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“You Can Quilt!” A Book Review and A Blog Flashback

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You know how dogs age 7 years for every one of our human years? I think there should be a formula like that for quilting/blogging years. Because once upon a time—in 2011—I participated in a quilt-along called The Skill Builder Sampler, with blogger Leila Gardunia. That was four years ago. Also, a lifetime ago. : ) Show of hands—who was hanging around my blog back then and remembers that? C’mon, I hope you guys are still out there!

Anyway, a lot has happened in four years. A whole lot. For one thing, I built my skills. Thanks in part to Leila’s quilt-along, and in part to the exhausting litany of other things I’ve done. I wrote a book and launched a line of patterns and taught classes and won a prize at QuiltCon and hosted a gajillion WIP Wednesdays and sewed and sewed and sewed.

But here’s the thing about building skills. You’re never done with that. Your skills are never all built and finished—they’re more like an eternal work-in-progress. To that end, Leila, along with co-author Marlene Oddie, have turned the Skill Builder Sampler into a book, called You Can Quilt! Building Skills for Beginners.

I mean, I thought I was a decent quilter four years ago. And then I pulled out those blocks from Leila’s quilt-along. (Yes, I still had them! And no, I had no trouble finding them in my studio! Organizational skills: Totally built!)

Ummm, yeah. The piecing, the crazy prints all thrown together—there are some areas for improvement (understatement alert). And as I looked at those blocks, my mind fast-forwarded another four years. I wasn’t done building my skills back then, and I’m still not done now, I know that much.

You Can Quilt! covers basically every quilting technique you could ask for in one book and 36(!) beautiful blocks. Paper-piecing, improv, inset seams, curves, applique—they’re all here in this book. Along with lots of helpful tips, step-by-step photos, and diagrams. It’s like a months-long, intensive quilting class in one handy volume. What better way to build your skills than block-by-block, with an amazing sampler to show for it at the end?

I know quilting can be intimidating sometimes, but you guys, you can’t learn how to do something without doing it. There will always be projects you’ll look back at four years later and say, “Wow, what was I thinking?” But it’s all part of the process, right? All you can do is build those skills one finished quilt at a time. And enjoy the results of that process. This book is all about that.

To celebrate my own process, I decided to take those nine orphan blocks I made four years ago and sew them into a quilt top. And I think the end result is pretty cool—the solid orange framing and Essex Linen background has the effect of chilling out the printy-ness of the blocks.

Want to win a free copy of You Can Quilt!, plus a bundle of the Prairie fabric line by Corey Yoder? (International readers have a chance to win an ebook.) You can enter over at Leila’s blog. And don’t forget to keep following along with the “You Can Quilt!” blog hop all this week! Thank you, Leila, for including me on the hop!

Nov. 16 – Lee at Freshly Pieced (- you are here!)
Nov. 17 – AnneMarie at Gen X Quilters
Nov. 18 – Leanne at She Can Quilt
Nov. 19 – Julie at That’s Sew Julie
Nov. 20 – Lyn guest-blogging at Flourishing Palms

8 replies
  1. Marlene @ KISSed Quilts . com
    Marlene @ KISSed Quilts . com says:

    Lee — it was likely one of your posts that made me aware … at some point someone posted the button which was a Rosie the Riveter image and I then had to check it all out. Amazing where it all led. Excited to be sharing the book with a wider audience. Thanks!!

    Reply
  2. Lara B.
    Lara B. says:

    You are so right Lee – we are never through learning! That is part of the joy, isn't it?
    The bright orange sashing and grey linen wonderfully compliment your blocks. "You Can Quilt!" looks like a great book and the perfect one to have on hand form brushing up our skills.

    Reply

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