mandalei-mushroom wanderlust quilts

Into the Woods with Wanderlust Quilts {Book Review & Giveaway}

Welcome to my stop on the Wanderlust Quilts blog hop! Here I’ll tell you a bit about Amanda Leins (Mandy’s) new book Wanderlust Quilts, invite you to venture into the woods with me after drawing inspiration from the book, and then tell you how you can win your very own copy of this invaluable book.

Wanderlust Quilts cover
Courtesy of Stash Books. Photo by Nissa Brehmer.

When I was first sent a review copy of Wanderlust Quilts, my initial reaction was Wow! I love how her quilt designs break all the rules! When I mentioned this to Mandy, she replied, “It’s good to know all of the rules so that you know which ones you can break”.  I love how Mandy truly draws inspiration from the world around her, specifically classic art and architecture, unbridled by labels or quilt police. She doesn’t confine her quilts to the limits of a rectangle while still employing skillfully precise quilting techniques, and she spells it out so that we can utilize the techniques, too.

Wanderlust Quilts Going Places
Going Places. Courtesy of Stash Books. Photo by Nissa Brehmer.

One of my favorite aspects of Wanderlust Quilts is that Mandy includes photos of her sources of inspiration, so that we can see how each inspiration photo is translated into a quilt. A cobblestone path in Europe becomes a baby quilt, “the beginning of the road for some little person.”

Wanderlust Quilts Fishbourne
Lovely Fishbourne. Courtesy of Stash Books. Photo by Nissa Brehmer.

In Wanderlust Quilts, Mandy not only invites us to travel to our favorite places, stretch our imaginations, squint our eyes a bit, and see the world as a quilt, but she also gives us the technical tools and skills necessary to fine tune our visions and make them a reality. Included in the book are clear instructions and tips on turning your photos or sketches into a quilt, both improv and precision piecing, sewing Y-seams, sewing curves, and more. Wanderlust Quilts is a great resource for inspiration and technique, which makes it one book that I would happily add to my library.

C&T Publishing is generously offering a copy of Wanderlust Quilts to a reader at every stop along the blog tour.  Keep reading to find out how you can enter to win your very own hard copy. If you can’t wait, Mandy is selling autographed copies in her store here.

But first, travel into the woods with me for a moment. When Mandy invited me to be a part of her Wanderlust Quilts blog hop, she suggested that I choose a place or thing that is inspiring to me and talk about what techniques I might employ to make a quilt based on that spot. With a background of environmental science and an innate love of nature, I immediately knew that I had to shrink the book to smaller than a dime and take it down to the forest floor.

mandalei-mushroom wanderlust quiltsAs I’m sure you’ve noticed in my weekly color inspiration posts, I love to get really close to nature, since changing your perspective can open up an entirely new world of beauty. I took this photo over a decade ago, in gorgeous Sussex County, New Jersey. To this day, it inspires me.

mushroom quilt inspired by wanderlust quiltsThinking about the process I would take to turn this photo into a quilt was not enough; I had to jump right in, newly inspired by Mandy’s ten unique and fabulous patterns in her book. Wanderlust Quilts not only inspired me to give improv a go, but it also inspired me to sew with brown fabric (what!?). Above is my first attempt at creating a quilt inspired by the minuscule mushrooms that unfurl from the leafy loam during particularly wet mornings.

mushroom quilt inspired by wanderlust quiltsAs is my style, I let excitement drive me and I dove into piecing improv half circles without consulting Mandy’s book. After seeing that my first try was less than perfect, I realized that this book full of techniques and tips was available right at my fingertips. Slow down, inspiration; sometimes reading and studying a technique before jumping in is key.

mushroom quilt inspired by wanderlust quiltsAfter flipping through the many techniques offered in Wanderlust Quilts, I decided to put my wonky mushroom tops aside and try the freezer paper method clearly outlined by Mandy. I didn’t have time to complete the experimental quilt before the hop, but I’m excited to put the masterful techniques Mandy includes in her book to good use in making this favorite photograph into a quilt. I’ll be sure to show you my finished work of art upon completion.

Wanderlust Quilts Giveaway

As I mentioned above, C&T Publishing is generously offering a hard copy of Wanderlust Quilts to a lucky reader at every stop along the blog tour. You can enter by leaving two comments:

  1. What location most inspires you?
  2. If you follow me, Night Quilter, let me know how–or visit my right sidebar to follow me if you don’t already, then tell me how! (e-mail, WordPress, Bloglovin’, Instagram, Twitter, Craftsy)

The giveaway will be open until Sunday, November 15th, 12noon EST. I will select one winner randomly from the comments below. Good luck! Note: This giveaway is now closed! Congratulations, Sandra!

