Elizabeth Hartman is the talent behind the prolific and wildly popular blog, Oh, Fransson! For most of those who read her blog, that is probably all the introduction you need. In the 18 months since we started working on this book together, she has grown both her own profile and taken awesome strides in introducing a whole new community of fabric addicts who would probably never have fallen in love with patchwork if it were not for her inspirational designs.
Don’t get me wrong, I am a big fan of raw edge appliqué and improvisational piecing and wonky embroidery stitching, but what I love about Elizabeth is that she applies the precision and quality to her work that are necessary in order to create treasured quilts that withstand the test of time.
And this gal has SKILLS! Lots. Early on in our conversations, Elizabeth was focused on the kind of book that she felt was lacking in modern quilt making, a new basics kind of book. And that is exactly the book she wrote.
With Elizabeth’s help, anyone new to sewing or even more of an intermediate sewer can move beyond the forgiving patterns that sometimes confuse improvisation with go-ahead-and-make-a-mess. She writes with an authoritative, experienced, but not prescriptive voice. Her patterns aren’t meant to be followed so that you end up creating the exact same quilt (and you will want to because they are all so fabulous!) as she has.
She encourages finding your own design “voice” by including two alternate color ways for each of her 12 patterns. The colors are so very different that you feel like you are actually getting 36 patterns packed into this one book. She gets you thinking about the possibilities and encourages you to experiment…
and not ignore the backs of your quilts either!
And this is where Elizabeth is both a leader and an enabler. In her first book with Stash Books, she shows you how to use color, value and scale of fabric to create balanced, colorful, graphic quilts that look like something you bought from Crate and Barrel.
Elizabeth inspires you to experiment with both solid fabrics and contemporary patterns in order to find a combination that fits your budget and still represents your style.
Each generation needs to learn the fundamentals (be it cooking, gardening or quilt making) from someone they respect, someone who has a sympathetic aesthetic and someone that they can relate to. And Elizabeth, as you can see, is the perfect designer for the job. For Elizabeth, and for you, I hope this book is just the beginning…
The Practical Guide to Patchwork will be available in October 2010.