Sunday, March 16, 2008

Gwen Marston's Books

I wanted to see what my bed quilt was going to look like so I threw it on the bed even though I still haven't gotten the binding on it ("it" the quilt, not "it" the bed). I am really happy with it. Pokey and Lily had fun running around and even though I made this quilt to use, knowing cats were going to sleep on it etc, I worried those little claws would snag the fabric or quilting thread. eek.

No, I still haven't posted a full picture of the bed quilt. You can see several pics here amidst the alphabet tutorial over on Quiltville. The quilt on the wall is Stars.

I received an email today asking about Gwen Marston's Liberated Quiltmaking, which as you know is my favorite quilting book ever. Ever. Since I get similar emails every once in awhile, I figured I would answer here. Last year it looked like Liberated Quiltmaking was going to be republished by a small company, but it didn't happen. Unfortunately. So the only way to get the book right now is to pay an outrageous price for a used copy. I love the book, but $100???

Liberated Quiltmaking teaches you how to improvisationally piece great looking cotton crazies (aka crumb or utility quilts), houses, stars and free-piece anything you set your mind to. Gwen shows you how to reinterpret classic patterns such as Shoo-Fly, Log Cabin, Nine Patch. But you don't just learn how to make these blocks because she teaches the process, the technique that you can then adapt to making anything. It was this new way of thinking that led me to try making letters and you can see where that has led.

The book completely changed how I approach quilting, making it so much more enjoyable and allowing me to find my own way of working. No more Quilt Police. The other great thing about the book is that Gwen shows how this used to be an accepted way of quilting and can easily be seen in many antique quilts.

Collaborative Quilting, which Gwen wrote with Freddy Marston, is another fun book and in many ways a sequel to Liberated Quiltmaking. There are differences though. The colors are much brighter and in your face. LQ has a more traditional look and teaches in baby steps. In CQ you have to work harder at understanding how it goes together.

Gwen's Liberated String Quilts is a marvelous book as well but truly focuses on string quilts. There is a bit more than that (fractured fabric) but not much. I love the book, but it's stringy, not improvisational.

String Quilts is also written in a completely different style than LQ. String Quilts is patterny. In Liberated Quiltmaking, Gwen just talks her way through making her quilts. She explains how she did it, but doesn't provide any kind of pattern or yardage requirements. She tells you how to get started on your own and explore. That just really speaks to me.

Another fan of Gwen Marston's style is Dianne of Persnickity. She's shown a couple of her liberated quilts recently in her blog. She's also spoken movingly about being a quilter with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) as have Siobhan of Scraps and Threadtales and Karen Dianne Lee at Living Life at LeeHaven. I urge you to check their blogs out, particularly their entries for MS Awareness Week (March 10-17th).

Mary in MN asked if I was charging for teaching the Summer Class. The answer is no. For my first ever online class I asked for donations to the MS Society and was thrilled that we contributed almost a thousand dollars. But I admit that having people pay made me worry the whole time if the students were getting enough for their money. Were there enough quilts finished? Did I provide enough encouragement or arm twisting?

Anyway, not paying works well for me. I do this for love and interaction with other like-minded quilters. The Summer Class is off to a great start. Brenda and Juliann have already made some great progress. Check out the blog here.

A wonderful friend sent me some more Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles episodes. I had a mini marathon last night and watched three of them. I LOVE that show. I'm not saying it's perfect or anything else, but I love it. Fox, you'd better renew this show.

But holy cow, can I just say the commercials suck? The show is so choppy shown this way. Five minutes of the program, three minutes of advertising alternated over and over. yeesh. The reason so many people watch pay cable tv shows isn't because those shows can use swearing and nudity it's because the flow of the show is so superior.

If only Showtime would return to making science fiction programming, or even better if HBO would start. Where's our pay cable SF/Fantasy channel that would make better programming decisions than Sci-Fi.

Yesterday I took a photo safari down to the Grand Palais. I took lots of photos but I haven't actually downloaded them yet. I know I got a fingerprint on the lens and I'm not sure how well I cleaned it off. I'm afraid to look.

That's it from here. Ya'all take care.


jovaliquilts said...

I have got to find a copy of Liberated Quiltmaking!

Thanks so much for pointing us to other blogs. I've seen some wonderful stuff that way and it really helps build the quilting community online.

Clare said...

