Friday, January 11, 2013

In a patchwork garden

You could say I fell in love with Janet Bolton or rather Janet Bolton's applique designs at first sight. Let me see if I could recall that fateful day. It was a long, long, long time ago. (my son is 15 now) My girl was not born yet. (hope she doesn't read this!) I had gone to the library with my son strapped to my front. Since giving birth I had not dared to venture into the library with my son as my fear was I would be chased out once he started crying. That day I decided to brave it. My plan was to leave the minute he made any crying noise. Anyway, it turned out he was quite good. So I had time to browse and that's when I saw this book In a Patchwork Garden by Janet Bolton.

I was blown away. I was smitten. I fell hard. Gosh, I wanted to marry Janet Bolton. I wanted to marry the book. Later I found out the library had another book by Janet as well and I love that book - Patchwork Folk Art as well. But not enough to marry because my heart belonged to In a Patchwork Garden.

Let me show you a few pages from the book so you might fall in love yourself. Promise you won't marry her?

Janet makes these really amazing, quirky, fun applique quilts that evoke a sense of innocence. The stitches are deliberately not hidden and they add to the charm. Let me repeat. You need not hide your stitches!

What's wonderful about In a Patchwork Garden is Janet has step-by-step instructions on how to create similar applique quilts.

After my girl was born, I made an attempt to create one of the applique quilts. I chose Beehive Under Three Apple Trees as it looked the simplest.

I modified my version slightly and had two trees instead of three. Check out the details below.

I put in a lot of effort into this quilt. I tried to keep to Janet's aesthetics as much as possible.

You can make the comparison yourself.

Then I abandoned the quilt completely. It lay unfinished in my storeroom for years and years. Yes, vines and moss grew like in Snow White.

One reason why I abandoned the quilt was I realised that no matter how much I love Janet Bolton's quilts, they are her quilts. Trying to mimic what she did was fruitless as it was not my point of view. Passion is a prerequisite. If I were to try and complete the quilt today, I can do it easily. Finish the beehive, put a backing and it's done. But I see no point in it.

But I have another plan. An idea. Already I'm getting excited about it. It's been so many years since I made the quilt. I would love to make another one but this time, I will be inspired by Janet instead of trying to mimic her style. I have been sewing for so many years already. Certainly I would have developed my own style. Haven't I? So my idea is to make a picture quilt. Yes, soon. Maybe next week. Certainly this month. It would be interesting to see how my picture quilt turns out and to see how much I have changed aesthetically since I made the Beehive quilt.

If you're keen to check out more of Janet Bolton's quilts, go here.

I discovered a youtube video of her conducting her applique quilt class. Aren't the ladies in her class lucky to learn from the master?

I checked the library catalogue and am thrilled a few more Janet Bolton's books have been ordered. When will they arrive? I shall have to stalk the library catalogue. But I was terribly disappointed Janet Bolton's Textile Pictures has not been ordered and possibly never will be. I tried looking where the book might be available and it seems to be a very hard book to find as the only place which was supposed to stock it is a French site. Excusez-moi, my French not so powderful. I literally know 10 french words. It also sounds like a terribly expensive book so I decided not to hunt for it further. 

If you want to buy Janet Bolton's books, I have a a couple of links below for you*.

*Disclosure: I am a amazon associate and a few pennies will be thrown my way if you buy via my affiliate links.


punkychewster said...

Yay yay yay!! Applique quilts are so beautiful, but too daunting for me to try!! But your Beehive under the tree is simple and I love your fabric combinations! Especially the border! who would have thought to put together a bunch of different colored and patterned fabrics?! Certainly not me. But you know? You don't have to make it into a big quilt. How about just make small picture appliqued quilts as wall hangings? I'm gonna look out for some easy to start applique projects too!

Little Blue Mouse said...

That's a great idea, I can't wait to see how your picture quilt turns out!

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