In Love with Modern Quilt Perspectives

Modern Quilt Perspectives by Thomas Knauer

I did a little happy dance around my house on the day that Modern Quilt Perspectives by Thomas Knauer showed up in my mailbox. I, like many, had been waiting for this release for quite a while, having had little sneak peeks of quilts and hints at the content.

I first met Thomas at Spring Quilt Market 2012 in Kansas City. It was my very first Quilt Market and I’d been working in the industry for less than 6 months. I think we were introduced by a mutual friend, but I distinctly remember him coming by the booth to chat. An initial inquiry about different types of batting turned into a discussion about my history in the music industry, pop culture, and plans for a theoretical NorthEast quilt market at which we’d share a booth, play music, and sit in rocking chairs.  Crazy? Perhaps. Fabulous? Of course;). I knew right away that I’d found a friend. He was one of the people who made me feel at home in this new business and one of the first to introduce me to this amazing world of creativity.

Thomas wrote to me about a month later with a request for batting for his upcoming book, seemingly still just a concept, albeit a very well thought out one. The initial pitch spoke to me — his aim was to create something that wasn’t just about pattern and perspective, but about the meaning and the beauty behind the process of creating a quilt. While I knew that his book would be different, that it would be a stand out in the sea of quilting books, I never quite realized how much I would truly love it.

Modern Quilt Perspectives by Thomas Knauer
[from Modern Quilt Perspectives]

Modern Quilt Perspectives reads like your new favorite book… Thomas has clearly put his heart and soul into his representation of modern quilting, offering thoughtful and practical instruction alongside social commentary and personal exploration. Each quilt featured comes with a story, a background, an inspiration. The quilts are made to make us think and to appreciate. They are meant to inspire and to enhance our lives.

Ampersand from Modern Quilt Perspectives by Thomas Knauer
[Ampersand by Thomas Knauer from Modern Quilt Perspectives]

With that in mind, one of my favorite quilts in the book is Ampersand. In Thomas’s words, “it is a storytelling quilt, a sort of choose your own adventure.” The quilt features a giant ‘&’, made of of individual squares, each with a different pattern or image. Thomas uses it as a source of inspiration for new stories with his daughter. Pick an image, start a story, keeping adding to the story with ‘and’ plus another image. There are endless possibilities and I can’t help but daydream about a quilt like this for my own daughter.

Reunion from Modern Quilt Perspectives by Thomas Knauer
[Reunion from Modern Quilt Perspectives]

Another favorite is Reunion. The pattern is given for 4 separate mini quilts, but the concept allows for many more. The idea is to create a series of small quilts that, when collected and combined, make up one large quilt much like individuals coming together to create one whole family.

In Defense of Handmade from Modern Quilt Perspectives by Thomas Knauer
[In Defense of Handmade from Modern Quilt Perspectives]

One of the first ‘sneak peeks’ I had of the book was with In Defense of Handmade. At first, I only got a partial glimpse of the quilt, but I could tell that Thomas was ecstatic. The concept, the execution, and the stunning quilting (by the incomparable Lisa Sipes) all contributed to one giant masterpiece. The quilt is an enlarged replica of a UPC code for a mass-produced, factory-made quilt that was marketed as hand-crafted. For Thomas’s thoughts, well… you’ll just need to grab a copy of the book;).

Though not listed in the book’s contents, the final quilt of the book could just be my absolute favorite. It is a tribute to Thomas’s relationship with his daughter and gives us a look at what it means to be an amazing father. The book starts with a dedication to her and ends with a quilt inspired by her. It is beyond sweet, really, and makes me love the book even more.

IMNH from Modern Quilt Perspectives by Thomas Knauer
[IMNH from Modern Quilt Perspectives]

So, Thomas — I’m cheering for you! This book will be a favorite for years to come. I feel honored to know you, am endlessly inspired by you, and am always looking forward to what you’ll do next. We at Pellon® are honored to have been even a small part of the process — the ‘magic in the middle’;).


