Thursday, January 5, 2023

Celebrate New York City! Make a Quilt!

My favorite things in life (aside from people) include most foods; most quilts made by someone other than me; and many aspects of New York City, which is sorta my ancestral homeland. 

So I am thrilled to announce that after a lifetime of gestation (plus a year of actual work), my book, "Quilted New York; Celebrate the City with Fabric and Color" is in print and available! 

Here’s the proof, my new book in my old hand, wearing my Dad's even-older ring (I think my grandmother gave it to him in the 40s). My Mom’s ring is on my other hand. I wish they were here, because New York City played a big role in their lives.

The book has detailed directions for making 11 structures inspired by iconic NYC architecture. There are two quilt patterns, one for this quilt, which I call "Color Block New York." (It can be about 70" square, more or less, depending on border choices.)


And for people with less wall space, there's "New York Condensed," which is about 60" square. 

My Dad's mother, a turn-of-the-century immigrant from Poland, settled in a one-room tenement apartment in Williamsburg (at 182 S. Third Street). Her husband abandoned the family, so she raised two sons alone, toiling at a sewing machine in a leather pocketbook factory. It’s such an irony that the sewing which wore her down brings her granddaughter so much joy. I understand how much luckier I am than her; the unconditional love she showered on us despite so many years of hard labor is one of the reasons I have the luxury of enjoying recreational stitching.  

My Mom was a death camp survivor from Radom, Poland, who moved to Brooklyn after the war. 

New York City gave both of them refuge and an excellent education. Dad earned an undergrad degree from NYU, and a graduate degree at Columbia U's Teacher's College; his tuition was paid by the GI Bill because of his combat service in WWII. I don't know how Mom paid for Hunter College, but it couldn't have been expensive, because it was public.

When I was in elementary school, we'd visit my Bubbie (grandmother), in that Williamsburg apartment. To my frustration, our parents absolutely forbade my brother and me from playing on the tantalizing fire escapes.

So New York always felt like my homeland. One building in my book is a tenement, complete with fire escape, in honor of Bubbie. (I took artistic liberties with the color).

It's my hope that the book will appeal not just to fans of The City, but also any quilter interested in portraying any city. 

First, because the book teaches my unique piecing technique for architecture, in which most raw edges are turned to the back during piecing, so you don't have to rip seam ends after the building's pieced. This method works well for all kinds of architectural appliques. 

Second, even though most of the buildings were inspired by particular New York structures, there may be similar buildings near you.

For example, the Empire State Building shares the wedding cake profile of many of its peers across the country that were built in the 1930s. Here's one of my depictions. 

The next structure was inspired by the New Museum of Contemporary Art, and the edge-turning-during-piecing technique works particularly well for so many post-modern buildings like this that have cantilevered sections hanging out beyond lower sections, with no supports at the ends, an engineering as well as a piecing and applique challenge.
Making my version of the Freedom Tower (gold below) was a little like making pants, because the base piece was so long. Next to it is a purple-ized Chrysler Building variation, with arcs of triangles.
 
And so forth! The book invites you to either follow along with detailed directions, diagrams, and measurements; or if you prefer, improvise your own variations. 

Learn more about the book at my shiny new website, here. Where can you buy the book?

1. Ask at your local quilt shop. Tell them they can order it from me, or via the wholesaler Ingram Books. (If you ARE a quilt shop, please contact me for more information, at cathy.perlmutter@gmail.com)

2. Order it from a local bookstore: Go to Indiebound.org, and enter your zip code, to find a local bookseller who will order it for you (from Ingram).

3. If you'd like a signed (printed) copy; or a digital PDF edition, find both in my Etsy shop.

4. And, yes, it is on Amazon here, as well as other online booksellers. 

Please do feel free to email me with any questions!





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