Books on Monday – Big City Bags

Welcome back to Books on Monday. This week we are looking at a book that has been around for a while – Big-City Bags: Sew Handbags with Style, Sass, and Sophistication by Sara Lawson. This book has been around for awhile and I reviewed her later book Windy City Bags but my sister gave me this book for my birthday, so I thought I’d just mention it this week. And, yes, the link below is an Amazon Affiliate link which helps to support this blog. The first is a link to the paperback version, the second for the Kindle version.

 

And here is where I really cop out. I seriously began this post planning to do a thorough review of this book, but when I looked up my review of Windy City Bags to link it to this post, I saw the comment from Jaye at the Artquiltmaker Blog with a link to her review of this book. I made the mistake of re-reading it and realized that there was not way I was going to add anything meaningful to her review. So, in a real copout move, here is a link to her review. Let me just say, I agree.

And apparently I am hoping to start making a few bags. I just haven’t started yet.

Quilt on!

Books on Monday – The Fussy Cut Sampler

I’m sorry I missed the fourth Monday of last month, but July is a new month so here we are – back to Books on Monday! Today we are looking at The Fussy Cut Sampler: 48 Quilt Blocks from Your Favorite Fabrics by Nichole Ramirez and Elisabeth Woo. The link below is an Amazon Affiliate link and will help support this blog. Thank you!

This is a beautiful book. It is sturdy and well designed with lovely illustrations and plenty of white space on the pages. I will admit, though, that when I was looking at it before I actually read a word, I wondered why I had spent money on this book. I knew I had been attracted by the fussy cutting concept because I have a project in mind that I plan to do lots of fussy cutting to accomplish, but just looking at the pictures of the blocks I wondered if I really needed a book like this. I mean, really, a whole book about fussy cutting?!

Then I started to read the words that went with the block designs and the beginning information, and I knew immediately that I did indeed need this book. I learned so much about the kinds of things to consider when fussy cutting and techniques and fabric terms!

And, yes, I really did mark every single block. I’m not sure at what point I realized that I was just wasting Post-It tabs because I liked everything. I should have used a highlighter to mark the information I wanted to remember. That is on the list for the next time through.

In case you are wondering what kind of information one finds in an excellent book on fussy cutting, here’s my annotated contents:

  • Introduction – Fussy Cutting Is Fun – This includes a definition of fussy cutting and some information about the authors and their approach.
  • The Anatomy of a Block – This tells a bit about fabric and block basics. Definitions show up at the bottom of the page in blue type.
  • Chapter 1 – Background Basics – The blocks in this section focus on backgrounds. Each block has an introduction with information on how the background fabric is used in that block. This is true throughout the book.
  • Chapter 2 – Stripes – This chapter focuses on how to use stripes in blocks. Several cool blocks using stripes. I tend to avoid using stripes in blocks. Maybe I won’t anymore.
  • Chapter 3 – Playing with Color and Value – Scale also slips in in this chapter.
  • Chapter 4 – Precision Fussy Cuts – This includes a section by Anita Grossman Solomon about how to mark your rulers for fussy cutting. This is more what I tend to think about when thinking fussy cutting.
  • Chapter 5 – Mastering Motifs – Some advanced work in using precision fussy cuts.
  • Chapter 6 – Mixing Motifs – Or maybe mixing motifs of different scale is more accurate.
  • Chapter 7 – Tossed Prints – (We learned what these are earlier in the book. Or at least I did. You’ll have to read it yourself if you don’t know!) This includes a section by Latifah Saafir about cutting a single motif from a tossed print.
  • Chapter 8 – Prints With Directionality – Having just worked with several of prints with directionality (after all, a t-shirt quilt is the ultimate directionality), I found this chapter very interesting.
  • Chapter 9 – Geometrics as Focal Fabrics – Another topic I’d never really considered as a separate topic.
  • Chapter 10 – Remixed Blocks – Taking all you’ve just learned and using it together.
  • Chapter 11 – Creating a Narrative in Your Blocks – Other things to consider to help your quilt tell a story.
  • Chapter 12 – Advanced Directionality – and how to use it. The last block, by the way, is a label!
  • Chapter 13 – Building Your Quilt – Two different setting ideas for the 48 blocks in this book.
  • Resources

Quilt on!

