March 3, 2010

At the Road to California show in January, I had the excellent fortune to sit at the breakfast table with Carol Gilham Jones and Bobbi Finley. Several friends of mine were staying at the hotel, and they were also friends of Carol and Bobbi, so introductions were made–on a first-name basis–and Bobbi was flabbergasted when I asked her, “Are you Bobbi Finley??” That was a very familiar name to me after years of hanging around with active members of the American Quilt Study Group.

Carol and Bobbi had a special exhibit of their tile quilts in the show. Passing these at warp speed as I did the first time, these beautiful pieces have a stained-glass look, but lighter and airier. Bobbi says that a lot of people compare them to stained-glass quilts, but they’re not. Construction-wise, instead of “leading” applied over the raw edges of the shapes, these shapes are finished with turned edges, and the background is left exposed to create the spaces between shapes.

Tile Quilt Revival

Tile Quilt Revival: Reinventing a Forgotten Form is Carol and Bobbi’s fascinating, educational, and inviting book that reintroduces this “unique and somewhat obscure” form of appliqué quilt.

Tile quilts are explained this way:

Traditional tile quilts… are constructed with small pieces of cotton fabric appliquéd in a random manner to a white background, leaving a narrow space between the pieces; this white space serves as the “grout” between the tiles or “mortar” between the pavers or stones.

The books starts out with a brief history of tile quilts, with great photos showing examples from the past. Then comes a section on how to make a tile quilt, reinterpreted for today. When I read the following, the heavens opened up and I heard the heavenly choir!

The tile quilt technique, with its large and simple shapes, creates an ideal showcase for bold, contemporary fabrics. Interesting, large-scale prints are will suited for the tile pieces. If you’ve ever found yourself admiring some of the daring prints now available but wondering how to use them, a tile quilt is an idea project for putting them to good use.

Hallelujah! I have a tub of fabrics in my stash labeled “Modern” that has been… well… sitting there.


Now my “daring” prints have a destiny!

The techniques used in the book are so simple they’re ingenious! No need to consider seam allowances, to reverse patterns, or to figure out where to place the pieces. Another really great thing about this book is that it has fantastic appliqué instructions… needle-turn by hand, turned-edge machine-appliqué and fusible machine appliqué too, all expertly explained and illustrated. If you’re reading this blog, you probably like appliqué already, but how about this section where the authors say:

Even if you don’t love to appliqué or don’t consider yourself to be skilled at it, chances are you will enjoy the tile quilt process because it is not exacting. The tile-and-grout form is quite forgiving, and the inevitable deviations from strict uniformity in the grout add to the visual interest and appeal of a piece.

How cool is that?? Get your A-word friends to take a look!

After the appliqué information, there are instructions for several projects with full-size pull-out patterns.


Then there’s a Gallery of Contemporary Tile Quilts. These are fun and inspiring to look at as you see what quilters of today are doing to reinvent the form.


C&T Publishing is graciously sponsoring a giveaway of a copy of Tile Quilt Revival! Leave a comment before 7:00 p.m. California time on Friday, March 5, to be in the drawing. U.S. and Canada only, unless you’d be willing to pay the shipping.

Those subscribed by email, click over the the blog itself and scroll to the bottom of the post to leave a comment.

I wanna start a tile quilt right now, but dang I have deadlines!

Until next time,
By Kay Mackenzie


39 Responses to “Tile Quilt Revival”

  1. kathie on March 3rd, 2010 7:56 am

    OH I would love to win this book after seeing these on Barbara Brackmans blog I want to try and make one
    would love to read more about these quilts, learn the technique and of course lots of pictures for inspiration.
    thanks for hosting this and thanks C and T for donating the book !

  2. Kathleen C on March 3rd, 2010 8:03 am

    Tile Quilt Revival looks absolutely stunning! I fell in love with applique 15 years ago; now I have a new technique and style to try.
    Thank you for this giveaway with C and T; your previous book giveaways have been very generous (tho I’ve never won!, and your site is always fun and informative.
    Kathleen C.

  3. Cathy Norris on March 3rd, 2010 8:34 am

    I’m not sure if this is where you mean to leave a comment to win the quilt book, but I’d sure love to win it. If I should enter in another place, please post a comment as to where to go. I didn’t quite understand your directions of where to go.

  4. Dolores on March 3rd, 2010 8:49 am

    What a gorgeous book.

  5. Linda Carhill on March 3rd, 2010 9:33 am

    I love applique and this book really piqued my interest! I’d love to win it! Linda

  6. Julie Luca on March 3rd, 2010 11:20 am

    What a wonderful quilting technique! Put me on the list.

  7. Barb Rohrmayr on March 3rd, 2010 11:36 am

    I love the ideas that I get from looking at these quilts. I’d love to give it a try. Barb on Oahu

  8. Dana D on March 3rd, 2010 12:42 pm

    This is the first time I have seen this book – what beautiful quilts and such a fun technique! Thanks for sharing!

  9. Carol from Rock Hill, SC on March 3rd, 2010 1:07 pm

    Please add my name to the drawing. This looks like a fun technique. I’d love to try it.

  10. Ruth B on March 3rd, 2010 2:19 pm

    Wow….I love this book! The cover quilt is amazing and I just want to drop everything and make one! Thank you for generously giving this book away to a lucky winner.

