A review of “Growing Up Modern, 16 Quilt Projects for Babies and Kids”

When my fabric addiction began about a year ago one of the sites that contributed to my demise was the very delightful Cluck Cluck Sew, a blog by Allison Harris. I was lead there by a link from another site to her Raw Edge Circle quilt.  I still haven’t made that quilt, although it remains very high on my ‘must do’ list, but instead I made my first ever patchwork quilt (shown in my last post) by using her Star Blocks tutorial.  I have been a bit of a fan/groupie/stalker ever since.  I really like her approach to making quilts – instead of stressing about not perfectly matching every point, etc, she gives you permission to wing it a bit, to make some mistakes but celebrate the overall effect.  This was just what I needed when I was starting out – permission to experiment.

So when I saw that she was releasing her first book, I thought it was time to buy one, instead of just collecting ideas from the internet.  That “old fashioned” feeling of paper and pictures to pore over just can’t be replaced by touch screens and brilliant colours.  So I put my pre-order in on-line and sat back to wait.   And wait.    And wait.  But finally this week (quite some weeks after the book was released) my online bookstore finally sent it to me!  So tonight I am writing my first ever review of a quilting book!

My very first impression was about the way the book is presented.  There are lovely clear pictures with clear, simple colours.  There is nothing ‘fussy’ about this book – and really reflects the style that Allison shows in her blog.  The layout is easy to follow with a chart for yardage, for cutting, for block assembly and for quilt top assembly.  It appears to flow really well.  Many of the patterns are more than suitable for a  beginner, and with this layout, would be a good start for anyone wanting to dabble in patchwork quilts.

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My second impression was that the blocks she has chosen are appropriate to use for children and babies, but through their modern simplicity can also be adapted to use for adults.  So the book is not just aimed at young people.  Following on from that, I LOVE the fact that her quilts for children do not involve cutsie little teddies and duckies and other things that mean that the quilt will forever be a baby quilt.  Instead, by using simple lines and clear colours, she makes patterns for quilts that are beautiful pieces of art that can be used for many years.  I am very fortunate that my mother made my three chicks their ‘baby quilts’ following a similar approach – so they have not grown out of them and now use them as lap quilts for lying on the couch, or in building forts and don’t think that they are in any way ‘baby-ish’.

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The book starts off with chapters on how to cut and piece blocks, and then on how to assemble quilt tops.  This is written with great simple tips, and doesn’t over-complicate the process.  One of my favourite things about the book though, is chapter 3: “Quilting when you have kids:  Finding the time and keeping it fun”.  The very fact that she thought to include this chapter is one of the reasons that I enjoy her work so much – and the way that she encourages us to break it down and find a few minutes here and there is simple and sensible and (from my experience) works!

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Oh look – the raw edged circle quilt is there!  Hooray!!

The quilts themselves are modern and funky.  Nothing like our grandmothers would have made us and yet they still retain the beauty of those old quilts.  They are still made with love in each stitch, are used and cuddled and loved, and give children a special sense of belonging.

I could chat on for quite some time about this book but my simple recommendation is that if you are thinking of starting to do some quiltmaking, or already know how but want some modern simple designs to work with, then this is the book for you.  As a bonus, it looks good sitting on the coffee table too!

In other news, I have almost finished with the dreaded burgundy polycotton!  All the tunics are made, the capes are made, and the ‘bling’ is attached to the tunics for the characters of Paris and his ‘crew’.  I am quite happy with the way that they have turned out – especially considering that the capes are made from donated sheets -a burgundy satin one and a yellow cotton one, just sewn together and overlocked around the edges!  Tonight I will finish sewing the capes to the shoulders of the tunics and then I will be done (for now!)

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So now I get to think about my next project.  I am almost overwhelmed by the possibilities!  Do I start on a quilt (perhaps using one of the patterns from my new book), or make some more bags.  Do I start on things for the school craft stall so that I am not overwhelmed at the end of the year, or do I think about designing new ‘things’ for my shop.  Choices, choices, choices.

First things first though.  A few more days of school and then the chicks are off to visit their grandparents.  Once they are safely delivered I will have a much clearer head.  At the moment I can only think as far as the drive!  Someone asked me what I would like to do on the weekend and I just looked blank – I can’t think that far ahead at the moment!

I am just hoping for some sun.  We have been covered in fog here for a bit too long.  Yesterday the sun didn’t break through at all, all day!  So it was cold, miserable and grey.  The thought of a trip to a tropical island is becoming more alluring day by day!

I hope that you are having sun wherever you are!

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