Review Date: 7/1/11
Review Content:Twelve quilters, most from different parts of the United States, got together online for a virtual quilting bee. Carlton and Lejnieks, who organized the bee, decided to chronicle the group’s quilting year in a book. To several of these quilters, “modern” seems to mean “wonky”most of the patterns feature purposely crooked cutting and off-center piecing. A few of the projects veer into interesting territory, including a striking modern Dresden Plate and some intriguing appliqué projects. Although the patterns leave something to be desired, social networking–savvy quilters will be inspired and will enjoy reading about each quilter’s creative process.
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.
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., CRAFT, 7/1/11