Books on Monday – Design Inspirations

Welcome back to Books on Monday. Today we are looking at Design Inspirations by Margaret Solomon Gunn.(Yes, in a few minutes I will go all fangirl, but first we’ll get the basics out of the way. Yes, that is an Amazon link which will help support this blog.

If you are interested in learning about the design process of an award-winning quilter (or anyone who isn’t you), then this is the book for you. In this book, Margaret Solomon Gunn tells the reader about herself and her quilts and how she made them. The book includes patterns for three of her award-winning quilts including quilting suggestions. (Who does that?) It also includes a gallery of many of her quilts, and information about how she got started.

If you have been to a major show in the last few years, you have probably seen a quilt by Margaret Solomon Gunn. You’ve probably seen one with a ribbon on it. I know I’ve seen two of the three quilts that are patterned in this book in person (Zen Garden more than once). Her quilts are gorgeous and so is the quilting. I’ve been following her blog for quite some time and have seen enough of her quilting that when I saw a quilt at the Shipshewana show last June that was not made by her, I looked at the quilting and thought, “That looks like some of Margaret Solomon Gunn’s quilting.) When I looked closely at the identification card, sure enough she had quilted it.

Will I use this book to make a quilt just like Zen Garden? Nope. At least I think I can say that pretty definitely. Will I learn to quilt as beautifully and intricately as Margaret Solomon Gunn? No. But I appreciate the look at how it is done, and I may happily use elements from some of the quilts in future quilts of my own. (I admit to having my eye on the pointy flowers from Zen Garden.)

The patterns in the book are presented differently from patterns in books that are straight up project books. First, there is an introduction to the quilt, including the process she went through to design it and showing some alternate ideas she tried along the way. (For example, she admits to thinking that the tan background for Zen Garden is ugly and covering up as much as possible with appliqué.) She also includes how she decided on some of the quilting in this section. The section ends with a list of the awards which that quilt has one.

Next, she gives you the pattern for the quilt itself. The pattern looks a little different from other patterns and includes quite a bit of annotation about the best ways to do things. That is followed by a section on the quilting motifs she used and how to do them or something close to them. There are gorgeous close up shots of the quilting too. She does this for each of the three quilts. Forty pages of the book cover the pattern for Zen Garden, if you want an idea of how detailed this is.

Here’s what the table of contents looks like:

  • Introduction
  • Quilts of Margaret Solomon Gunn
  • Zen Garden
  • Autumn’s Splendor
  • Bouquet Royale
  • Preparing Turned Edge Appliqué
  • A Few Words from Margaret

I haven’t fangirled too much have I? Check out her blog too! She educates and shares there also.

Quilt on!

2 thoughts on “Books on Monday – Design Inspirations

  1. Really good review! Thanks for giving me a very good idea of the content of the book and pointing me to her blog.

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