Quilt As You Go Made Vintage by Jera Brandwig, softback published by Stash Books (C&T Publishing USA). ISBN 9781617454721, price 18.99, available in the UK from www.searchpress.com
A follow on from the best selling Quilt As You Go Made Modern. Jera has come up with another winner, based on the ever-popular vintage theme. The book gives materials and tools, information on batting and quilt sizes plus everything you need to know about what is unique about this way of quilting. It has become one of my favourite techniques for working on a domestic sewing machine. It is far easier to join the blocks, having quilted them, than to quilt the whole top in one go. 51 classic vintage blocks (12 inches (30cm) square, nine projects and three joining methods are included. You can even make your quilt reversible. Easy to follow instructions and great photographs and line drawings. The book is suitable for all levels of quilters. Versatile and easy, qaygo can be applied to any quilt block. It is absolutely fantastic with quilts small and large, a cushion and a table runner. The smaller quilts could be used as wall hangings. There’s a little bit of improvisation in there too. Recommended.
Book Review RSN Book of Embroidery, hardback published by Search Press. ISBN 9781782216063, price 25 gbp available from www.searchpress.com
In one word wow. Any embroidery enthusiast will doubtless flick through this book hundreds of times. This beautifully illustrated hefty tome shows stitches, numerous examples of work and projects. You’ll find step by step stitch guides plus historical and contemporary interpretations of crewelwork, canvaswork, goldwork, whitework, blackwork, stumpwork, silk shading and bead embroidery. The blackwork section from Becky Hogg is my favourite. The stitch guides were previously published in the Essential Stitch Guide series of books. This resource also includes a section on mounting work. Lavish, informative, practical and inspiring – it forms the basis of a standard reference on embroidery from the highly acclaimed Royal School of Needlework.
Book Review Embroidered Treasures Birds by Dr Annette Collinge, hardback published by Search Press in association with the Embroiderer’s Guild. ISBN 9781782211327, price 20 gbp available from www.searchpress.com
Subtitled ‘Exquisite Needlework of the Embroiderers’ Guild Collection’, this book showcases the best embroidered birds from the extensive collection. The embroideries cover a period dating from the 17th century to the present day. From abstract to naturalistic, the variety is wonderful and the book covers many forms of embroidery from crewelwork to contemporary. The imagination, skill and detail in portraying birds will provide much inspiration to everyone interested in this subject. There is a brief history of the Embroiderers’ Guild followed by twelve chapters: Monochrome Embroidery; Metal Thread; Applied Materials; Machine Embroidery; Silk Embroidery; Evenweave Backgrounds; Bags; Art; Samplers; Fanciful; Birds From Many Lands and finally Stitches. A short paragraph of text opens each section, with each photographed piece of work having a title such as ‘Crewelwork Panel’ and descriptive text plus technique, date, place and size highlighted in a box. On some pieces, it also gives the maker’s name and who gifted the piece to the collection. All pieces have a EG number. I found the techniques of most interest, but this is not a book of techniques – it merely informs us of the technique used. Work as varied as rug hooking, felt applique and numerous embroidery techniques are included from all over the world. There is some overlap of the chapters, for in Chapter One on Monochrome, you will find Metal Thread and Silk Embroidery even though these have chapters of their own. Almost every manner of bird is to be found. This is a wonderful resource on how birds have been used to inspire embroidery over the centuries. Recommended.
Tote Bags by Debbie Shore, hardback published by Search Press. ISBN 9781782216186, price 15.99 available from www.searchpress.com
Totes are so easy to make and this beginners book offers the bag maker some ideas to transform the basic pattern. It includes just two re-usable templates that can be drawn around and kept inside the hardback folder that encloses the paperback book. The easy to follow, step by step instructions are just about foolproof, the illustrations are very good. The book includes simple totes with alterations to a basic pattern by adding a bow, flap or a knotted twist of fabric. With the purse and drawstring bag, you have three basic patterns although the book claims there are 15 patterns. This is still good value for money however for the inspirational variations.
Book Review Occasion Bags by Debbie Shore, hardback published by Search Press. ISBN 9781782216193, price 15.99 available from www.searchpress.com
Debbie Shore provides insight into bag making. I love the format of this book – the package includes a paperback book and re-usable templates bound in a hardback cover. There are 15 projects to sew. There are only two templates however, and this has limited the scope of bag styles. Having a different fastening or flap is not sufficient in my opinion and the book desperately needed a wider range of bag shapes and sizes. The concept is however fantastic. Owing to the limited number of styles, I would say that this book is excellent for beginners. Get to grips with basic bag making. The projects include: curved, round and scalloped flap handbags; bow, curved, zipped, patchwork and scalloped flap, slim, chain strap clutches, cosmetic bag; fringed, piped, triple pocket handbags and a zipped purse. The illustrations are very good and the instructions clear and easy to use with step-by-step images for you to follow. The templates are drawn around and can be used time and again. You could change the size with a little initiative and add your own embellishments, however to me this is more like 4 patterns dressed up to look like 15 but still good value.
