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Book Review Creative Collage by Clare Youngs

collageBook Review Creative Collage by Clare Youngs, softback published by Cico Books (RPS), Maetetc.com. ISBN 978-1782494898, price 12.99 available from https://makeetc.com/collections/mixed-crafts/products/creative-collage

An inexpensive, informative look at paper collage using materials that are easily to hand. I love Clare’s choice of subjects, materials and the way she approaches collage. She uses scrap paper, fabric, magazines and photos to create her incredible artwork. The 30 projects are wonderful, I liked them all, and loved more than a few. This book gives you basic collage techniques. There is information on tools, techniques, how-to, composition, layering, stamping and colouring. This collage book is great for beginners. Make cards, pictures, notebooks, gift tags, journals and even home accessories. You will come up with your own unique artworks. Wonderfully illustrated throughout. I saw Clare’s work on social media and knew this was the book I wanted and it has not disappointed. Clare has a great sense of colour, layout and more, her work is inspiring. Find out how to start, create impact, use those pieces of paper – cut, copy,transfer and arrange. Instructions are general and can therefore be easily adapted to any size. It’s full of professional tips. The photos and line drawings make the projects easy to follow. Templates to enlarge are given at the back of the book – but why not make your own unique animals with your drawings? Use this fabulous book as a springboard. All the family could get together on these projects. I am happy to recommend this book.

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Create Your Own Improv Quilts by Rayna Gillman

Create Your Own Improv Quilts by Rayna Gillman, softback published by C&T Publishing. ISBN 978-1617454448, price 23.99 available in the UK from www.searchpress.com

Subtitled ‘Modern Quilting With No Rules and No Rulers’this book shows you how to improvise to make modern quilts. It includes modern design, getting started, improvising in different ways, inspiration and a question and answer section. It’s all about cutting freehand, letting go of perfection, not following patterns but creating and experimenting. Rayna’s favourite two words are the maxim of many a designer ‘What if?’ In this book she looks at playing with shape. You’ll come to understand the way a designer’s mind works. It’s not quite 1,2,3, it’s more 1a or 1b, what if, oh yes 1c is better. It’s about looking at possibilities and knowing which one makes the best quilt, or if you have enough ideas for a series. Includes Improv Paper Piecing without patterns, wonky blocks and even using leftovers. There is an inspirational gallery too. Recommended.

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Book Review Quilting Row By Row by J White and E Hamilton

quiltingBook Review Quilting Row By Row by J White and E Hamilton, softback published by C&T Publishing. ISBN 978-1617455926, price 20.99 available in the UK from www.searchpress.com

Skill building quilting in a row is designed to take you from beginner to expert. Each row involves different skills and techniques. Sometimes piecing a quilt can become a little monotonous or even boring – with this method, you stay involved and interested because you are doing different things each row. After tools and basic techniques, this book gets down to business, presenting 11 fun rows to quilt. Each row has full instructions and pictures. All the skills are seen in box, for example “using the 45┬░angle on a ruler”, or “accurate cutting”. You’ll learn too many techniques and skills to mention in detail but amongst them are Dresden Plates, Pinwheels, Paper Piecing, On Point, Flying Geese, Machine and Reverse Applique, Sashing, Borders and Finishing. There are also two bonus quilt designs. Great skill builder and a lot of scope for injecting your own ideas.

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Book Review Fussy Cutters’ Club by Angie Wilson

Book Review Fussy Cutters’ Club by Angie Wilson, softback published by C&T Publishing (Stash Books). ISBN 978-1617454462, price 23.99 available from www.searchpress.com Also available as an ebook

I must say first of all, that I am not a fussy cutter, yet I do admire those perfect cuts, arranged to feature the fabric. It is extreme fabric play. The book includes the basics, tools, suitable fabric guide, tutorials, colour, cutting, piecing and finishing. Tutorials include EPP, cutting to make a new repeat and other how-to’s. There are 14 projects to ensure you get to grips with fussy cutting. It’s all about the placement of the print within the design of the quilt. So you would cut out the motifs from the background print. Great projects include a nine-patch pot holder, coasters, pincushion, pouch, cushion (pillow), mini quilts and other quilts, table runner, place mats and totes using different techniques. The clear instructions are accompanied by excellent photos and line drawings. It did not set my world on fire, some of the colours and fabrics were off-putting but it is a good introduction to the techniques of fussy cutting and that’s what matters.

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Book review A Year of Embroidery by Yumiko Higuchi

Book review A Year of Embroidery by Yumiko Higuchi, softback published by Roost Books. ISBN 9781611804720, price 14.99

I cannot think of anything better than stitching your way through the year. This small book gives lots of inspiration and ideas for doing just that. You’ll find stitch motifs for every month of the year with a seasonal theme. It’s more than just one project a month. There are 38 beautiful designs in all, three or four each month. Colour images are found at the beginning of the book and at the back you will find the instructions. Tools, stitches, templates for the designs and brief instructions for the designs. The latter have a reference page number to the appropriate colour illustration at the beginning of the book. Beautiful embroidery ideas.

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Book Review The Joy of Jelly Rolls by Carolyn Forster

Book Review The Joy of Jelly Rolls by Carolyn Forster, softback published by Search Press. ISBN 9781782214700, price 12.99 available from www.searchpress.com

A bumper book, compiled from Carolyn’s best sellers. It includes 44 gift projects and 24 quilts to make use of the ever popular jelly rolls for quilters. This is super value, especially if you do not have the previously published books. Gifts include patchwork and quilt home accessories such as coasters, bags, bunting, toys, hanging decorations and key fobs. The quilt designs include hand and machine sewing and use a variety of techniques. The latter are clearly explained with step by step instructions and good photographs. Backing, binding and finishing instructions are also included with templates. There is lots to love about this book including good tips and techniques. Projects I like include the patchwork dog, Manx log cabin mat, hanging fish, flower power coasters, Russian dolls, sunshine pot mat (my favourite), beach hut key fobs, thread pot and of course the quilts.

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Quilt As You Go Mage Vintage by Jera Brandwig

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.

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Book Review RSN Book of Embroidery

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.

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Book Review Embroidered Treasures Birds by Dr Annette Collinge

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.

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Book Review Tote Bags by Debbie Shore

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.