Books – Block Party

by KateG on 29/06/2011

in Books, Quilting

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

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:

Follow on the rest of the blog tour:

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.

Disclosure: Stash Books provided reviewer Kate with a free review copy of this book. The Amazon links are Affiliate links.


howdoesshe has a post on 10 things to do with a block – if your little ones have grown past playing with blocks you can re-use them in some simple and creative ways.

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Rachel show’s us this nifty technique for creating this block. Link.

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Seems we’re about quilt blocks today at Whipup. I really love this block, don’t know if I have the patience for it, but it looks fabulous. Link. Also worth checking out some others at flickr. Link.

Picture from 100% Philistine Made. Link.