Over the Hills is a free pattern you get when you join the Suzy Quilts Patterns Facebook group!
Subtitle: Wabi-Sabi Quilting
What is wabi-sabi quilting? At its core, wabi-sabi is the Japanese art of finding beauty in imperfection and accepting the natural cycle of growth, decay, and death. One Japanese phrase that I found especially poignant in describing wabi-sabi is natsukashii furusato or an old memory of my hometown.
If you are like me, and no longer live in your hometown, you probably have similar feelings – beautiful nostalgic memories mixed in with an awareness of its flaws. Wabi-sabi is to embrace the process of making without getting caught up in the product of making. It mean to appreciate the simple things and find more satisfaction with that which is immaterial, rather than material – the warmth of a cup of coffee, your child’s laughter, rain running down a window, my dog Scrappy cuddling in my lap 😉
If you sit here long enough, you could probably list 10 things in your life that are not “perfect,” but still wonderfully heart-warming and beautiful. You most likely could also list 10 distinct moments that made you pause and think, “If only I could bottle this moment up.”
Wabi-sabi quilting takes that Japanese tradition and applies it to the art and process of quiltmaking. When cutting and sewing, try not to ask yourself, Am I doing this right? Is my seam exactly a ¼ inch?
Instead, think about the smooth motion of slicing through fabric with a rotary cutter. Think about the happy hum of your sewing machine and what a joy it is to stitch such pretty little seams.
Wabi-sabi quilting is simple, uncluttered and inexact. Through this Over The Hills quilt pattern practice accepting the “mistakes” and embrace what is unique about each cut, each seam and each block – simply see the beauty in the handmade-ness of it.
So if you need someone to give you permission to dive in with no fear, here you go! This is a judgement-free space for you to create something that is truly and authentically yours!
Take a look at this video tutorial to see how approachable and fun wabi-sabi sewing can be!
A short Q&A for those with doubts:
Q: Are templates included in this pattern?
A: Nope! Each block will be unique because you will decide where to cut and how much slope to give every hill. The pattern will show roughly where to cut and explain sewing technique, but the rest is up to you.
Q: I’ve never sewn curves before. Could I make this pattern?
A: OMG YES! This pattern is probably the best way for you to learn. Because the heart and soul of wabi-sabi quilting is finding beauty in “mistakes,” you can relax and let yourself learn and enjoy the process of sewing curves. My video tutorial will demonstrate exactly what to do so you have the tools you need to launch yourself into a curves-sewing frenzy! Once you master wabi-sabi curves, try a pattern with templates like my Propeller quilt. You may just become addicted to those curvy edges!
Q: I don’t have a lot of time. How long will it take to make these blocks.
A: Because there are no curved templates, think about all of the things you DON’T have to do with this pattern – 1. Print and make the templates. 2. Painstakingly trace the templates onto the fabric. 3. Carefully cut each template out. With my wabi-sabi technique, you just eliminated those first 2 steps and then very much expedited the third. Whaaaa?!? 🙂
After making a wabi-sabi quilt, you may want to try a curves pattern with templates. My Propeller pattern is a lot of fun and also has an instructional video tutorial. Just because templates are introduced does not mean you should be intimidated. This sewing curves technique uses no pins or special tools. I guess you could say even my template patterns are a little wabi-sabi 😉
Also, if you want more info on what wabi sabi is, this book is a great resource. Reading it in college started my life-long love affair.