Blog Tour/Giveaway: City Quilts by Cherri House

Today I’m thrilled to host the grand finale of Cherri House‘s blog tour to celebrate her new book City Quilts. OK, confession — I was just late in asking to be included, so Cherri was kind enough to tack me on to the end of the tour! Jessica is the rightful grand-finale host, but I guess because of my neverending fascination with solid fabrics and my lifetime membership in the Cherri and Lizzy House fan club, Jessica’s throne was usurped. Sorry, lady friend.

In case this is the first you’ve heard of City Quilts or the tour, I encourage you to familiarize yourself by visiting Cherri’s previous stops. Some of them still have giveaways going (and I’m no exception — see the end of the post).

City Quilts is an essential addition to your sewing/quilting library if you’re interested in working with solid fabrics, are a beginning quilter or beyond interested in modern quilts, or just love unique takes on the creative process. All the quilt patterns included in the book were inspired by grids found in the urban landscape. At the same time, it’s a gentle introduction to achieving dazzling and impressive color effects by juxtaposing fabrics of different hues and values. Check out some of gorgeous patterns included in the book as Cherri answers my motley assortment of questions …

{ City Shops }

City Quilts is kind of a love song to the urban landscape, and the urban landscape of Houston in particular. I love Houston — it’s so huge there is something (more than something — a lot of something!) for everyone. Will you tell us about the must-visit shops and other sites for textile tourists?

My LQS is It’s A Stitch in Humble, near IAH airport — great for travelers with a little time before a flight. Another shop I really love is Painted Pony in LaPorte – other side of town, but a great selection. There seems to be a huge explosion of shops on the southwest part of Houston as of late. That part of town is a good hour plus away, so I haven’t visited any of them yet. It requires a road trip to hit all of the “local” stores. Though not Houston, Austin has a great selection of stores for quilters … lucky you!

{ City Lot }

What is your fabric stash like? How do you store it all? On a related note, I was mighty impressed by your fabric journal described and pictured in the book.

I have a wall unit from Ikea that I use for my fabric storage. Wire bins hold all my smaller fabrics cuts that are sorted by color, style, precuts, and speciality fabrics. What once was a linen closet now holds long yardage, and fabric for quilt backs. Kona solids are kept in tubs, and I have small bins where I keep projects that are queued, and awaiting sewing. My fabric collection is spread over 1/2 of my home … I need a studio! In regards to the journal, I would recommend that every quilter, or seamstress start one, and maintain it through the years. Aside from fabric swatches, I also keep design notes and sketches, plus thank you notes from the recipients of my quilts. I’ve been keeping a quilt journal for about 10 years, and it is great to look back, and see what I’ve done, and what has changed.

{ City Lights, which was perched precariously over the railing of some very tall downtown building for the cover shot! }

After reading your lake story, I looked at the photography in City Quilts from a different perspective. So many of the shots are taken from high places! Were you involved in the shoots? Were you worried about them flying off the railings and blowing down the streets?

Fortunately all but a few photos were taken by C&T, and I think they are probably more careful with my quilts than I am. Photo shoots are so crazy, the wind is always blowing, quilts are always trying to fly away, rigging systems fail. Helpers are scrunched down behind quilts, trying to stay out of the shot and keep the quilt still. Falling in the lake has been the most dramatic of all my experiences, and fortunately I didn’t drown, and the quilt didn’t fly into the lake with me. No more photo shoots by myself, that is my new rule!

{ City Aviation halfway assembled on the design wall, pre-quilting }

Let’s talk about quilting a solids quilt. I know not everyone thinks this way, but to me the quilting design is just as important as the piecing. And the quilting on an all-solids quilt is even more important, because it shows up so much more. Are you extra exacting with your solids quilts when it comes to fixing mistakes, thread ends, etc.? And how do you feel about outsourcing your quilting? Any tips to give to readers on working with a professional long-armer?

I’m so glad you are asking about this … you’re the first. In the book I talk quite a bit about the importance of the actual quilting; how it is very much a part of the whole composition. As you are envisioning, and planning your quilt, the quilting needs to be part of the overall plan, and not an afterthought. Personally I have no qualms about sending a quilt out to be professionally quilted. I know my limitations as far as machine quilting goes. There were several quilts in the book (City Aviation, City Center, City Lot, and City Circle) that I needed the quilting to be very specific, and I knew that it was beyond my capabilities, with the time constraints that I was under. My longarm quilter is DeLoa Jones, and she was a lifesaver. Normally her work is very traditional, and I completely pushed her out of her comfort zone with the work I was asking of her; City Aviation just about killed her. She kept saying that there should be feathers, and wreaths on the those open spaces, and I kept saying “No, it has to be contemporary, it has to be modern!” She came through, and the quilting makes the quilt. In regards to working with a longarmer, ask to see samples of their work, ask if they are comfortable, or capable of doing the work you need done. Ask about their backlog, and what the wait time is. Sometimes, if I know I will need a quilt with a quick turnaround, I will call and ask for space to be reserved so I can send the top in last minute, and get it back in days. This happened with the book, and it is frequent around Market.

As I’ve mentioned before in regards to working with solids, you can’t hide mistakes the way you can with a busy print. Know that going in, and work with that in mind throughout the process, the extra time and care definitely pay off.

{ City Tracks }

You mentioned earlier in the blog tour that you love Kaffe Fassett — you two are definitely kindred spirits when it comes to simple, geometric-based quilt designs. And his fabrics, though often multicolored, function so much like solids. Then I started envisioning your quilts with his fabrics and some of his quilts with solids and my creative mind exploded. Have you ever tried either?

I’ve never thought of it in that light, but for me, his fabrics were really the bridge from “printed” fabrics to solids. For a couple of years, all of my quilts incorporated his fabrics. My quilts were changing, as well as my fabric selections. After my “Kaffe” period, I then began my work with solids. Though I own several of his books, I’ve never made one of this quilts. I’m in the process of creating some new patterns combining solids and some Kaffe fabrics; I’m excited to see how they will be received.

Thanks so much Cherri, and congratulations on this grand accomplishment!

As with all the other blog tour stops, you can enter here for a chance to win a copy of City Quilts courtesy C&T Publishing, and a Kona Cotton Solids Fat Quarter Pack (of your choice, but clearly I’d encourage these reds!) courtesy Robert Kaufman Fabrics. Just leave a comment with a valid email. The comments will close next Saturday, July 31, around 4pm CDT, and I’ll announce the winner shortly after that.

Quilt images by Cherri House, used with permission.

358 Comments

  1. Regina says:

    I would just love to flip through her quilt journal! wow. I would really love to have this book for inspiration as well and of course the lovely set of kona cotton. I love the liberated feeling solid colors give you because you know you can always find more.

  2. City Quilts is a beautiful book and the work is exceptional.

  3. Judith says:

    Stunning quilts! Love the Reds.

  4. Jessica Blomquist says:

    I really would love this book! Her design ascetic is very similar to how I want mine to be. I love using solids and showing simple lines. Very Mondrian to me.

  5. Nancy R says:

    Incredible quilts and great interview! Yes, and the kona reds are awesome too.

  6. Paula says:

    I love this book! I got it for my birthday … and I would love to have these reds to make City Tracks … Thank you for the giveaway!

  7. Kate Conklin says:

    What a fantastic interview! Thanks so much. I’d love to win her book!

  8. Jennifer says:

    This blog tour was just so fun … love the different interviews!