Books on Monday – Cotton Way Classics & Craftsy Sale

I am sorry if you missed some Craftsy sale days because I slacked over the weekend. Today and tomorrow (December 11 and 12) are the last two days of the Craftsy 12 Days of Christmas Sale! You have until 11:59 pm MT on December 12, 2017, so go check it out. And if you do purchase through that link, thank you very much for supporting this blog.

Now, on to the Books on Monday post! Today we are looking at Cotton Way Classics: Fresh Quilts for a Charming Home by Bonnie Olaveson, aka Bonnie of Bonnie and Camille. The first link below is to the paperback edition; the second is to the Kindle edition. (Of course, if you purchase using either of those two links, this also helps to support this blog.)

This is a book of patterns, beautiful patterns made up in Bonnie & Camille fabrics. Eye candy for sure! And lots of little pieces in fresh clear colors! All my favorites. There is only one quilt in the book that I can’t see myself making and it is a double wedding ring that looks more square than I like my DWR quilts to look. (I like really round. Remember, I don’t do wonky stars. Round DWRs are a thing for me.) There is even a basket quilt that I can see myself making – and I’m not a big fan of basket quilts either. (For the record, I am most likely to make the cover quilt as my first project from this book. Crown of Thorns blocks! Lots of little pieces!!)

Let me get back on topic here. One of the things I like about this book is that the instructions are clearly written and easily followed, as far as I can tell from reading them and walking myself through them mentally.  If something can be accomplished with certain precuts, that shows up in the directions. There are a couple that actually show you the cutting diagrams for layer cakes, so that’s a big plus in my opinion.

Most of the quilts use traditional blocks. I like traditional blocks. There’s a reason they are still around. That being said, there are some fresh takes and some modern colors here. (How many more ways can I say this?) As a pattern book, this one is a win if you like even a couple of the quilts. Seriously.

Quilt on!

Books on Monday – Piece and Quilt with Precuts

This week we are looking at Christa Watson’s most recent book, Piece and Quilt with Precuts: 11 Quilts, 18 Machine-Quilting Designs, Start-to-Finish Success! The links below are to the Kindle version and the paperback version on Amazon.com. If you use them, you will be helping to support this blog. Thank you for considering helping in this way.

This book came along at the perfect time for me. I had just looked around at all the jelly rolls, layer cakes and charm squares that I have around here and started to wonder how I am going to use all those precuts before I become nonproductive. And then Christa answered my question! With 11 quilt patterns I’d be interested in making. All from various precuts.

In addition to the quilt patterns, Christa has provided quilting ideas and directions on how to do the quilting for each of the quilts. If you’ve ever taken a class with Christa or read one of her other books, you know that she is a wonderful teacher both in person and in writing. That makes these quilting designs achievable and way less threatening. At least, that’s how I feel about them.

So let’s look at the book from the beginning using the annotated Table of Contents.

  • Introduction – This is the basic Introduction material written in Christa’s usual style.
  • Working with Precuts – This includes some definitions of precuts, information about choosing fabrics, speedy sewing and not enough fabric (like if you make a goof or something).
  • How Do I Quilt It? – This is some basic information about machine quilting and making decisions about quilting your quilt. It includes some information about basting, Christa’s favorite machine features, and tying off the threads too.
  • Walking Foot Quilting – These are the patterns that lend themselves particularly well to walking foot quilting. For each pattern, there is a walking foot quilting suggestion.
  • Free-Motion Quilting – These are the patterns that include quilting plans that are free motion quilting.
  • Combined Quilting Techniques – Guess what these are! You got it! The quilting plans include both free motion and walking foot aspects.
  • Acknowledgments
  • About the Author

Disclaimer – I have met Christa and I like her a lot. This may not be a completely unbiased review, but I will say that I am expecting myself to make the main cover quilt and three or four of the others. Whether i ever do any free motion quilting is another matter entirely! Thumbs up for this book though!

Quilt on!

 

Books on Monday – Quilting on the Go…English Paper Piecing

Welcome back to Books on Monday. We still have a couple of months worth of this before I run out of books that I have purchased, so expect a post on the second and fourth Monday of each month.

Today we are looking at Quilting on the Go…English Paper Piecing by Sharon Burgess. Yes, the link below is an Amazon Affiliate link which will help to support this blog.

 

Now, if you are a regular reader of this blog, you know I like to do hand work but English paper piecing is just not my thing. Which, of course, is why I never planned to purchase this book even though I liked the look of lots of the patterns. I didn’t plan to purchase this right up until Linda Franz announced an Inklingo pattern for Celestial Stars, the cover quilt. I am a big Inklingo fan and plan to purchase the pattern soon. Here is where you can get more information on that.

