Today’s book is Smashing Sets: Exciting Ways to Arrange Quilt Blocks by Margaret J. Miller. (And, yes, as usual that is an Amazon affiliate link.)
This is not a new book; its copyright date is 2000. But it is new to me, thanks to Paperback Swap. And, frankly, I’m thinking this book is a keeper.
The focus of this book is how to set the blocks you may have made or are making. Do you have a block of the month quilt with a setting that you are not fond of? Are you making some leaders and enders blocks with no idea of how to set them? Well, this book has some lovely answers for you (and me).
Let me just say, that I love her settings! Especially the one that I would call “Chain of Pinwheels” but she calls “Catch a Falling Star.” (It’s on page 59 if you have the book to look at.)
And now it is time for a true confession: I have not yet read every word of this book. However, I’m planning on it. That being said, let me talk a little about the structure of the book a little.
It starts with (surprise) an Introduction. The Introduction tells you how to use the book and lists the supplies needed to make quilts.
Chapter One is called “Getting Started: Goals and Definitions.” Yep, that’s what it’s about.
Chapter Two is “Working ‘From the Inside Out'” and helps you start thinking about blocks and settings in the same way the author does. It also has lots of pretty quilt pictures for inspiration.
Chapter Three is “Design Details: Tools of the Trade” which gets into the real nitty gritty of how to look at blocks and design using graph paper. (Copyright 2000, remember?) And it includes lots more pretty quilt pictures.
Chapter Four is “The Piecing Process: From Paper Design to Real Quilts.” This does exactly what it says – it tells you how to make a paper design, turn it into templates and piece the quilt.
Chapter Five is “Projects for You” which basically consists of line drawings and some design notes.
Do I picture myself using this book? Yes. Do I picture myself using it exactly as intended? Probably not. I don’t do much with graph paper and templates, although I’m not ruling it out for the future. But I love some of the settings, and I can see myself doing some version of them, maybe transferring them to my computer. (I use QuiltPro, not EQ because I am a Mac person and refuse to run Windows on my precious Mac.) I think the greatest value of this book is to show you that straight line or on point settings are not the only ways to make a quilt with sampler blocks.