The Modern Perspectives Book Tour
March 14: Thomas Knauer
March 15: Lisa Sipes
March 16: Robert Kaufman
March 17: Victoria Findlay Wolfe
March 18: Katy Jones
March 19: Bill Volkening
March 20: Kelly Biscopink
March 21: Audrie Bidwell
March 22: Mary Rachel Kolb
March 23: Rachael Gander
March 24: Sew, Mama, Sew
March 25: Cloth Paper Scissors
March 26: Cheryl Arkinson
March 27: Quilting Daily
March 28: Fat Quarterly
March 29: Pellon/Erin Sampson
March 30: Sew Modern
March 31: Rachel May

April 1: Quilty
April 2: Amy Smart
April 3: Quilter’s Connection
April 4: Teresa Coates
April 5: Generation Q
April 6: Cloth Paper Scissors
April 7: Sara Lawson
April 8: Kim Niedzwiecki
April 9: Rashida Coleman Hale
April 10: Thomas Knauer


Want your very own copy? Let us know what inspires you to create, or tell us the story behind your favorite quilt in the comments below. We’ll accept entries through next Friday, April 4 and will announce the winner on Saturday, April 5.


Congratulations to Katelyn @ Sing While Crafting!! She was #29 out of a total 59 entries. Thanks to all for playing along, and if you’re aching for your very own copy of Modern Quilt Perspectives, you can grab one right here.


pssssst — just for fun:)

[Clockwise from top: Thomas Knauer, Me, Lisa Sipes, Sara Lawson, Amelia Pinson at Houston Quilt Market 2012]



60 thoughts on “In Love with Modern Quilt Perspectives

  1. karriesmith says:

    It depends on the person I’m creating for. If it’s myself, the colors come to me first, then I’ll pick a design I like. I don’t really think about the inspiration part yet 🙂

  2. Marilyn S says:

    Seeing other people’s fun creations inspires me to make my own things. Thanks for the chance to win an awesome book.

  3. springleafstudios says:

    I’m inspired to create because I truly need to. I’m a more content, happy person when I am expressing myself creatively through designing quilts. Design and playing with colorful fabrics is my passion.

  4. cdahlgren2013 says:

    I sew most of my quilts as gifts of love for the people I love. My last quilt was a gift of love to myself. I have been unable to work for a year due to health problems. I found out last month that I won’t be able to work for at least 2 years. I decided to do something I’ve never done an online quilt along. I made a 72 x 72 inch quilt, a more difficult pattern than I’ve ever tried. I finished quilting and binding it this weekend, just in time for the Parade of Quilts. I needed to prove to myself that I am still capable of doing hard things. I am not unable, just temporarily disabled.

  5. raquel g. says:

    almost all my sewing comes from love. it’s too time-consuming to sew for any other reason. so if you get something handmade from me, it’s usually because i love you. 🙂

  6. Karen B says:

    thank you for sharing. I’m usually inspired by opportunities to break the rules. Like taking a pattern or design I don’t like so much and turning it into something I can like.

  7. Suellen Dehnke says:

    I’m new to the world of quilting. I was inspired by the impending birth of my first grandchild last September and now I’m hooked. I have so much to learn but I’m having a lot of fun doing it.

  8. Kitty Ann says:

    I am inspired by the universe! So much to see, do, learn etc, it’s hard to take it all in in the short time we have on earth. My favorite quilt(s) are the ones I make for those in need, just knowing someone will cherish my quilt for either warmth, comfort or both is satisfying to me. LOVE Thomas’ work, can’t wait to win this book! 🙂

  9. Carol J says:

    I honestly can’t say that my inspiration comes from any single source. There are so many things around us that can influence our quilting. Sometimes it is more of a whisper from somewhere inside of us that sets the wheels in motion. People, places, animals, books, photos… lots out there to inspire… and now it seems there is a new book that will open up even more creativity in us. Thanks for the giveaway!

  10. Rita McCart says:

    I have always wanted to make a Dresden plate quilt. I started quilting about 3 years ago(been sewing 40) and that was one of the goals. I save scraps(don’t we all?), scraps from the quilts and cloths I’ve made and I made a bunch of Dresden plate petals, one of each color and fabric. I can tell you where each piece of fabric came from; whether it is the pink fleece(D’cymber’s pj’s) or the black and white Damask(Charity’s bed pillows), the orange fringe(a purse) or the lady bug flannel(receiving blanket). All well known and well loved, no sashing, just tossed freeform about a piece of white fabric and sewn where they landed, with loose dresden petals scattered here and there like the memories that are in the fabric pieces.