Books on Monday – New York Beauties & Flying Geese

Books on Monday kind of snuck up on me this month, probably because this is the earliest date that can be the fourth Monday of the month. Sigh. Anyway, today we are looking at New York Beauties & Flying Geese: 10 Dramatic Quilts, 27 Pillows, 31 Block Patterns by Carl Hentsch. Yes, the link below is an Amazon Affiliate link that helps to support this blog.

I am a sucker for New York Beauty quilts and flying geese, especially curved flying geese, so the title of this book grabbed me at once. The pictures on the cover sealed the deal. And then I discovered the very interesting format of the patterns in this book. Let me explain!

All of the patterns in this book are made with different combinations from a fixed set of block elements, varying combinations of solid arcs, arcs with rectangles, and arcs of flying geese, fans and circles. All of those elements are found in the back of the book, as are the diagrams of the 31 blocks that can be made from these elements. This means that if you make more than one of the quilts in this book, the second and third should feel familiar.

The book starts with a note by Tula Pink, followed by an Introduction by the author. Then comes a section on The Basics. This includes information on fabric selection, thread selection, making the blocks, cutting pieces for the blocks (the measurements for the different sizes of patches are on page 11, so you don’t get confused like I did when I was first reading some of the directions for making one of the quilts), making templates, foundation piecing, curved piecing and appliquéd center circles. There is also a section about finishing the pillows.

The next section is all the projects, those 10 quilts and 27 pillows. Once you have spent some time with the basics, the individual patterns make sense. Since fat quarters are suggested for some of the quilts, there are cutting diagrams to help you get the most out of your fat quarter in some of the cutting instructions.

The Block Index comes after the patterns, followed by the foundation pieced arc patterns and the circle, background and plain arc patterns. The final part of the book is About the Author.

I really like almost every single one of these patterns, even the pillow patterns although I don’t usually make pillows. (The throw pillows that came with our couch tend to spend most of their time out of the way on the floor.) What I like even more though, is that I can see using the block elements and the blocks to design my own quilts. There are not a lot of pattern books that inspire me like that, and I appreciate the inspiration.

In case you can’t tell, I’m a fan of this book and very glad that I bought it.

Quilt on!

Books on Monday – Design Inspirations

Welcome back to Books on Monday. Today we are looking at Design Inspirations by Margaret Solomon Gunn.(Yes, in a few minutes I will go all fangirl, but first we’ll get the basics out of the way. Yes, that is an Amazon link which will help support this blog.

If you are interested in learning about the design process of an award-winning quilter (or anyone who isn’t you), then this is the book for you. In this book, Margaret Solomon Gunn tells the reader about herself and her quilts and how she made them. The book includes patterns for three of her award-winning quilts including quilting suggestions. (Who does that?) It also includes a gallery of many of her quilts, and information about how she got started.

If you have been to a major show in the last few years, you have probably seen a quilt by Margaret Solomon Gunn. You’ve probably seen one with a ribbon on it. I know I’ve seen two of the three quilts that are patterned in this book in person (Zen Garden more than once). Her quilts are gorgeous and so is the quilting. I’ve been following her blog for quite some time and have seen enough of her quilting that when I saw a quilt at the Shipshewana show last June that was not made by her, I looked at the quilting and thought, “That looks like some of Margaret Solomon Gunn’s quilting.) When I looked closely at the identification card, sure enough she had quilted it.

Will I use this book to make a quilt just like Zen Garden? Nope. At least I think I can say that pretty definitely. Will I learn to quilt as beautifully and intricately as Margaret Solomon Gunn? No. But I appreciate the look at how it is done, and I may happily use elements from some of the quilts in future quilts of my own. (I admit to having my eye on the pointy flowers from Zen Garden.)

