Willyne Hammerstein has been much talked about in recent years with the huge popularity of her 'La Passacaglia' quilt from her debut book Milleifiori Quilts. Her global-spanning fan-base will be delighted to hear of her brand new book for 2015, simply named; Millefiori Quilts 2. If you were in awe of her first book with the incredible array of kaleidoscope and geometric English Paper Pieced quilts you will be equally blown away - perhaps more so, by this new book.
Willyne hails from the Netherlands, with a long-standing career in law. Like many of us can relate to, she picked up the quilt bug after visiting several quilt shows, markets and shops and found the time to English Paper Piece while travelling for work; it was in the evenings when she had the time to rest and reflect that she began making quilts with men's ties. Soon she had eight large quilt's that were exhibited at the white palace of the Council of State - I think in Turkey? and I guess the rest is what they call history!
It was great to read about her reaction to all the La Passacaglia quilts that been inspiring quilter's worldwide, which spurred her on to design and create again. Though I was saddened to read that this might not have been the case as she suffered a cycling accident in 2013 and spent many months in rehabilitation with a shattered left hand and wrist. Very fortunately she recovered, and used her time wisely in-between her sewing hiatus to work on even more new patterns for the book.
So, back to this new Millefiori Quilt's 2 book! It's really a delight. I have spent many hours pursuing the book and studying the blocks, while blurting out loud every so often, "Oh my gosh", "Wow!". Willyne enjoys studying Islamic patterns, which is so prevalent in her intricate designs.
The cover star winner on this book is 'Ballet' - which I'm very pleased about as I find it a lot easier to pronounce than the previous 'La Passacaglia'. Pronounced - 'PAS-A-CAL-YA'. It's another stunning kaleidoscope pattern that will surely win the hearts again of quilters everywhere. Dare I say, I think I even prefer Ballet to La Passacaglia?! Yes. I think I do. It has beautiful harmony between the larger rosette's and those larger stars really stand out and bring it all together magnificently.
There are 17 quilts to feast your eyes on in total, and even with a more expensive title price you certainly get you money's worth! I love the names she uses for the quilts; 'Staphoster Snotterkapjes', I'd love to know what that means? 'Be Calm And Count Up To Ten' … perhaps she named that one because she had a flustered creative moment, you know, like we all do ;-) Maybe she misplaced her stitch-ripper, oh, and every needle in the house and had to be calm and count to ten … These are all questions I will be asking her next month when I travel to see her at the Pour l'amour du fil show in France, of course!
Ok so maybe this one is my favourite? Because I can imagine she's regular quilter like me and has these moments ;-) Ok probably not. Everything no doubt goes to plan and fits together like a jigsaw puzzle.
With each quilt pattern, the blocks/rosettes/cogs are broken down section by section so you can digest these complicated looking designs down into manageable pieces. The tough part is not the tiny pieces I imagine, it's getting these larger pieces all joined together seamlessly. There are templates to trace the shapes at each chapter.
People have asked me to comment on the skill level of these books though I'm reluctant in my advice as I haven't began to make any of them myself yet so I wouldn't be the best judge on that. However I wouldn't say the kaleidoscope quilts are for the faint hearted.
Willyne also had more simple designs such as 'Old Dutch' which is simply an 8-pointed star set on point. 'Sunrise', which uses square and triangle variations - as well as others. I think the scary thing for a lot of people is scale. They are large quilts, which we all know is quite an undertaking using English Paper Piecing, though that's why we love it! So don't be put off, manage what you can and scale down the quilt size to make it more realistic to finish if that's what you need. I have my own long running 8-point diamond EPP quilt that's been in the works for a number of years! now, it get's picked up and dropped down again in between life, real-work, the shop, work sewing, the blog and other personal sewing projects, but it's always there when I need it. Good old reliable EPP.
My head is filled to the brim with English paper piecing dreams and motivation now so I'm off to do some! I hope this has given you a little inspiration for the weekend.
If you wanted a copy of the latest book you can find it here at Sew and Quilt. Though, be quick as we only have a handful of copies left! We also have the first book in stock if you need to get up to speed ;-) Leave me a comment below if you have any questions you would love to ask Willyne when I meet her next month! Don't forget as well, we have Sew and Quilt 'La Passacaglia' paper pieces, now arriving mid April - as there's been a delay - be sure to sign up to our newsletter to stay in the loop!