Do you think that if enough pressure was put on Gwen Marston by quilters who really reallly want this book (she would consider republishing LQ and LSS and perhaps bringing them up to date. I know she is not contactable by email but surely we can do something?

It's blowing a gale down here - quite horrific!

Sue in western Washington, USA said...

Good reveiws of Gwen's books. I own Liberated QM and Collaborative QM but never felt the need for the one about strings. A friend has a copy; I looked at it again recently and still didn't feel the need to own it. (That's actually a relief since I have such a hard time with picture books these days!)

DH and I watched season 1 of Bones on DVD this past week. I knew commercials were a nuisance but I didn't realize how much better the shows are without them entirely!

I may yet sign up for your Summer Class as I want to make a small quilt for a friend...

Robin in Short Pump said...

I agree that $100 is too steep. You can find Liberated Quiltmaking a little cheaper (including US shipping) at World Retail Store if you are so inclined. I did a quick Google Books search and found that several libraries in my state have it, so I will ask my interlibrary loan department to request it for me.

Pam said...

I have Gwen Marston's Liberated Strings book. I loved the quilt on the cover, which prompted me to buy the book. I also love her approach to quiltmaking: if it is too big, just cut it off!

Your bed quilt is going to be so gorgeous! The star quilt is stunning as well. Both done in my favorite colors, too.

Mary said...

I have all three books and I love looking through all of them. I don't follow the patterns but I have gotten ideas for my string quilts from her Liberated Strings book.

Thanks for the link to the MS site. I'd been reading Siobhan's blog and decided that I'd make a donation in the spirit of giving that you create with the time and energy devoted to providing the classes. Thanks!

cher said...

you know Ton, I have to admit Liberated Quilting is probably the ONLY quilting books of the tons I own that I actually have read from cover to cover. and I have to agree 100% with what you said about it-Gwen says take her ideas and make them your own-as witnessed by the photos of quilts made in her retreats-she is so my kind of teacher. quilt looks like it will work on your bed-love the Stars quilt hanging up.

Anonymous said...

Hi Lazy Gal! What a coincidence! I am a quilter who will be visitng Paris soon, so I have really been enjoying your blog since finding it a month or so ago! Thanks for all your great articles, pictures and thoughts. I especially enjoy the bits about Paris!

Cooper in CA

KathieB said...

Miracles can happen--a friend found LQ for me at Half Price Books for under $13.

Wish Gwen would get the message that she NEEDS to make that book more available. I don't think she is around on the web very much... Would a barrage of snail mail help?

zizzybob said...

If you are truly a Sci-Fi fan, then you need to see Babylon 5. This show has 5 seasons. It is a complete story, not just random episodes. By far, the best sci-fi series ever.

Anonymous said...

I've not met Gwen, but she wrote me a lovely response when I sent her an old-fashioned letter asking about her LQ book several years ago. I was lucky and at that time she had only a few copies remaining. I'm sure those are long gone. I believe I read somewhere, maybe Gwen's blog, that the publisher isn't interested in re-releasing LQ even though she was willing to update it.

In 1993 Gwen and Joe Cunningham co-authored "Quilting with Style: Principles for great Pattern Design" which focuses on choosing and creating designs for the actual hand quilting. It's excellent. They also wrote one about roses and tulips - very traditional, but lovely. And my other favorite is Gwen's fascinating quilting biography of her friend, Mary Schaefer.

Debbie - another GM fan

Anonymous said...

I bought Collaborative quilting a few months ago, and Freddy Moran's colours make you soo happy!I requested LQ at the Guilds library; want to see what it's about!

Karen Dianne Lee said...

Wow! Thanks for doing all that you've done helping with MS. You keep amazing me with your generosity, warmth and kindness.

...but mostly I show up for Pokey. (hee) silly!

Okay but I thought the post spoke to me so all day I kept thinking about this liberated business. You see, you did a good job of explaining all that.

Great post on that topic!

Liberate LeeHaven with Love, *karendianne.

andsewitis Holly said...

Your quilt looks soooo good on your bed! Sounds like you and Clare had a fantastic time. How fun to meet up with an online quilter/blogger.

Sandy said...

Love your beautiful quilts in your bedroom! I saw some of Gwens work when I was in LaConner Washington last year. We weren't allowed to take any photos :o(
But it was definately worth seeing.

YankeeQuilter said...

Thanks for all your support for the MS society. You are great.

Know what I found today as I unpacked a fabric box? My first little house made in your class!!!! Big Grin!


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