The patterns in the book are presented differently from patterns in books that are straight up project books. First, there is an introduction to the quilt, including the process she went through to design it and showing some alternate ideas she tried along the way. (For example, she admits to thinking that the tan background for Zen Garden is ugly and covering up as much as possible with appliqué.) She also includes how she decided on some of the quilting in this section. The section ends with a list of the awards which that quilt has one.

Next, she gives you the pattern for the quilt itself. The pattern looks a little different from other patterns and includes quite a bit of annotation about the best ways to do things. That is followed by a section on the quilting motifs she used and how to do them or something close to them. There are gorgeous close up shots of the quilting too. She does this for each of the three quilts. Forty pages of the book cover the pattern for Zen Garden, if you want an idea of how detailed this is.

Here’s what the table of contents looks like:

  • Introduction
  • Quilts of Margaret Solomon Gunn
  • Zen Garden
  • Autumn’s Splendor
  • Bouquet Royale
  • Preparing Turned Edge Appliqué
  • A Few Words from Margaret

I haven’t fangirled too much have I? Check out her blog too! She educates and shares there also.

Quilt on!

Books on Monday – The Splendid Sampler

Happy Books on Monday! Today we are looking at The Splendid Sampler: 100 Spectacular Blocks from a Community of Quilters by Pat Sloan and Jane Davidson. The links below are Amazon Affiliate links and will help support this blog if you use them. 

If you spend any time looking at quilting blogs on the internet, you’ve probably heard of The Splendid Sampler. It was a year long quilt-along conceived of and managed by Pat Sloan and Jane Davidson. 100 blocks designed by 83 quilters you know or whose blogs you follow, plus several bonus blocks, two per week over the course of a year. There were several different types of blocks so that participants could learn new skills or practice some they hadn’t used in a while. I’ve enjoyed seeing examples of how different quilters personalized the blocks or made them seasonal. I’ve also loved seeing the different finished quilts that people have made.

The six inch blocks were originally free on The Splendid Sampler website. The bonus blocks and projects are still there, but the original 100 blocks are in this book. Personally, I was thrilled when the book was announced back in November because I had quit downloading all the blocks for later because I was running out of hard drive space. Knowing this book was coming out allowed me to delete several items!

The book is arranged by type of block, not the original order they were released on the internet. The table of contents lists the type of block but there are no divider pages stating where each section starts. I found this a little confusing when just leafing through the book, but it wasn’t a deal breaker. I am not sure how I feel about not having the blocks in the same order they were presented, but that also wasn’t a deal breaker.

Each block is introduced by its designer with a brief paragraph. The instructions for each block make sense to me, although I confess that I have not tried any of them yet. (I’m trying to finish some more things before starting this project.) There is also a pattern sheet insert.

Here’s a look at the Table of Contents:

  • Introduction
  • Patchwork Blocks
  • Appliqué Blocks
  • Foundation-Pieced Blocks
  • Embroidered Blocks
  • Quilting Basics – This includes some basic information and techniques for making the blocks. It does not tell you how to completely construct a quilt.
  • Quilt Gallery – Some examples of quilts made using some or all of the blocks.
  • Block Index
  • About the Authors

If you want to see pictures of the blocks or quilts made from them, The Splendid Sampler has a Facebook group. It is a pretty active group.

Quilt on!

Books on Monday – Lucky Charm Quilts

Today we are looking at Moda All-Stars – Lucky Charm Quilts: 17 Delightful Patterns for Precut 5″ Squares compiled by Lisa Alexander. This book is available as a paperback book

and in the Kindle format.

I originally ordered this because I had seen pictures of all the quilts and wanted to make many of them with the myriads of charm packs I have. Like the previous Mode All-Stars book I reviewed, each designer answered the same questions about themselves and their process and preferences. They aren’t the same questions as the previous book so it is not boring, but it does let you get to know a little bit about the designers.

