For Cassandra Ellis quilts are “the absolute summation of homes, families, communities and individuals”. In the introduction to her new book, A World of Quilts, she talks eloquently about the magic imbued in quilts through their making. She explains that what she finds most compelling about quilts is that their existence is about need (to give shelter, warmth and comfort), but they offer this while also giving a voice to their maker (to tell the story of their maker’s creativity and their family’s history). It’s this – the history and creativity of the people who make them rather than the technical skills they possess – that really interests her.
I have seen quilts of aching beauty made from little more than scraps, and many more ‘wonky’ quilts that are truly moving
It’s fitting then that this book strips the process of quilt-making back to its basics, guides you through the fundamental processes of quilt-making in a ‘masterclass’ and gives you the secrets to 25 different quilt patterns that you can adjust and adapt. It gives you the tools and techniques; the magic is yours to add. As Cassandra writes on the book’s inner sleeve: “Quilts are just fabric that has been cut up and sewn back together again in a way that makes the maker happy.”
The instructions are clear and easy to follow, but this book is so much more than that. It is a book to covet, inspire and learn from. Each quilt has an introduction that sets out the origins of the design, cutting and piecing instructions, a simple diagram and photographs to swoon over (if you have ever made a quilt and struggled to photograph it, look no further than this book).
The quilts Cassandra makes (and shows you how to make) in A World of Quilts are contemporary while being steeped in history and tradition. They are glorious – and this book makes you feel that you really could make something glorious too.
A World of Quilts by Cassandra Ellis is out now in hardback
Published by Jacqui Small, £25. Photographs by Catherine Gratwicke
Win a copy of A World of Quilts
We have three copies of A World of Quilts by Cassandra Ellis to give away. To be in with a chance of winning one, just leave a comment at the end of this blog post or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Teach me to quilt”. The competition closes at midnight on Sunday 5 October and winners will be chosen at random after this date.
Please note that because this book is full of big quilts it weighs a lot and costs a lot to send, so this competition is sadly only open to UK residents.