Although I am the Kingpin of Contemporary Embroidery, I confess I’m not an experienced quilter, but I know what I like. And I like Melanie Testa. Her book, Inspired to Quilt, is a terrific introduction to the process of making art quilts. Let’s dive in!
Who is the book for?Inspired to Quilt is going to be a great fit if you have a bit of quilting experience as it’ll help you think further afield in your use of textiles and materials. As with all good books, the technical details are clear and with some patience, even the beginner quilter will benefit from reading it. But if you’ve already tried quilting, this book could really unlock some new ideas for you.
What makes the book special?
Melanie’s approach to quilting places a lot of importance on creating your own materials and textiles to be used while quilting. This seems like a daunting method of working, but Melanie provides practical guidance and wisdom on how to get started.
The techniques of how to physically create the materials are clearly explained, and Melanie’s experience enables her to provide clear instruction on how to achieve fantastic results, without getting too bogged down in technical detail. The chapters include topics on sandwiching and embellishing, going into a useful amount of depth with these techniques that can literally elevate your work.
Outside of the techniques, Melanie advocates using journals for collecting ideas and inspiration, as well as exploring personal creativity. It’s a nice touch because it reinforces how a passion for quilting is something that doesn’t just exist when sat at your long-arm machine.
Recommended experiments are dotted throughout the book and Melanie provides ideas of how to apply the techniques to small works. The book is filled with inspiration – Melanie’s skills are showcased throughout the book, but the contents of the book go a long way to make these works more accessible. The design of the book creates a good learning environment with clear layouts and big pictures that help you appreciate the intricacy of the work.
What’s wrong with the book?
The only real criticism you can make of the book at that it’s a bit technical for the layman, but then it was never really intended for beginners. As I said at the start, it can be used by people starting out, but this book is at a higher level than that. It’s a shame that the book can’t dig even deeper into Melanie’s creative juices, but that’s a big ask, and the book has plenty of offer nonetheless.
Although the subject of art quilts seems daunting, this work book does a terrific job of exploring the techniques and processes to take your quilting to the next level. Steeped in inspiration, it’s a clear testament to Melanie’s passion for the subject, and will encourage any crafter to create their own mini masterpieces.
Inspired to Quilt by Melanie Testa is published by Interweave.You can buy the book, via us, from Amazon. It’s an affiliate link, but hey, it helps us keep the lights on!
Jamie Chalmers, aka Mr X Stitch, aka the Kingpin of Contemporary Embroidery is the founder of the Mr X Stitch site, the world’s longest running embroidery blog, the curator of PUSH Stitchery and the author of the Mr X Stitch Guide to Cross Stitch. He is also the founder of XStitch, the game-changing cross stitch design magazine which launched in Summer 2017.