This book is basically a projects book. It begins with an Introduction and then proceeds directly to the projects. One of the things I really like is that the projects are divided into One Charm Pack, Two Charm Packs, and Three Charm Packs sections. This could be very convenient if one is looking at one’s collection of charm packs and trying to decide which pattern to make.

The directions, as far as I can tell without having made any of the quilts yet, seem to be pretty easy to follow. There are many different kinds of quilts here and some different techniques for making the units that make up the blocks, like flying geese and HSTs. There are also appliqué quilts, including  some wool appliqué. There are wall hangings and table runners and quilts of various other sizes.

The designers included in this book are: Lissa Alexander, Lisa Bongean, Janet Clare, Jenny Down, Karla Eisenach, Sandy Gervais, Barbara Groves & Mary Jacobson (AKA Me and My Sister Designs), Lynne Hagmeier, Jen Kingwell, Sandy Klop, Sherri McConnell, Carrie Nelson, Bonnie Olaveson, Kathy Schmitz, Laurie Simposon, Pat Sloan, Deb Strain, and Anne Sutton. It’s quite a diverse group.

So check this out and

Quilt on!

Books on Monday – Simple Friendships

Today we are looking at Simple Friendships: 14 Quilts from Exchange-Friendly Blocks by Kim Diehl and Jo Morton. It is available in both paperback and Kindle versions so there is a separate Amazon Affiliate link for each of them.

In the Introduction, the authors describe how they chose six favorite blocks (Star Block, King’s Crown Block, Nine Patch Block, Yankee Puzzle Block, Basket Block, and Old Italian Block) and started designing from there. Each of them then designed a quilt using some version of the aforementioned block. They also designed samplers using all of the blocks.

They encourage the use of this book for block exchanges. To that end, cutting directions for one block are given at the beginning of each pattern. There is also a section called Guidelines for Block Exchanges to help the reader facilitate block exchanges to make these quilts.

And, yes, it is basically another project book, but with a twist.

If you’ve looked carefully at the names of the authors and you know anything about their styles, you will know that my taste in colors does not match theirs. I tend to like much brighter colors than they do, but I love their design styles. Maybe if I were to make versions of these quilts in my favorite colors the brightness would be overwhelming, but I do love many of these quilts. (You can look at the pictures of the quilts if you check out the Amazon links.)

The directions for these quilts are very thorough and well illustrated. I like the way that many of the quilts use both appliqué and the pieced blocks. And I like the sampler quilts designed with all of the blocks, even though I’m not a big fan of Basket or Cake Stand blocks.

The Guidelines for Block Exchanges makes some very helpful suggestions for running or planning a block exchange. The section called Kim and Jo’s Quiltmaking Basics does not exactly walk you through how to make a quilt from beginning to end, but it does cover some very good information about some quilt making techniques, like Jo’s No-Waste Flying-Geese Method and Kim’s Invisible Machine Appliqué Technique. It is worth a read even if you are not a beginning quiltmaker.

And, in case you didn’t already get the idea, I do like many of the quilt designs. And I want to try some of the tips in Kim and Jo’s Quiltmaking Basics. (The English teacher in me wants to call it Kim’s and Jo’s Quiltmaking Basics.) If you like either of these designers quilt designs or want to do a block exchange and make something a little out of the ordinary, you would probably enjoy this book.

Quilt on!

Books on Monday – Moda All Stars – Scraps Made Simple

Today we are looking at Moda All-Stars – Scraps Made Simple: 15 Sensationally Scrappy Quilts from Precuts compiled by Lissa Alexander. This is available in both Kindle and paperback versions, hence the two different Amazon Affiliate links.

This, like the other Moda All-Stars books, is basically a book of cool projects designed by Moda designers. For me, this book is a keeper  because I like almost every quilt in this book and can picture myself making them. Plus, I have a lot of precuts so…

The book starts with an introduction. As part of the Introduction, Lissa Alexander includes the questions that were asked of each designer for the Scraps of Wisdom insets that go with each quilt. The next section of the book is A Primer on Precuts. Most of these are given their Moda names since this is a Moda book.

