Modern Quilt Perspectives, by Thomas Knauer: A review & giveaway

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I’m so happy to be part of Thomas Knauer’s blog tour, to celebrate the release of Modern Quilt Perspectives: 12 Patterns for Meaningful Quilts. Hoorah hoorah, and congratulations, Thomas! It’s no small feat to write a book like this, and I’m happy to see the work evolving and emerging in this new genre — the well-written and developed blog being the first, of course.

I “met” Thomas a few years ago, when a friend pointed me to his blog and said I needed to talk to him for my book (he’s a contributor). I’m glad I did, because Thomas offers a different take on what we all do here in the quilting world (I say this as someone who’s a decidedly amateur quilter but an avid observer, writer, and converser within and about the community). When I talked to Thomas, our conversation swirled around what makes a quilt modern, art history’s influence on modern quilters, and how we talk about our own quilts. I saw right away that Thomas has a vision, and that he wants his work to contribute to what’s happening in the community today. And so it has —


What I like so much about this book is the way that he’s interwoven (I’ll never pass up the chance for a fiber pun) explanations of his own aesthetic and creative process — how each quilt was conceived, how he executed the design — with stories about the online modern quilt community, and anecdotes about his personal connections with quilts. For example, he describes how he and his daughter Bee use the Ampersand quilt (above) to tell stories together. They’ll point to a block, each of which has a character or image, and tell a story starting with that block. When they get stuck, they say “and…” and point to another and keep going. I’d love to make a quilt like this and use it in a children’s creative writing class; it’s such a great way of not just snuggling up under a quilt but of interacting together and using the quilt for what it’s always been used for — to tell our stories.

Similarly, “Sum of Interrelations” exemplifies the way the online community works together, as Thomas put out a call for help making blocks for this quilt and had, “within twenty-four hours,” “a full slate of volunteers.” Cleverly, each block is an “i,” which plays on that idea of the collective and the individual.

You’ll use a lot of different techniques in making the quilts in this book — reverse applique in one, matching seams and points in another, applique in another — and think more about the concepts that birth each of your quilts. How will you marry concept and object and process? It brings some of the ideas and conversations from contemporary art into quilting — even thinking about how patterns can be freeing. And, I should add, the instructions are easy to follow!

One of the quilts in this book is exhibited online by the International Quilt Study Center and Museum, that’s THE BIG MUSEUM!, in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Go learn how to make it! Go buy the book! I’ve been snuggling under a quilt with a cup of tea, rereading it again today. The pictures are beautiful, the paper feels good in my hands, and the ideas and quilts are fabulous.

Please post a comment below to win a copy of Thomas’ book! What’s one piece of inspiration that helped you make a recent quilt, whether you followed someone else’s pattern or made your own?

UPDATE 4/4: Congratulations, Mindy Tillet! You won the book! Thanks to everyone who entered and talked about your inspiration — I loved hearing about your work!!

You can read more about the book in the ongoing blog tour, here.

April 1:
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41 thoughts on “Modern Quilt Perspectives, by Thomas Knauer: A review & giveaway

  1. I feel as though I am inspired all the time through other bloggers. My most recent inspiration to creation was a space invaders quilt I made for my nephew based on Oh Fransson Space Invaders quilt. I used her color palette and original idea, but changed up the invaders, placement and created my own back. It is one of the coolest things I have made. Thanks for the chance to win such a cool book.

  2. I’ve been inspired by the bold colors and non-traditional blocks (or total lack of blocks) I’ve found in discovering the Modern Quilt movement. This book looks exciting.

  3. I had a copy of a magazine with the Cotton Candy quilt in it that also featured Giggles by Me and My Sister. It was love at first sight! I ended up making it and finished this month and my mother received it for her birthday. I secretly wanted to keep it. I will definitely make me another one! Thanks for the giveaway!

  4. Pingback: Rachel May (the Modern Quilt Perspectives blog tour)… | Thomas Knauer Sews

  5. This isn’t a recent inspiration, but it was significant to me. I bought Libby Lehman’s book on Threadplay and attempted a new technique. At least it was new to me–using my machine with no pressure foot to do free motion sewing. I was dazzled by all those ribbons. I made three quilts using that technique. I sold two of them and the third (and largest) hangs in my living room. It’s beautiful–actually all three of them were lovely. It was great fun.