Book Review Fabulous Facades by Gloria Loughman, softback published by C&T Publishing. ISBN 9781617453441, price 24.99 in the U.K. available from www.searchpress.com
Subtitled ‘Create Breathtaking Results With Fused Fabric’, this book shows you how to take photos of facades and make quilts. It includes Design, Color (retained American spelling), Fabric, Creating a Pattern, Construction, Putting It Together, Finishing and Projects as well as a gallery of work. The book deals with a theme – the theme of facades – architecture, doors, buildings, skyscrapers, shape. Gloria explains how the technique can be applied to other subjects. All patterns are available as a download.
Looking at Gloria’s photos and finished quilts is very inspiring. Other artists work is included too. There are many examples of buildings from around the world. A detailed account is given of the method and techniques used. This is a fabulous addition to Gloria’s already published books. It gives practical information that is easy to follow accompanied by fabulous photos. Very inspiring use of photos to art quilts.
Book Review Stitched Textiles Nature by Stephanie Redfern, softback published by Search Press. ISBN 9781782214526, price 15.99 available from www.searchpress.com
Another book in the Stitched Textiles series. Step-by-step techniques for textiles interpreting the natural world. Sources include the ocean, rainforest, flowers, birds and other animals. Textile techniques include hand and machine stitching, painting, printing and embellishment. There are three original projects to follow to practice the techniques. See how Stephanie uses her photos to develop design ideas, how she uses a sketchbook, creates collage and design sheets. Her sample textiles often use paper. You’ll discover how she goes from idea to design. Stephanie creates some fabulous cut-out shapes of animals and birds, but for me, some of her backgrounds are far too busy and detract from the focus of her work. Her simple Rainforest 1 works much better. She also shows her artist’s books and scrolls. Well worth buying.
Book Review Print Pattern Sew by Jen Hewett, hardback, spiral bound, published by Roost Books. ISBN 9781611804621, price 25.00.
Simple block prints can transform fabric, expressing your own individuality. Anyonw who wishes to learn block printing and how to make their own clothes would do well to add this book to their list of must-haves. Spiral bound so that it lays flat, clear and concise instructions and good photography combine to make this book easy to use. Find out all you need to know about preparation, fabric choice, block printing basics, creating a design, carving a block, printing on fabric and troubleshooting. Section Two is all about pattern. Discover how to design and print repeat patterns including half drop and brick repeats; multicolour prints and layering. There is also a block print gallery of work included of Jen’s fabulous work. In Sew, you will find examples of the prints on clothes – a jacket (coat), short-sleeved dress, short-sleeved blouse, cap-sleeved dress and blouse, full skirt, espadrilles, apron, cross-body bag, clutch and tote. This is followed by a pattern section that includes the above plus a square and an oblong scarf. There are templates for the designs and the full-size patterns to 40″ chest are included in a flap at the back of the book. Not too difficult to alter the size. Recommended.
Book Review – Smoyg by Yvette Stanton, softback published by Vetty Creations in Australia/Search Press in U.K. ISBN 9781782217107, price 16.99 available in the U.K. from www.searchpress.com
When one of Yvette Stanton’s book drops into my letter box, I know that I am in expert hands. She is my number one world embroidery lady. We are all in for a treat. Yvette’s guides to traditional embroidery are superb. Discover the colourful world of Norwegian pattern darning – Smoyg. Find historical photos, learn the stitches and techniques and 13 original projects to hone your skills. In her third book on Norwegian embroidery, Yvette shines a light on the subject of folk embroidery. This educational book offers clear and concise step-by-step instructions, inviting you into the charming world of this traditional technique. Yvette simply gives the best charted designs I have ever seen in any book. See the variations of Smoyg, where it hails from, its history and forms. Learn the motifs and fabrics to use for authentic smoyg. See how to use them in useful and practical projects – a jewellery bag, needlecase, table runner, pendants, band sampler, bookmarks, hanging ornament, table centre, cushion, shirt collar, framed square and scissor keep. An exciting array of projects to appeal to everyone. I think I will start by making the colourful band sampler – it is my favourite project. I am quite tempted by the thought of hanging ornaments too. There is also a guide to thread and fabric compatibility and a pattern sheet. Highly recommended – this year’s must buy embroidery book.
Book Review Modern Scot Patchwork by Kathy Allen, softback published by C&T Publishing. ISBN 9781617455940, price 24.99 available in the UK from www.searchpress.com
Subtitled ‘Bold Quilts Inspired by Iconic Tartans’, this book gives just 8 tartan-style quilt patterns. There is a brief history of tartan, followed by sections on colour and design. The book is illustrated throughout, however, some of the images emphasize the inaccuracies in the piecing in this book. The designs are offered in different sizes. The diagrams rely on numbers and letters for colours, a little confusing in its method. An image of the original tartan is shown and the ‘interpretations’ are close to the originals, so anyone could take a photo of a tartan and do this. The quilts are given a skill level, but confident beginner would have been more suited than beginner because piecing accuracy is essential in quilts of this nature. There are also quilts for experienced quilters – just a more complicated pattern and one for intermediate quilters. A gallery is shown at the back of the book with more samples. These quilts are modern representations of tartan, but lack imagination in interpretation of design. They do make wonderful quilts.