Friday, July 3, 2009

Summer R and R

Every so often we catch a high tide, jump in the boat, and head into Sitka for water, fuel, groceries and supplies.

One of my favorite spots to visit when we get to town is Sitka's busy public library, the Kettleson Memorial Library.

My hat is off to this library! First, they provide free internet access (and a number of public computers) to lots of visitors. When there are three cruise ships in town, the place is packed.

But, even better, they have the very best collection of books on quilting and needle arts that I have ever seen in a library. One entire stack of shelves is devoted to quilt and needlework books!

I understand that the local quilt guild, Oceanwave Quilters, makes a monetary donation each year for the library to purchase quilt books. Thank you, Oceanwave Quilters and Kettleson Memorial Library.

Because a number of these books are no longer available, it is wonderful that there is a place where all this information is stored. I appreciate the fact that this library is hanging on to this tremendous reference. Though I know space is always a consideration, I often feel it is a shame when people donate books to a library and those books get put in the monthly book sale.

I have added a lot of books to my personal library after checking them out at the Kettleson library. It was there that I found Ruth B. McDowell's full collection of books (which I now own) and where I initially discovered Jane Sassaman's The Quilted Garden: Design and Make Nature Inspired Quilts.

I love this quilt of Jane's (shown with her permission):

She said she was inspired by seed pods. It says "Starfish and Sea Urchins" to me!

Gwen Martson's Liberated Quiltmaking and Liberated String Quilts have given me many hours of intent studying. I love her free-form, funky style! (I'd love to have Liberated Quiltmaking in my personal library. Does anyone have a copy they'd part with?)

Each time we go to town, I come home with a pile of books to devour. Here are some of the treasures I've found (and purchased!) this summer:

  • The Art of Fabric Collage: An Easy Introduction to Creative Sewing
    by Rosemary Eichorn
    I can't wait to get home to my sewing machine to try some of Rosemary's techniques. This is a beautiful book full of great inspiration!

  • Encyclopedia of Designs for Quilting
    by Phyllis D. Miller
    This is a terrific, comprehensive reference of traditional designs for quilting and how to draft them. It's out-of-print, but used copies are available. It sold for about $30 originally; I paid $40 for one last year and feel it's worth every penny.

  • The Embroiderer's Workbook (Color Craft Workbooks)
    by Jan Messent
    This little book is full of exercises for embroiderers and has some good info about color and design which would be applicable to any artist. I especially enjoyed the chapter on "destructing fabric." Here's an interesting article about the author, too.

    I like this quote from the book: "Exercises for their own sake are as necessary to embroiderers as to writers, artists, and musicians. Imagine a writer who never learnt any grammer, an artist who never practiced figure-drawing, or a musician who never practiced any scales. Emphasis has been placed on the need to keep a notebook or file of exercises as a reference for the future."

    That sounds like great advice for quilters, too!

  • Stitching Free: Easy Machine Pictures
    by Shirley Nilsson
    Shirley has a very good chapter on the elements of design including a great little chart to use for assessing whether a quilt has balance, rhythm, contrast, unity, proportion and scale, and mood in its use of color, line, form, area, and texture. As Shirley says, one doesn't have to reach the top in each. She says, "Just one 'ah-hah' is a victory!"

  • Show Me How to Create Quilting Designs: 70 Ready-To-Use
    by Kathy Sandbach
    Kathy has some great ideas for free-motion quilting. I love the designs for vegetables, fruits, and flowers. I practiced drawing some and actually think I could quilt them. Yay!

  • Living With Quilts: Fifty Great American Quilts
    by Phyllis George
    Former Miss America Phyllis George is a quilt lover and this beautiful book is full of inspiration with quilts both old and new. It is a feast for the eyes!

  • Scraps of Time: Quilting With Treasured Fabrics (That Patchwork Place)
    by Ann Frischkorn and Amy Sandrin
    If you'd like to make a memory quilt with grandma's calico dresses, Dad's silk ties, or your collection of prom and bridesmaid's dresses, you will love this book written by talented twin sisters.

  • Optical Illusions for Quilters
    by Karen Combs
    Unravel the mysteries of creating space, depth, motion, and perspective in your quilts with lots of examples and lessons in this book. It looks like this book is out of print, but check your library -- it's a good one. And, if anyone has a copy of this book that they'd like to sell (or trade for patterns), please let me know.

  • The Complete Pebble Mosaic Handbook
    by Maggy Howarth
    After hauling all that rock, this book was of special interest to me. AMAZING designs for floors and trails using pebbles. I was surprised to learn that if you make a pebble mosaic, you must insert the pebble in the ground vertically. That would take a LOT more rocks! This might be one of those books for just looking at. . . not actually doing!

    Reading and relaxing, rejuvenating and recharging -- that's what real summer R 'n' R means to me.

    I hope you're having a relaxing and rejuvenating summer, too!