  6. I keep running into Thomas Knauer’s name and blog in so many different web sites, emails and blogs. It’s clear that his vision for modern quilts and modern quilters is making it’s way into many of our lives. I can’t wait to get my copy of the book to learn more about what he is saying.

  7. My inspiration is always a beautiful fabric. And usually a deadline! This looks like an awesome book. I love the quilt on the cover.

  8. After bringing my camera with me on walks in local parks over the past year, and looking back over the pictures, I was inspired to make a quilt, or a series of small, one block quilts, from pictures of Texas wildflowers I took. The first and only block I’ve made so far is based on a picture of a mexican hat wildflower gracefully bending in the wind.

  9. I was inspired by a quilt my grandmother began many, many years ago. I was so happy my mom entrusted it to me to finish!!

  10. I have recently become inspired by the quiet … just being able to hear what is going on outside my window is inspiring.

  11. I love and was inspired to make a shabby version of the pixelated heart quilt on the blue elephants blog I love her work and especially that quilt

  12. I was inspired to design at quilt after viewing various beaded items I saw at the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, DC. Absolutely stunning displays of all types at this museum.

  13. Social sewing inspires me – I love to see what projects everyone else is working on, what color combinations they use, and talking about the process. And the snacks and chocolates don’t hurt either! Congratulations! The book looks great. Can’t wait to get myself a copy!

  14. I must say that bloggers, books and magazines really inspire me. Sometimes fabric lines get the creative juices going too. The recent craze in herringbone prints inspired me to make a Herringbone quilt! I’m also inspired by my daughters. Their taste is different enough from mine to make me think outside my comfort zone.

  15. I love the panels of Cori Dantini. I like making a quilt frame and then free motion quilt to enhance it. Just saw her Christmas line coming soon and instantly began to dream.

  16. Cherri House has giving me a lot of inspiration and a taste for Kona Cotton.
    Love all the bright colors in Knauer´s book

  17. I’m often inspired by fabric and there is always something new and shiny that I have to have. Recently I’ve been inspired by Dowry by Anna Marie Horner and I think I’ll make a quilt with large 60 degree triangles to take advantage of the large prints.

  18. I’m inspired by the spring – the flowers and the light are so fresh at this time of year. I’m trying to capture it in a simple postage stamp quilt using sunny yellows and cool greens.

  19. I was inspired by making a Leftovers quilt from Modern Quilt Relish. It was the first quilt that I ever freed me to just sew and see what happens. I love the modern quilt movement. It is very liberating.

  20. Thomas’ book looks fantastic!
    I recently made a wedding quilt for my niece after seeing a pattern on a blog – Iused my favourite Joel Dewberry fabrics!

  21. My latest projects have been inspired by all the creations I see on blogs. I’m impressed by all the talent. Thanks for the chance to win!

  22. I used a drawing my almost 3 year old did as inspiration to sketch up a pattern for a quilt I am working on for her. I plan to give it to her for her birthday and hope she recognizes that she helped create it. Thanks for the chance to win!

  23. Thanks for this chance. I was inspired recently by a class I took, to learn a method I was already not-so-excited-about. Instead of disliking it, I took off and made extra blocks and changed the design and now I have a new quilt, and a new technique, that I love!

  24. An old magazine pattern caught my attention recently. I made a couple changes to the block by drawing it in EQ and modifying it. It looked pretty good on the screen so I made a lap quilt and was thrilled with the results. Then another modification came to mind and it is also now drawn up in EQ. I am anxious to get started on a quilt with this newest version of the block.

  25. I found a pattern for a simple modern quilt on Cluck Cluck Sew called Off Track that I am making in orange and grey. i have almost all of the pieces cut for it.

  26. I often save advertisements or pics with certain color combos or a certain look to refer to as i am putting together a quilt

  27. For me it is inspiring to see the many beautiful quilts that are shared on blogs. I want to make “that one and that one” and try new techniques. Thank you for sharing and of course I would love to win a copy of Thomas’ book.

  28. I saw a music themed quilt in McCall’s Quilt magazine a few months back which had a kit available, but I want to use my own collection of music fabrics.

  29. I was inspired to start sewing together strips by a quilt sewn at retreat, but once I got them seen together I realized that instead of cutting them into uniform blocks there were 45 degree angles calling my name.

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