  11. Marti Taylor says:

    I usually make things for my daughters inspired by them, my oldest is in love with coral reefs and bridges and I have been working on finding inspiration to create an ‘art quilt’ for her. Thanks for the chance to win!

  12. MoeWest says:

    I am inspired sometimes by the fabric itself, or the interests of the person I’m quilting for, or by something I’ve seen that gets my ideas going.

  13. sharon says:

    I usually take my quilt idea for the person from whom it is being made.
    I am going to longarm a heart square quilt tomorrow for my niece frankie, she is making a miniature of the same
    and I am piecing a baby quilt for my now ex-cat sitter , from ohfranson’s catvent

  14. Delaine says:

    Books like this inspire me to quilt. Seeing the absolute pleasure that some one else gets from quilting makes me want to help spread that pleasure around. Thanks!

  15. Susan in OK says:

    What a great book. Right now my favorite quilt is one made a couple of years ago by a lady who was 89 years old. She made it in about 3 weeks on a treadle machine. She’s now 91 and really starting to become more frail. She still lives alone. Oh, yeah, it’s a king quilt. I have one quilt my mother made that’s near and dear to me. I had one other quilt Mom had made – I had never put it on my bed. It was had pieced and had quilted. It was stolen. I know who stole it and lots of other things. The DA let her walk not once but twice on the charges. I have my own things for which to answer – I’m just glad I don’t have her stuff on my list. Thanks for the great into to this marvelous book. I’ve had modern quilt exposure more and more in the last week, so I’m thinking one may be in my near future.

  16. Maxine R. says:

    I would say that seeing other people’s beautiful quilts often inspires me. I love getting ideas from books and quilt shows.

  17. wendy says:

    I’m not sure what inspires me to create, it’s just a compulsion. I don’t think I have the same deep and meaningful stories behind my creations as Thomas does, but I really do admire him.

  18. QuiltSue says:

    Whoops, my previous comment got lost in space. What I said was that I am compelled to quilt when an idea appears in my head, although I don’t know where the ideas come from!

  19. Tamie says:

    So many bloggers/ writers out there inspire me with their beautiful work. Sometimes you just need to let those ideas out.

  20. Ruth says:

    I’m inspired most often by a color play I see, then try to make that make sense in shapes and ratio. Still learning how to put that all into play, but having fun while I’m learning.

  21. Amy C says:

    Seeing colours put together that I would have never thought of inspires me to be more creative and brave in my sewing. I sent Thomas an “i” for one of his quilts and have met him here in London on a couple of occasions – I can’t wait to see the book in real life!

  22. Katelyn @ Sing While Crafting says:

    I get tons of inspiration from quilting blogs and then of course pinterest. That being said as someone who has been slowly quilting for three years – I am now starting to gain and use the inspiration I find in my daily life. I cannot wait to get Thomas’ book! I hope to someday be able to express myself similarly. Thank you so much for the chance to win a copy!

  23. Linda Erickson says:

    I am inspired by things I see in the world around me. I like to do unique quilts, not following any traditional patterns, but making my own pattern up as I go along. This book looks quite inspirational so I’d love to have it.

  24. Jeanette says:

    My favorite quilt is one I made for my dad 2 months before he passed away. He loved jeeping in the mountains and I had never done a quilt that “represented” anything. I was in a time crunch to get it done and left with the quilt in a bag and the binding not attached. Can you believe that there was no sewing machines at any of the quilt stores in Phoenix to finish binding!! However, a woman at JoAnn fabrics let me pay for a class and I could sit and finish my binding on one of her machines. My dad loved the quilt and now my son has the quilt and it is full of memories!

  25. Lisa E says:

    I’m inspired by what I see others making. I love quilt shows, blogs, magazines, and books. Once I decide on a pattern, I usually think about what the recipient of the quilt would like. Thanks for the chance to win.

  26. Jackie says:

    In my early quilting days I would carefully chose the names of the quilt blocks and translate those into colors that reminded me of the family member or friend I was creating for. Sometimes the fabric and colors take over and let me know what should happen next and when the quilt is done. I enjoy the newer relaxed form of quilting that lets me in break the “rules” that I learned so many years ago as a beginning quilter. I love the look on someone’s face when they look at something that I’ve made for them that says “I get it. You made this for me.”

