Books on Monday – Millefiori Quilts 3

Good morning! I am so sorry that it has been a full two weeks since I last blogged. I will try to remedy that with another post later today or tomorrow. But today it is time for a book review. Although it is kind of a no brainer book review.

Today we are looking at Millefiori Quilts 3 by Willyne Hammerstein. And, yes, that link is an Amazon Affiliate link to help support the blog.

Why do I say this is a no brainer book review? Because either you love Willyne Hammerstein’s quilts like I do or you don’t. If you love them, you will love this book. If you don’t, you won’t. That makes sense, right? And if you love them, this book is awesome eye candy, even if you never make one of these quilts.

Because the book itself is published by Quiltmania, it is sturdy and very well constructed. Unlike Millefiori Quilts and Millefiori Quilts 2, this one is completely in English. And it is still an expensive book, but well worth it in my opinion. There are 18 beautiful quilts in this book. All of them are stunning and use tiny pieces.

Other than being totally in English, the biggest difference I see between this book and the other two are the fabric choices. Some of the choices here are bolder and less muted, with more contrast. The directions also seem to be a little more detailed than in the previous books. Because of this, unless there is a particular quilt of Willyne’s that you want to make (say, La Passacaglia), I’d recommend this book before the other two.

And here is an unsolicited recommendation for Inklingo if you are planning to make certain quilts. I don’t paper piece, so this is how I’m doing La Passacaglia. However, if you paper piece, you can also use Inklingo to print your pieces instead of tracing them. I highly recommend it!

So, yes, this is a strange book review. But this is what I have for today.

Quilt on!

Books on Monday – Free Motion Meandering

Today we are looking at Free-Motion Meandering: A Beginners Guide to Machine Quilting by Angela Walters. It is available for Kindle as well as in paperback and the second link below is to the Kindle version. Both links are, as usual, Amazon Affiliate links that help support this blog.

This book was one of my quilty Christmas gifts, and my original plan was to post a review with photos of me trying these things out. That was before a bout of a cold hit and operating heavy machinery became a terrible idea. (Rotary cutters too, actually so only hand quilting has happened over the last day or so.) So you are getting the review, but not the demo pics. I think you’ll survive.

One could argue that there should come a point when one should stop buying/reading free motion quilting books and just do it. (This might have been one of the reasons that I was going to actually do some before writing this review!) However, the whole idea of just covering meanders of various kinds was one of the things that drew me to this book. I like the idea of just looking at one style of quilting at a time.

If you’ve ever read one of Angela Walters’s other books, you are already acquainted with her light (and relaxing) tone. This book is no exception. She definitely puts me at ease with her “you can do this” tone of writing.

The book starts with an Introduction and then a section called “Why Meanders?” (This seemed like a very good question to me!) Then she moves on to a few basics of how to get started followed by a section called “First Stitches” that includes a few Frequently Asked Questions. Then it’s on to the various types of meanders she covers in the book. These are: the Basic Meander and the Loopy Meander (the two that I usually think of when the word meander comes to mind), the Swirl Meander, the Swirl Hook Meander, the Paisley Meander, the Leafy Meander and the Feather Meander (yes, I know, I don’t normally think of feathers as a meander but I can see how these are kind of). Her last section is Improv Quilting, which combines the previous designs. Each section has a few FAQs at the end of it, which I find very helpful.

I will admit that this is the second machine quilting book that has made me want to jump right in and get started. (The first was Walk.) I’m not sure why that is, but I’m pretty sure that within the next few weeks you will see some samples of meandering on this blog. Angela’s approach seems to be what I needed to get inspired and brave enough to try.

Quilt on!

Books on Monday – Patches of Blue

I almost called this Books on Monday, Christmas Edition because that is what today is, but I have a naming convention for these posts so here it is. I hope that you are having a very happy Christmas today, if in fact you are reading this today. If you aren’t and you celebrate Christmas, I hope it was a very happy one!

Today we are looking at Edyta Sitar’s latest book, Patches of Blue: 17 Quilt Patterns and a Gallery of Inspiring Antique Quilts. Although Edyta’s color taste and mine are frequently very different, I like her designs. And of course this book is blues, so our taste differences don’t apply here. And, yes, the link below is the usual Amazon affiliate link.

There are some beautiful quilts in this book. Following the Introduction, there is a 30 page Gallery of Inspiration, blue and white or off white antique quilts. There are many gorgeous quilts of different styles here. Stunning!

This is followed by the 17 gorgeous patterns. Each pattern is well illustrated and the directions are easy to follow. I will admit that sometimes I wouldn’t make some of the units the way Edyta Sitar does, but following her directions on other patterns has always worked for me. And so many of her patterns have my favorite little pieces in them, so there is that. And who doesn’t love blues and neutrals? I certainly do.

The patterns include both tiny piecing and appliqué patterns. And some that are a mixture of both. If you’ve been a reader of this blog for any length of time, you know that I love quilts that include both piecing and appliqué. And, yes, I can see myself making many of these quilts or using parts of these patterns in other patterns. I’m especially fond of the two table runner patterns on page 110. I can see myself making both of those.

So this one is two thumbs up!

Quilt on!

 

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!