Now you know why I am holding this lovely book in my hands, let’s get to the information. First, I have marked 9 patterns in this book that I would consider making. Pretty good for a for a technique I don’t like! And let me talk a little about the beautiful job the publisher did on this book. It is gorgeous and sturdy! The covers have folded flaps so you can use them to hold your place if you are so inclined. (I’m not, because I’m a former librarian and that seems sacrilegious to me.)

Let’s look at what is inside. The illustrations in this book are numerous and beautiful. The projects are made in bright fabrics that appeal to me, so, of course, that helps. And the variety of projects (all of which are lovely) just makes me want to make all (or most of) them. Some of the projects use blocks that I would not have thought of as EPP blocks (all the better!), so there might be other ways to make them.

The book begins with lovely pictures – several pages of them. Sure, the Table of Contents and Title Page are also there, but I spent most of my time looking at those pictures. I may not want to make stacks of EPP hexagons, but I’ll happily look at lovely pictures of other people’s efforts in that direction.

I think the best way to go through the book from here would be to do an annotated Table of Contents, so here we go!

  • Introduction – Exactly what you’d expect from a friendly author
  • Project Gallery – Pictures of all the projects with the page number so they can be quickly located in the book. A very nice touch if you ask me!
  • What Is English Paper Piecing? – A one page definition
  • Papers and Templates – Includes a tip on making your own
  • My Essential English Paper Piecing Tools – Begins with a picture and continues on to describe each item and how she uses it.
  • Techniques – All the information you need to do your EPP like Sharon Burgess.
    • How to glue your papers – No thread basting for Sharon!
    • Preparing papers with curves – How to ease those curves into shape.
    • Joining your pieces – There are a couple of great tips for joining some of the more unusual shapes, like clamshells
    • Strip cutting your fabric – In case you aren’t planning to fussy cut
    • Fussy cutting – In case you are.
    • Including EPP in any project – Tips for trimming up your project
    • Hand stitches – Whip, Running, Blind
    • Quilting – Very basic mentions of what happens. This is, of course, not the focus of this book.
    • Binding – A brief discussion of how to bind.
    • Metric conversion chart – Sharon’s an Aussie. This also contains a glossary of terms.
    • The next two sections are listed in the Table of Contents under Techniques but actually show up after the projects section.
      • Templates – All the templates needed for the projects in this book.
      • Resources and acknowledgments – Exactly what you would expect.
  • Projects – As I mentioned before, there are some great projects in this book. I strongly recommend you look at them. And make some!

Just so you are aware, I have no affiliation with this book or author. I purchased my own copy of the book. And, yes, I plan to use it!

Books on Monday – Scrap-Basket Strips and Squares

Yes, in cleaning up the sewing room I discovered a stack of books that I could review. So, yes, there will be a few Books on Monday posts on the second and fourth Mondays of the next few months. Since today is the fourth Monday, here we go. Remember that this post will contain Amazon Affiliate links which will help to support this blog.

This week we are looking at Scrap-Basket Strips and Squares: Quilting with 2 1/2″, 5″, and 10″ Treasures by Kim Brackett.

Kim is the author of other Scrap-Basket books also, most of which I own. Obviously, I like her design aesthetic. This book is no disappointment. There are 18 projects in this book and I marked 15 of them as projects I might be interested in making. I have a ton of precuts, so it is realistic to imagine that some of that may actually happen.

One of the first things that I appreciated as I looked at this book is the fact that Kim mentions in the Introduction the fact that the fabrics used in the projects in the book would most likely have been discontinued. She then gives tips for people who want to make a quilt as close about as possible to those in the book even if the fabrics are no longer available. I’ve not seen that anywhere before and I found it very interesting to read.

After the Introduction, there’s a section called “Things to Know About Precuts” which includes information about how to deal with the pinked edges among other things. This is followed by a page called “Special Piecing Techniques” which basically describes how to do folded corner units.

Next come the projects. As I mentioned previously, there are 18 of them. Each of them gives cutting instructions for those who prefer to use scraps in their projects in addition to the cutting directions for the precuts. The directions appear to be vey easy to follow, although I have not yet actually made one of the quilts. As I read the directions, I can picture how I’d do each one, so I’m hopeful.

After the projects comes a page of resources, including identifying the fabrics in several of the quilts. This is followed by a page with Acknowledgments and About the Author.

Overall, I have plans for this book and recommend it if you are looking for scrappy quilt ideas.

Quilt on!

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!