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.

2 comments:

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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