Once you enter, be sure to check out the other great stops along the tour to see where else in the world has been visited by Wanderlust Quilts:

November 5: Gen Q
November 6: Casey York Designs
November 7: Bill Volckening
November 8: Angela Walters
November 9: Kitty Wilkin, Night Quilter <—YOU ARE HERE
November 12: Rose Hughes
November 16: Mandy herself, with a final wrap-up and additional giveaway!



77 thoughts on “Into the Woods with Wanderlust Quilts {Book Review & Giveaway}”

  1. It looks like this book will inspire a lot of creativity. I am most inspired by travelling to far-off places and seeing amazing architecture.


  2. I don’t really have a particular place that inspires me, at least not yet. Colors usually have much more influence – it’s exciting to see if I can take a beautiful color story (in nature, for instance) and translate it to fabric.


  3. Hmmmm. a location that inspires. I don’t know about inspiring, exactly, but there are a couple of places that relax and rejuvenate me, which is a prelude to being inspired, I suppose….. One is Natural Dam, a site about 45 minutes or so from our house with a small waterfall, beautiful trails, and lots of cool rocks.
    Thanks for the chance to win 🙂 Anxious to see your ‘shrooms…


  4. People/civilization/business are all inspiring to me. But quirky things: hairstyle of a woman crossing the street as I was waiting at a light, a vintage textile background in a display….

    I tend to go macro when looking at things. And then I make king size quilts!


  5. I couldn’t pick just a single location as most inspiring — any time I am out in nature I may be hit by some inspiration. It may also come from architecture, magazine photos, things I see online, or from stacks of fabric. That’s one of the things I love most about quilting — the possibilities are endless!


  6. “slow down inspiration” no truer words have ever been uttered! I dive in headfirst to things way too often but as long as I can keep track of up I’ll be good 🙂 I love your inspiration photo, those mushrooms are so neat! The location that inspires me is wherever I am. I think it’s important to find inspiration wherever you are because you never know when it’ll happen. The spirals on my notebook at work are as inspirational as the way the sun sparkles on the ocean in the fall; it’s all about perspective.


  7. We have a beautiful park system here I love walking in them plus we have an older downtown with lots of designs in the buildings that I doubt they even know are there. Also of course the internet that has more ideas then I could ever use.


  8. I follow you by e-mail and fb. A few inspirational places; Italy, London, Almonte, Canada, Adirondack-on-Schroon, NY, Seattle, WA,
    Hawaii, (love nature too, and there is so much to explore there), Gulf coast of Florida. Thanks for the opportunity.


  9. I live in the oldest city in Iowa and it is filled with history. The architecture, especially, inspires me and the cobblestone walkways and streets are wonderful for creative minds! duchick at gmail dot com
    I follow you on Bloglovin!


  10. Oh, I love close up nature shots! You can see each vein, fold, crevice, wave, line, shape… and it gives you the opportunity to see just how much of a detailed little creation it is!

    Did I read freezer paper?!? ohh, looking forward to hearing your take on this. Believe it or not, I’ve been trying a little epp… I still don’t like it.

    I follow you on Bloglovin’ and Instagram… but you know that ; )


  11. I love the tiny experimental mushrooms. I hope you persevere with this project.
    It is hard to identify one place that I find inspiring, but I know that I love cool-climate woodland (tress, lichens, mosses and ferns) and old architecture that has become weathered with age.


  12. Those mushrooms are perfect! I do a lot of walking in the woods where I let my mind wander and inspiration seems to seep in at those times. It was on one of these walks where I came up with an idea that would help me memorialize my grandmother’s potato salad, on another walk I was looking at the freshly fallen snow and trying to figure out how I could create a quilt that would reflect/recreate the prisms I was seeing across a field of snow, another concept I have is to make a quilt guided by song lyrics…”every picture has it’s shadow and it has some source of light” There is a quilt there I just can’t see it yet.


  13. One source of inspiration for me is the outdoors – Mariposa Grove in Yosemite inspired me to work on varied sizes of improv tree blocks in green fabrics.


  14. One of the kinds of places that inspire me is old architectural sites. Some of these sites have such gorgeous carvings and patterns, either in the floors or the ceilings, and even on the walls!


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