Review of a new quilting book: Design, Make, Quilt Modern

Posted by Daisy Aschehoug on

[all photos from Heather Black's new book: Design, Make, Quilt Modern]

Someday, I'll do a blog post of all the different quilters that influence and inspire me. Heather Black will be all over that list - she's an amazing designer, and I've said for a long time that I want to quilt like her when I grow up. Each time I see one of her new quilts, it's the quilting stitches that really capture my attention. She seems to know just the right motif that will fill a space in a way that perfectly coordinates with the piecing of a quilt.

New quilting book called Design, Make, Quilt Modern by Heather Black

Her new book, Design, Make, Quilt Modern has some really interesting sections on design tools and design basics. I'd never heard of an S-curve, and I was fascinated by her explanation of the different ways that odd-versus-even can play out in a quilt. I skimmed through the sections on color because I was so eager to get to the QUILTING, but I'll probably head back to them at some point to see what I can integrate into my own design process.

But, oh the quilt stitches! 

I love Heather's tips and thoughts on protecting depth in a quilt design with certain quilt motifs. I also like her analysis of what kinds of quilting will draw attention. I went through her exercises, and I came up with two main goals specifically for my own quilts:

  • Straight lines organized in a variety of shapes and directions
  • Straight or curved lines that echo the piecing and main design

These aren't a big surprise to me, but I've not gotten gutsy and included them in my rotation for a variety of reasons. I'm often rushing towards a deadline when I get to the end of the piecing, and that's not the best time to experiment or make big changes. (Especially when you're doing free motion quilting on a domestic or hand guided on a long arm!)

One ah-ha moment that I've had is that I need to set these quilting goals as I'm designing a quilt. I do have general goals for a design when I'm in the planning stages, but I only imagine what can be accomplished with color and texture in piecing and fabric selection. I think in order to grow as a quilter, I need to put more emphasis on what the quilting will do for me, and not let the quilting be an afterthought.

As someone who has designed quilts for a few years now, it seemed a little odd for me to purchase a book on designing modern quilts. But, there are always new things to learn. I've gotten a lot out of Heather's approach. Her advice is applicable to every kind of quilting style, and the structure of the book encourages you to apply what you're learning in real time. The quilt patterns included at the end are a nice bonus!

Whether you want to make your own quilt design or are just searching for new ways to be creative with fabric choices, I highly recommend Design Make Quilt Modern by Heather Black of Quiltachusetts!

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