  11. Sue on March 3rd, 2010 5:27 pm

    I would love the chance to win this book and try something new. Thanks!

  12. Erin in MI on March 3rd, 2010 5:50 pm

    This looks like a great book! If I don’t win it, I’ll definitely add it to my wish list!

  13. Kelly on March 3rd, 2010 5:59 pm

    What a fascinating style, I love the look of it. Would love to get my hands on a copy of that book!!

  14. Jodi Savage on March 3rd, 2010 6:44 pm

    I do love applique and that really looks like a new challenge!

  15. Robin Gold on March 3rd, 2010 8:58 pm

    Ooooo! This book has been on my wish list for a while now, but your review makes me want it even more! I would love to win this one! Thanks for the opportunity!!

  16. Linda P on March 4th, 2010 4:46 am

    This looks like so much fun, I love trying new things!! Please enter me in the drawing.Thank you for doing this!
    Linda P in IL

  17. Linda Hall on March 4th, 2010 4:52 am

    Beautiful! I’d love to give this a try!

  18. Joan Trautwein on March 4th, 2010 6:10 am

    I’ve never heard of this technique–quilter for almost 30 years.

  19. Jeanne H on March 4th, 2010 6:32 am

    What a great book! Will be adding it to my wish list.

  20. Michele Barnes on March 4th, 2010 6:58 am

    I have bypassed this book on two other sites, dismissing it as of no interest, but your post caught my eye. Much to my surprise, I am delighted at the concepts you outlined, and I think I NEED this book! So thanks for getting my attention. Michele

  21. Maria Hrabovsky on March 4th, 2010 7:02 am

    This “forgotten form” is completely new to me! How very beautiful, exciting, and inspirational! Endless fascination!
    Like you, I can hardly wait to complete deadlines and begin!

  22. Shirley Manis on March 4th, 2010 7:38 am

    This applique technique really appeals to me and I’ve been wanting this book. Please enter me in the drawing and thanks for sponsoring it.


  23. Lesa on March 4th, 2010 8:15 am

    I love applique and am still struggling some with the needleturn. I’d love to have a copy of this book — seeing the tile quilts on various blogs has really intriqued me.

    Thank you!

  24. Patricia on March 4th, 2010 8:40 am

    What a great form for quilt making. I am intriqued by this technique and would love to win the book. Thanks for giving us the opportunity.

  25. Darla on March 4th, 2010 9:23 am

    Wow!! I’ve been working on a sampler of various applique techniques and needed one more–this is it! I love it!! Thanks for sharing it with us.

  26. Sue on March 4th, 2010 10:05 am

    Just when you thought you’d seen it all…lovely results especially if you love applique !

  27. betsy on March 4th, 2010 10:15 am

    Kay the book looks interesting.I would love to win it.

  28. Caryn Sakaguchi on March 4th, 2010 4:43 pm

    This is a very cool looking book with great photos. I haven’t really started appliquing yet (planning to do it soon), but I have been collecting books and this looks like it would be a great addition to my library.


  29. Brenda on March 4th, 2010 8:28 pm

    Well this looks like a great concept and the book looks like great eye candy.

  30. Bonnie on March 5th, 2010 1:45 am

    This books looks fantastic! I love “mosaic” and “stained glass” effects in quilts and I enjoy applique, so I’d love to have a copy of this book.


  31. Carrie P. on March 5th, 2010 7:04 am

    Wow, this is very fascinating to me. It is such a neat idea. I love applique and I would love to win this book.

  32. Connie Eldridge on March 5th, 2010 7:41 am

    These quilts are beautiful. I have been an “A” word quilter since the beginning of my quilting obsession. I am now imagining new projects. May even find myself auditioning fabric later today. Thank you for sharing this with us and to C&T for donating this beautiful book.

  33. T Han on March 5th, 2010 9:07 am

    Wow! I love the look of the Tile Quilts. I would love to win the book to learn the technique. Thanks so much!

  34. Vera Nugent on March 5th, 2010 12:29 pm

    I’ve never heard of tile quilts before but they aare gorgeous!! I can’t wait to try one! What a great way to use those large scale prints and florals.

  35. Kim on March 5th, 2010 1:32 pm

    Hi Kay:
    Another book giveaway – how wonderful! Could you please enter my name in the draw? It looks like a beautiful book with gorgeous quilts and colours.

  36. Margaret Travis on December 3rd, 2010 9:59 am

    I’m a pattern designer and have fallen in love with Tile Quilts Revisited. There are 6 of us all making “Lotus” with a completion goal of May. Thought Bobbi might like to see pictures of the group and our finished quilts. Could you please forward this to her and thank her for a wonderfully exciting pattern! Thanks!

  37. Patty on March 2nd, 2011 8:58 am

    I have been seeing these quilts pop up all over the Internet and I am catching the fever! What a lovely book of inspiration, and one that I’d love to add to my library.

  38. Candis on March 16th, 2011 6:06 pm

    I think I could be in love with the “A” thing…..if I could learn this technique by winning this book…….

  39. SCVQA Show & Tell : All About Applique on April 24th, 2013 8:48 am

    […] is co-author with Carol Gilham Jones of the wonderful book Tile Quilt Revival, previously featured here on the blog. She had beautiful samples of tile quilts hung up, as well as […]