When I first started really quilting about 11 years ago I took a few classes from a very talented quilter, Leslie Ison. (I made this sunflower quilt, still one of my all-time favorites, in one of those classes.) Little did I know then that years later, her daughter Calli would become a very great friend. So when Calli invited me to a ‘trunk show’ of her mom’s quilts, I jumped at the chance to see Leslie’s work again.
Leslie is on the right. The show was hosted by Amber (a talented quilter herself – sorry Amber, not a great picture.) Leslie has a way with fabric. I lover her use of color and her fabric combinations. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her make a quilt from a manufacturer’s collection – she mixes and matches fabric lines in all her quilts.
This quilt is made up of 300 individually appliqued baskets. Wow.
And it’s the second quilt like this that she’s made.
As she was describing her quilts, Leslie gave some sage advice (which I quickly jotted down on the back of a Costco receipt).
1. Make quilts that you love. Amen to that. Isn’t it hard to make something you just don’t love?
2. Don’t worry about perfection – it’s overrated. Quilts need to have some imperfection in them. Once again, Amen. Perfection can be such an obstacle – I’ve seen too many people quit and give up because they were so frustrated by making their quilts perfect. Just enjoy the process and let go of the perfection.
3. Label you Quilts. (Here’s where I need to repent. I’m terrible about this. Vowing right now to do better!)
A work in progress
4. Document your life and your history and your family’s history in your quilts. Leslie showed a bunch of quilts she’d made in memory of her mother’s kitchen, her grandparent’s farm, etc. They were wonderful.
5. Make quilts that mean something. Leslie made this quilt this spring after going to the Red and White exhibit in New York. This pattern is called Sunny Days and can be found at Geoff’s Mom’s Patterns (along with many others in this trunk show.)
6. When it comes to colors, there are no ‘rules’. Leslie shared the experience of learning to quilt from a master teacher who told her that the quilt she was working on needed more yellow. But she didn’t want yellow in the quilt. So when she teaches, she never comments on color or fabric choices. Color is an expression of our own tastes and personality. Don’t feel beholden to some color-rule-book. Use what speaks to you and what you love.
You can see more about Leslie’s trunk show at Calli’s blog as well. Thanks again to Amber for hosting. I was inspired all over again by Leslie’s amazing talent, quilts and by her love of this art form. Made me want to go home and lock myself in my basement for a week just start playing with color and fabric.