double wedding ring onto a non-double wedding ring was really difficult as I had no real reference points in doing so.  Thomas and I disagreed a bit on how it should be done, and I very specifically remember saying JUST TRUST ME!!!  And once it was done, he sent me an email with a single sentence, "You were right, it's perfect."  Success!

Another quilt that I absolutely have to discuss is Excess.  Excess was made of blocks put together by people all over the world.  It is a memorial to victims of domestic violence.  To get the full story of Excess, you're just going to have to get the book and read the purpose behind it and let the goose bumps subside before you make the quilt yourself.  But the quilting of this quilt was the hardest *emotionally* that I've ever done.  Thomas sent me excerpts of the Violence Against Women Act, and I quilted it, verbatim, into this quilt.  As a person that has been a victim of both domestic violence and sexual assault, it took everything out of me to quilt this quilt, often quilting through tears.  It is deeply important, and when it was finished, I had to thank Thomas for "making" me do it.  It was very much a growing experience, and empowering.

Now I'm going to stop here, so that I don't give too much away.
I can't fully articulate in simple words how honored I am to have such a large part in the making of this book.  It is an amazing book for so many reasons, and each of the quilts tells a profoundly important story.  I highly recommend purchasing the book.  However!!  I'm also giving away a copy!

So leave a comment here to enter the giveaway for a copy of the book.  We will ship world-wide, so if you're not here in the United States, don't let that stop you from entering.
Good luck to everyone who enters!
Peace and love,