Then it’s on to the quilts. This section includes quilts by (in this order) Carrie Nelson, Amy Smart, Laura Boehnke, Amy Ellis, Edyta Sitar, Sherri McConnell, Lisa Bongean, Corey Yoder, Jan Ragaller, Susan Ache, Jenny Doan, Lissa Alexander, Lisa Calle, Lynne Hagmeier, and Sherri Falls. I am not kidding when I say i want to make them all. After all, I have soooo many precuts.

Cutting instructions are mostly given as if one is cutting from yardage, but, of course, it is easy to recognize where the precuts would be used. Edyta Sitar does map out how to cut her quilt from fat quarters. It’s always nice to see a map!

The instructions are clearly written and very well illustrated. I saw a couple different ways of making half square triangles in the book. I always like to see new ways of doing things. I will definitely look into some more of these Moda All-Stars books!

Quilt on!

Books on Monday – Miss Rosie’s Farmhouse Favorites

Welcome back to Books on Monday! Today we are looking at Miss Rosie’s Farmhouse Favorites: 12 Captivating Scrappy Quilts by Carrie Nelson. This book is available in a Kindle version as well as the paperback version. The Kindle version is the second Amazon Affiliate link below. (Also, check out the links because you can see pictures of each and every quilt in the book there.)

If you looked at the cover picture in those two links, you know that the fabrics that Carrie uses are not at all my aesthetic! But, oh, the quilts are gorgeous! I want to make every single one of them. Seriously, every single one of them.

I have not yet tested out the patterns because I’m really trying to get some things finished, but they are very clearly written with lots of illustrations, so I’m pretty sure that I will be able to follow them. At least I hope so, because, in case I didn’t mention it, I want to make all the quilts!

With each quilt, Carrie shares a bit of history of how or why she designed it and where the name came from. (There are some very interesting quilt names here!) I already knew I love her writing because I read the Moda blog and I can always tell which posts are hers without looking at who wrote them. I love the Log Cabin and Flying Geese quilts! I love the…Wait! I already said I want to make all of them, so you know that.

This is a very straightforward project book. There is an Introduction, then the projects, and, finally, an About the Author. Very straightforward.

If, like me, you have some scrappy quilts in your future, I strongly recommend this book!

Quilt on!

Books on Monday – Fabricadabra

It’s the second Monday in February. It’s the day before Valentine’s Day! It’s time to look at a book I love! Today we are looking at Fabricadabra – Simple Quilts, Complex Fabric: Discover the Hidden Potential in Your Stash by Paula Nadelstern. (Amazon Affiliate link below.)

Yes, it is also available in Kindle format here:

Normally for a book of this kind (a technique as opposed to pattern book), I might have chosen to save money and ordered the Kindle version, but this is a book by Paula Nadelstern. I am a huge Paula Nadelstern fan. I love her designs. I love what she does with fabric. This was going to have to be a book I held in my hands and gazed at lovingly. Because I will do this often.

This is not a book of patterns. In this book, Paula tells us how to use fabric to create very complicated looking quilts. If you’ve read any of Paula’s other books, you know that her kaleidoscope quilts are made by taking very tiny pieces of fabric and sewing them together to make identical wedges. It’s a very complicated process, and I realized long ago I would never do it. In this book, Paula is showing us how to use fussy cut fabric to do the same kind of thing.

This book begins with a stunning gallery of quilts made in this matter. Although no patterns are actually given, there are layouts for some of the quilts so one could actually try to make something similar. After the reader has drooled all over the quilts, Paula describes how the fabric is used to hide the seams and make these kinds of quilts. (Hint: it requires a lot of template plastic.) She describes it well enough that I might actually try some of this someday. Really.

Here’s the table of contents:

  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction
  • Quilt Gallery – I love these quilts!!!!!!
  • Design Matters
    • Design Strategies
    • Fabric
  • Piece Policies
    • Tools
    • Templates
  • About the Author

Frankly, even if all you looked at in this book were the quilts, it would be well worth it.

Quilt on!