Block Party–The Modern Quilting Bee: The Journey of 12 Women, 1 Blog, & 12 Improvisational Projects. Alissa Haight Carlton & Kristen Lejnieks. 2011, Stash Books.
I know that there are a lot of how-to crafting books on the market, and many of them very excellent books at that. But this book is a how-to story that is sewn together with a common thread, following a journey of twelve women and twelve quilts across the United States, and bound together online by a love of colour, design, quilting and friendship.
Sewing and quilting has a long tradition of people working together to create an item together, as well as being a social event and an opportunity for collaboration and learning. Lots of quilters have evolved this traditional Quilting Bee into an online experience, where people from diverse backgrounds and locations collaborate on quilts, using the postal service and the internet to share and connect.
Block Party; The Modern Quilting Bee follows the journey of an online quilting bee ‘Block Party’ established by Kristen Lejnieks and Alissa Haight Carlton. Over the course of a year, the twelve women who belong to this online group each designed a quilt and made a block for each of these quilts. You can have a look at the blog that started it all at blockpartyquilting.com
Each quilt in this book is presented as a finished object, clearly describes the design process and the process of coordinating the other quilters in the book, and provides instructions and photographs for the reader to use the techniques to make a similar quilt block. How great is that, to have a finished quilt, a story, techniques and instructions, all in one place!
Apart from the well formatted, clear, well photographed and easy to understand techniques and projects in this book, I think that my favourite part is reading about the people behind each quilt, and the decisions each one made when she was designing the quilt. I also really love reading about the challenges that each quilter had and has overcome, some quilters were really pushed out of their comfort zone when asked to use a certain technique or colour palette, but each one felt that they had learned and become better quilters for being nudged by understanding friends. I also love the story of community, and how online friendships can be started by a common crafting interest, and can help people to create the most amazing things.
So if you are a beginner or an experienced quilter, interested in crafting groups, interested in online groups, interested in process and learning and growth and creativity, Block Party will likely give you the warm fuzzy feeling in your belly and your brain like it does to me.
Meet the quilters:
- Ashley – Film In The Fridge
- Megan – Philistine Made
- Ashley – Dogged Knits
- Rashida – i heart linen
- Jacquie – Tallgrass Prairie Studio
- Nettie – a quilt is nice
- Sarah – Looking In
- Elizabeth – Oh, Fransson!
- Joanna – Bread and Buttons
- Lisa – PinkLemonadeBoutique
Follow on the rest of the blog tour:
- 20 June Film in the Fridge
- 21 June A Quilt Is Nice
- 22 June I Heart Linen
- 23 June Tallgrass Prairie Studio
- 24 June Oh, Fransson!
- 25 June Ali Buttoned Up
- 26 June West Coast Crafty
- 27 June Connecting Threads
- 28 June Crafty Girls Workshop
- 29 June Whip Up
- 30 June Pink Chalk
- 1 July True Up
- 5 July Block Party Blog
- 6 July Anna Maria Horner
- 7 July Craftzine.com
About the reviewer: Kate is a busy mother of four with many craft projects on the go, including, but not limited to, crochet, knitting, sewing, dyeing, paper making, spinning, felting and bookbinding. Kate has challenges in the areas of finishing things, saying no and craft supplies storage. She also has a very very patient and tolerant husband.