Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Daring to be Square (and some WIP Wednesday)

I love collecting craft books almost as much as I like crafting! The book-buying habit got especially bad when I worked at a Borders bookstore for several years, and one of the last books I got before joyfully quitting was this (seemingly littleknown?) gem:

Dare To Be Square

This is such an amazing quilting book! It is designed for brand new quilters, but the quilt patterns in it are so great that it doesn't matter what skill level you are. The premise is that you can make fun, functional quilts entirely out of squares and rectangles. The first part of the the book is dedicated to teaching you how to quilt, including cutting, piecing, basting, and straight-line quilting. Until I got this book I was afraid of machine quilting my quilts, and had only ever tied or hand-quilted them. It inspired me to buy my walking foot and opened up a whole new world of quilt design possibilities for me.

All of the quilts in the book are really fun (I love that owl quilt on the cover, although I haven't gotten around to making it yet) but my favorite design is a quilt called "Two Left Feet." It's the first quilt I made from the book, and I even used the exact same colors!

This was the first quilt I ever machine quilted, using Boo Davis' painters tape stripes techniques. Speaking of Boo Davis, she is the hard-rocking quilter/author. Check out her totally unique modern quilts! She also has a Flickr group for people who have made the quilts in her book, and even makes a point of commenting on everyone's submissions. How sweet is that?

Anyway, I loved that first quilt I made, and since I made that one for my Grandma, I decided to make one for myself too!

This time I got a little more creative, choosing my own colors.

I think my favorite thing about this book was that it finally pushed me to take the plunge and start designing my own quilts. I eased into it, basing my quilt design on one in the book. The one in the book looks a bit like this (link to an incredible version I saw on Flickr), a design that I liked from the beginning. However, I wanted to make a larger, bed-size quilt, so I adapted the pattern and sewed up this guy:

I decided to hand quilt this one, since it's intimidatingly large (almost king size, I think!). This is one of those projects that will take a while yet, as I don't pull it out too often.

Anyway, the point (and the Work In Progress Wednesday post) that I'm trying to make is this: I have just sketched up a new quilt design that is all mine, based on the techniques I learned from Dare To Be Square. I'm washing the fabric today and hope to get cutting it. I don't want to tell you what it is just yet, but here is a little hint:

(this is part of the back)
This is a quilt I've been thinking about for a long time, and I'm excited to finally be working on it!

Even though this point is only a little about works in progress, I'm still linking up over at Freshly Pieced. It's always fun to see what everyone else is up to!


Thanks so much for taking the time to comment! I love hearing what you think and being able to check out your blogs.