blair stocker: meaningful patchwork

blair stocker: meaningful patchwork

By guest blogger Blair Stocker—quilt author, speaker and teacher

SEATTLE WA  The first quilt I ever made was of my daughter’s baby clothes. I was raised surrounded by strong Southern women, many that were crafty and creative, but no quilters. I didn’t know much about making a quilt. My instinct told me that you use fabrics that you have and love—why would anyone buy new fabrics to cut them up? And that quilts usually have three layers. Although I wasn’t sure how they were held together.

Everything else was pulled in little bits from my apparel design background (watching the can-do attitude of sample sewers making wacky garments from non-wearable fabric in five minutes flat can make you think anything is possible). Also, what I learned in high school and college sewing classes. From all of those bits and pieces, combined with a genuine desire to make one, that quilt was made.

My daughter’s quilt has survived the last 18 years and shows no signs of wearing out yet. But even more special, it has become such a tangible symbol that first year of my daughter’s life. A time that was incredibly complicated, yet amazingly simple. Just like that quilt I made for her.

Over the years since that first quilt, I have become very enamored with the story-telling ability of quilt, and have done much reading and sewing and researching on the topic. The fabrics can hold powerful memories of times and places from our past. Sewing them into patchwork quilts can bring them front and center, right into our present and part of our daily life. In an era of evaluating and keeping only possessions that bring us joy, the patchwork quilts I love most are truly an embodiment of this idea.

My newest book, Wise Craft Quilts: A Guide To Turning Beloved Fabrics into Meaningful Patchwork, was written to inspire us to pull those saved fabrics from our drawers and attics. From the quilt projects and patterns, to the photography, and the words—all are meant to inspire quilters and non-quilters; to incorporate a special patchwork quilt into their lives.

Each of the 21 patterns uses a different collection of special fabrics (which, by the way, certainly doesn’t always have to be vintage or old if newer fabrics inspire you) and walks you through how to cut, sew, and use these fabrics to create something special. I want to spread the word that making a quilt is not always about learning the “quilt rules”. It’s more about the desire to want to make something you can enjoy with fabrics you love.

The first quilt made for the book was “Racer”. Designed for my husband Peter, a passionate cyclist, it uses all of the racing numbers/bibs that he has collected from his many years of cycling. Numbers such as these are almost always saved, an d this was a way to have them out and in our lives in a functional way, rather than shoved away in the basement.

The quilt “Taupe” uses clothes we’d designated as donations. They are now a beautiful, textural quilt, made of a color palette inspired by pottery pieces from the thrift store that decorate our home.

To visit Blair‘s website, Wise Craft Handmade +visit now


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1 comment


  • Jamie S
    I really enjoyed your post. Making a quilt from precious used clothing was my intent when I started quilting and yet I haven’t done one. You have inspired me to re-focus on that goal. Your book looks lovely.

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