  27. Sue Staum says:

    My favorite quilt so far is an improv slab technique that includes special fabrics with special memories and meanings!! I call it, “Smile”!

  28. James says:

    I get inspired by the fabric – colour and texture. I always think I have a plan for a particular fabric and then I end up making something else because of how it ‘spoke’ to me.

  29. sarah says:

    My most favorite quilt I made was the last one I made. I used scraps from all my favorite fabrics and turned them into a baby quilt for my sweet faraway friend’s new little girl. This book looks awesome. I love his quilting on each quilt. It’s like sculpting. Such texture. Can’t wait to get a copy of the book. Thanks for the giveaway.

  30. cynthia says:

    I am inspired by the bounty of all the beautiful fabric that is available now! When I first started quilting, the selection of cottons was limited and mundane. Now, it’s paradise!

  31. Cecilia says:

    My inspiration comes from the people and places around me. The quilts in Thomas’ book are amazing. Thank you for the chance to win a copy his book.

  32. Melissa says:

    The more I read about this book and artist, the more I am intrigued. People inspire me. Something they say or do seems to trigger a reaction and before I know it, I’m making something new.

  33. Lynne Tilley says:

    My favorite quilt I’ve made so far is the 2nd one I made. I bought some charm packs of Flannel Moda with an Alaskan theme, while my hubby & I were on a cruise in Alaska, and we were at a port in Skagway, I believe. I brought those charms home and made a big warm flannel quilt for my husband and it hangs on the back of his easy chair. He uses it every fall & winter when he naps on the weekends. I was very proud of that quilt, and I still am, because he loves it so much and was so impressed that I could make something like that.

  34. Rhonda says:

    The concept of the “Reunion” quilt is fantastic! The few quilts I’ve made so far were inspired by the person receiving them. I’m starting to try my hand at quilting some items to sell and this book would provide tons of inspiration! Thanks for the chance to win a copy!

  35. Donna R. says:

    Lately, I have been inspired by the quiet. Just gathering my thoughts and concentrating on who or why I am making a particular quilt …

  36. Debra Kay Neiman says:

    I get inspired by what I see, scenes, pictures, nature, shadows, almost anything. crystalbluern at onlineok dot com

  37. Lisa Marie says:

    I am inspired by everything around me — nature, buildings, art, random objects, fabric, photos, etc.. Sometimes inspiration comes from unexpected things or at unexpected times and quilts from those inspirations are often the best. Even the most humble quilts, like those made to use up leftover scraps, bring joy. To me when making them and gifting them and to the recipient who gets to use them.

  38. In The Boon Docks says:

    I make quilts for people I have connections with so they inspire me to create! I know my subject target and what they like. I think this would be more difficult if I was just making to sell! Thank you, I cannot wait to read the book!

  39. Marty Askins says:

    The people and things around me is my inspiration for each and every quilt that I make. I love it when the fabrics also speak to me as well.

  40. Christine Bolin says:

    I’m very new to quilting, but have several that were given to me by a favorite aunt. What I like most about those is all the colors. She made one out of 3 inch squares of fabric and it surprises every time I see it, I find something I haven’t seen before.

  41. eamylove says:

    What a fascinating book…the quilting designs are as intriguing as the block designs, I think. For me, inspiration comes from fabrics. I see the prints, and they give me all kinds of ideas for what to make!

  42. Kristyn says:

    Colour inspires me- it’s everywhere just begging to be admired. What colours work well with each other? What colours are found in nature? Even wincing at a colour that isn’t one of our favourites but get us thinking- why don’t we like that colour? What emotions are being stirred up by that colour?
    Colour is amazing and how we, as quilters, follow rules and even bend the rules, allows us to create what we feel inside.

  43. Liz Rehrauer says:

    Every quilt I make and gift is made with love. My mother crocheted 99 afghans in her life and gifted every one of them. She thought about the person or family she was gifting through the entire process. Thomas is spot on by putting into words what many of us can only envision in our heads. I can’t wait to read his insight.

  44. Jacklynn Grimm says:

    My inspiration usually comes from the person I’m making the quilt for, but sometimes the fabric just speaks to me. Thanks for the give away!

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