We are so pleased to be one of the stops on Cherri House’s City Quilts blog tour. As you surely know by now, modern quilter extraordinaire (and all around extraordinary person) Cherri House has released her first book, City Quilts – 12 Dramatic Projects Inspired By Urban Views, which is chock full of inspirational projects suitable for both beginning and advanced quilters. According to the book’s publisher, C&T Publishing, “the book explains the secrets of minimalist design and how to find beauty in the basic elements of your environment.”

We’ve seen the book, and it is amazing. Want a chance to win your own copy of the book? How about some Kona cotton solids to make a project from the book? We’re happy to give our readers the chance to win both. More about that in a minute, though. First, let’s learn a little bit more about the amazing Cherri House and enjoy some amazing images of quilts directly from her book!

Tell us a bit about yourself and your quilting background.

I come from a long line of Mormon pioneers, who through necessity were quilters. My Mom was a very accomplished seamstress, and she taught me to sew when I was little. My FAVORITE thing to do was to go with her to the fabric stores, I loved the fabric, the colors, the smell…I loved it all. I made my first quilt with my Mom when I was 12 years old. Quilting really become important to me as a young mom, making quilts and blankets for my four little ones.

What do you find the most inspiring in the city?

Everything! The buildings, the architecture, the outdoor sculpture, fountains – most every city has fountains. I grew up near Los Angeles, California – so that was my first city! The best thing to do is to walk around a city, to see it on foot, and discover what is unique, and personal about an area. The little hidden gems that every city has; and treasures.

Apart from your own (of course), what is your favorite city?

London! I was there on business and spent several weekends walking around the city…I love everything about it, Manchester too. A guidebook and raincoat – I’ll go anywhere!

What other things inspire you?

In what might be considered a little off, I see beauty in everything. Stacks of bricks, shipping containers, it doesn’t really matter what it is, I think there is beauty and inspiration everywhere. I’m always looking at pattern, numbers, formations; and I’m always trying to figure out how to translate it to a quilt.

How would you describe your style?

I have somewhat of a split personality, Part of me likes clean, sharp, almost to the point of being severe, but there is a part of me that likes flowery, romantic, and vintage things. I’m a sucker of Moda’s Three Sisters line of fabric, no matter how much I have, it’s never enough!

How would you describe the patterns in your book? Are they step by step instructions, or designed to inspire a quilter to make their own design decisions?

The quilt patterns are step by step instructions, but there is a section of the book devoted to encouraging quilters to create their own designs. I’m quite passionate about learning the fundamentals of a skill, and then building on those skills in order to give yourself wings, to do whatever you desire to do. The quilts in my book were designed with that end in mind. If someone wants to recreate a quilt that I’ve made – go for it! If you like what I’ve done, but want to add, build, or change it, that is great too!

Do you have a favorite quilt in the book?

City Lot…I just love that quilt!

(not City Lot : )

Tell us about your road to publication. Was it how you expected it to be? Did anything about it surprise you?

I began my business, Cherry House Quilts with a quilt named City Scapes. I become very fascinated with translating city themes into fabric – the hardness of a city, to the softness of a quilt. By the time I got to a quilt named City News, I knew I wanted it to be in a book. The ideas and themes had become clear in my mind, and I was ready to go forward with a book proposal. Publishing, like most everything it seems, was not at all what I expected it would be. The deadlines were tight, 12 quilts in 5 months, plus the actual writing of the book, and everything else that went along with the process. In regards to surprises, the biggest one had to be the solitary nature of the project. My children were all gone, so it was me, my dog, and two cats. The days took on a particular kind of rhythm of cutting, sewing, ironing, quilting, binding. Oddly, when the quilts were finished, first there was a sense of relief, then there was the sense of “What’s next; what do I do now?”

You are a very creative family. How much do you all bounce ideas off each other?

We do, all the time! Lizzy, Ashlee, and Melissa are all musicians, and all of us sew, and create. It’s very much a collaborative effort, and there is much bouncing ideas off of each other. Distance doesn’t seem to matter much, we take a digital pic, and email it to each other for opinions, and suggestions.

Describe your sewing space. What’s on the walls? What’s the overall vibe?

Small! I sew in a small corner of my master bedroom – I kind of like that all of the quilts in the book were made in this tiny, compact space…very cocoon like. Since completing the book I have converted one of the bedrooms into a fabric/prep room, but the actual work is done in my little corner. I dream of an awesome studio space, but until then…this is working for me. On the walls? Batting – a constantly revolving show of projects on my design wall. Nothing fancy I’m afraid.

What do you watch / listen to while sewing?

During the whole time that I was doing the book, all of my children were away from home…so I had to have something on to keep me company during all those hours. One of my best companions during the thick of things was watching The Amazing Race Season 2 on repeat. I can’t even tell you how many times I watched it…I should have acknowledged the cast on my dedications! For music I have separate playlists on my ipod for machine quilting, and a playlist for sewing. I have to have something going all the time – helps me keep a steady pace.

You obviously love color. What is your favourite color palette for a quilt?

Going strictly by looking at the quilts in the book, the answer would be blue/green. I never knew I was so drawn to those colors until I looked at how frequently I used those same fabrics over and over again. I think more in terms of mood, than favorite colors, so pink would be sweet, and yellow would be warm, and blue would be calm and cool, on and on it goes.

Prints or solids?

SOLIDS! I do love prints, I love all fabric; but I am especially drawn to the timelessness of solids.

Who is your favorite designer?

I certainly have a weakness for Kaffe Fassett – can a girl ever have enough Kaffe? My own Lizzy House of course! She keeps getting better and better. Her next line is going to be incredible!

Shoes, socks, or bare feet while sewing?

Bare feet – I hit the door, and off come my shoes.

What projects (patterns + fabrics) are on your “must make” list?

I have so many of my own patterns that I am going to create all queued up – it’s a really long list. Fabric I want to work with the most? Some beautiful yardage of Cherrywood Fabric! I’m going to make a Drunkard’s Path – I’ve been trying to get to the project for over a year now.

What?s next for Cherri House?

New quilt patterns, a proposal for a new book, teaching opportunities, a booth at Fall 2010 Market, and I would like to explore designing fabric. More of everything!

Thanks so much, Cherri! To win your own copy of City Quilts and a Kona cotton solids FQ bundle, please leave a comment on this post. We will pick a winner next Sunday, 7/25.

Be sure to check out all of the other stops on Cherri’s tour to learn more about Cherri and her book, and also for more chances at winning some fabulous prizes!

July 12th – Cheryl Arkison (Naptime Quilter)
July 13th – Amy Lobsiger (Mrs. Schmenkman Quilts)
July 14th – Stefanie Roman (Little Lady Patchwork)
July 15th – Pat Sloan
July 16th – Spool Sewing
July 17th – Allie (Robert Kaufman)
July 18th – YOU ARE HERE!
July 19th – Emily Cier (Carolina Patchworks)
July 20th – Sarah/Josh (Sewer Sewist)
July 21st – Julie (Jaybird Quilts)
July 22nd – Vickie Eapen (Spun Sugar Quilts)
July 23rd – Jessica Levitt (Juicy Bits)
July 24th – Kim Kight (True Up)