For popular blogger and designer Katy Jones, quilting is an ancient art. She hails from the UK, where patchwork and quilting date back as far as the 15th century. And although some may categorize Katy’s design sense as “modern,” she shies away from the label. In the introduction to her new book, 25 Patchwork Quilt Blocks, she eloquently addresses the traditional vs. modern debate:
“A slight divide has developed between what is considered modern and what is considered traditional, but there is no reason why anyone should have to choose a side. This isn’t a team-based competition—it’s just for fun! To me, modern quilting is as broad a term as traditional quilting. What is modern? Is it wonky or improv piecing, or using a large amount of negative space and neutral solids? Rather than using the term modern and pigeonholing what I do, I like to consider we are all nowadays quilters. We may prefer a more traditional or modern style, but we all make the same thing—quilts—and we all love the same basic process. There’s room on the quilt bus for everyone, and much to be learned from each other.”
What Katy doesn’t shy away from is using fabrics with graphic pops of color, along with choosing patchwork blocks that promise big impact with little effort. We’re excited to have Katy as a guest at Stitch This! today—our first international guest blogger!—to introduce herself and her fun new book.
Projects from Katy Jones, via Flickr.
I’m really excited to be able to share my first book, 25 Patchwork Quilt Blocks, with you today and to tell you a little bit about myself for those of you that have never “met” me before.
My name is Katy Jones and you can find me over on my blog Monkey Do. I’m English born and bred and live in a small village in a beautiful part of the UK called West Yorkshire with my husband, teenage daughter, and seven-year-old son (as well as a couple of lazy, spoiled cats and a Chihuahua). Where I live it is very green, just like the rest of the UK—we get a lot of rain, which is good for the plants and for keeping things nice and green, but not so great if you like the sunshine!
I’ve been quilting for just over five years or so, and when I first started I made a lot of 6″ blocks. I found they were a great way to practice techniques and to become familiar with how quilting worked. I learned from the Internet and from books (my favorite books were, and still are, basic block books). I still enjoy making those 6″ blocks. So when the time came to write a book, that was exactly what I wanted to do.
I love traditional quilts and the tradition of quilting as a whole. There is so much history in quilting and for me that’s the big draw. Not much has changed over the hundreds of years since patchwork and quilting first started. We still follow the same principles and still use those first blocks that our ancestors designed all those years ago.
For me there’s nothing better than a traditional quilt made modern with fabric choices. We have so many amazing fabrics available to use these days, and as tastes and fashions change, so do our quilts. Just like the clothes we wear, you can tell the approximate age of a quilt by the fabrics used. In 20 or 30 years’ time we can look back on some of our older work and wonder what on earth we were thinking using those fabrics, just as we might do when we look at what we were wearing…but then we can remake the quilt using the exact same blocks in different fabrics and get a whole new look.
Blocks are the bricks that we use to build our quilts. Rather than a book purely full of quilt patterns, I was eager to write a book that (I hope) you will use to inspire your own quilts. You can use different combinations of the 25 blocks in the book to make pillows, pot holders, or quilts, or you can make a quilt using just one of your favorite blocks repeated. Use your imagination and your own initiative, and above all, have fun trying out new fabric combinations and new-to-you blocks as well as old favorites.
I’ve also included four simple projects in the book that you can make step by step:
We all have scraps. My book, 25 Patchwork Quilt Blocks, is designed to use your scraps. If you’re a new quilter and don’t have as many scraps as you’d like, why not ask friends to swap with you to mix it up a bit and get a larger variety of prints and colors? Or ask at your local quilt shop (or favorite online quilt shop). You can often pick up scrap bags for very little money and they’re like a surprise gift to yourself—you never know exactly what you’ll get. I don’t know about you, but scraps can seem even more exciting than a stack of fat quarters. There’s so much potential in those little bits of leftovers!
I really hope you enjoy my book, and that you’ll follow me on my quilting journey over on my blog. I’d sure love to have you stop by and hang out with me. We can drink tea and sew together—it’ll be fun. And if you bring cake, we can be friends for life!
Do you make quilt blocks without having a final project in mind? Share how you make and use quilt blocks in the comments and you could win a copy of the 25 Patchwork Quilt Blocks eBook! We’ll choose a random winner one week from today and let you know by email if you win.
Purchase Katy’s new book today and you can instantly download the eBook for free.