I know very little about quilting, and certainly had no idea what a jelly roll quilt was when I first received this book. So for those of you feeling lost already, a jelly roll is a roll of forty different fabrics strips that are 2.5 inches wide that were introduced by Moda to showcase their latest range of fabrics. The idea behind jelly roll quilts is that all you need to make the decorative top of a quilt is one jelly roll and some background fabric.
The concept behind Antique To Heirloom Jelly Roll Quilts is to showcase genuine antique quilt designs, many dating back to 1930s America, (with a few British designs dated even earlier), and then create a contemporary alternative that can be made by the reader.
All the quilts appear to be detailed and complicated but the first pattern is a simple design, and the complexity only gradually increases as you move through the book. There are twelve modern quilt patterns to follow. Each pattern begins by introducing you to its antique predecessor with a full page image of the quilt in a lifestyle situation, and an introductory paragraph on the history of the item.
The patterns are written step-by-step and make use of easy to follow, accurate, colour diagrams. You are told exactly what size the strips need to be cut to before you begin (as well as how many), then the diagrams help you to understand how blocks are gradually built up and put together. I was surprised by how easy it was to follow. It felt a little like it was bending my brain, but only because I think in rather an erratic fashion, and this is very structured and logical.
The instructions make quilt making seem very achievable, but my wary side, that has witnessed me being hugely optimistic about many a challenging craft project, kept reminding me that this must be quite labour intensive. You only have to look at the sheer number of triangles that need cutting for some of the projects, to realise that it requires a certain amount of commitment. If you are someone with experience in cutting and sewing however, I'm sure this isn't so daunting.
I could appreciate how beautiful all of the designs were, even if I would have chosen some alternative colour palettes, but my favourite designs were the dramatic blue and white Ocean Waves, and the simple yet effective block pattern of Sweet Sixteen.
It's worth noting that this book focuses on taking you through the creation of the decorative top, of a quilt, and only mentions the actual quilting process very briefly. If you are also wanting to learn about quilting there are many books available.
I had no interest in any kind of quilting, it had always sounded stuffy and old, but the quilts in this book are absolutely stunning, and I have a new found respect for the craftmanship that has gone into these textile works of art. I can't honestly say that I have the patience myself to make something so staggeringly beautiful, but hopefully I can find somebody that can do it for me.
Antique to Heirloom Jelly Roll Quilts by Pam & Nicky Lintott is available from all of the usual book retailers including http://www.rucraft.co.uk/antique-to-heirloom-jelly-roll-quilts (£11.99)
David and Charles
Please note that I wasn't paid to write this review, although I was given a copy of the book.