Joyful Daily Stitching Seam By Seam by Valerie Bothell, softback published by C&T Publishing. ISBN 9781617455513, price 22.99 in the U.K. available from www.searchpress.com
Encouraging you to stitch a little every day, this book will be a big hit with embroiderers and lovers of stitch. Make samplers and treat the seam like a goddess. Use different threads and silk ribbons to produce creative work. First it shows you how to piece crazy quilting style. Next up are several embroidery stitches in step-by-step demonstrations but with small photos. I think this section could have been done much better. 500 stitch combinations are shown in full colour but without instructions, so you need to flip back to the embroidery stitch section to see how to do the stitches. I think there is enough here to keep beginner embroiderers happy, I am just not that keen on the layout of the book.
Quilted Throws, Bags & Accessories by Sanae Kona, softball published by Search Press. ISBN 9781782216292, price 14.99 available from www.searchpress.com
A delightful collection of quilting projects based on traditional techniques. These include patchwork, EPP and appliqué using traditional motifs such as hexagons and techniques such as log cabin. There are 28 projects including bags, throws, punches, table runners and more. All practical and useful with a timeless beauty. You’ll see photos of all the projects at the beginning of the book, followed by tools, materials and techniques. The latter section is detailed and illustrated by many photos, albeit small ones. The instructions are good. Each project has a materials section, a project diagram, cutting instructions and step by step illustrated construction steps. This book teaches so much – techniques including broderie perse, mitred corners and more. You use different shapes, so it covers much of what you need to learn about quilting whilst you are making wonderful projects to enhance your home or give to friends. Only a few of the project instructions are in colour, the rest are in black and white. There is a pull-out template sheet.
Book Review Modern Quilts by Riane Menardi, Alissa Haight Carlton and Heather Grant, softback published by Stash Books (C & T Publishing). ISBN 9781617455988, price 33.99 available in the U.K. from www.searchpress.com
I know so many traditional quilters, but modern quilts are so very interesting, not only from an artistic and design viewpoint, but also that most of us live in modern homes and these quilts fit better into our lifestyles. Subtitled ‘Designs of the New Century’ this book reveals modern quilt design. It explains the role of the Modern Quilt Guild and showcases some of the best modern designs. The history of modern quilting is tackled in chapters dealing with the stages: Before 1998; 1998-2004; 2005; 2005-2008; 2009 each highlighting key years and developments and finally the movement becoming mainstream. It’s a brief written history, fabulously illustrated with incredible quilts. That’s the focus of the book – the quilts. You’ll see simplicity, minimalism, deconstruction, blocks, text, colour, early improv, geometrics, pictorials and much more. No patterns, no how-to, just visual delight tracking the early beginnings of modernism right up to today.
Book Review 50 Little Gifts compiled by Susanne Woods, softback published by Lucky Spool. ISBN 9781940655338, price 20.99 available in the U.K. from www.searchpress.com
Subtitled ‘Easy Patchwork Projects To Give Or Swap’ this book is just that. A compilation of useful projects to use up scraps. Pouches, potholders, purses, baskets, keyrings, bags of all sizes – all with one thing in common – colourful patchwork. The projects are from different designers, and many are the usual organiser projects, mats, baskets, zipped purse and so on, but this book brings 50 such projects together and makes a super gift itself. Each project has a colour photo – clear instructions, with an at-a-glance box of essentials showing Size, Materials, Cutting and Tips. There are clear line drawings where needed and mini tutorials. I like the triangular log cabin pincushion, patchwork dog and passport holder. You’ll find a basic guide to embroidery at the front of the book and templates at the back; some are actual size, some need enlarging. Good patchwork fun.
Book Review Braided Bargello by Ruth Ann Berry, softback published by C&T Publishing. ISBN 978-1617454042, price 18.99 available in the UK from www.searchpress.com
I have always loved Bargello needlepoint, so it is natural that I love bargello quilting. It can be a great use of colour, so I find it fascinating. It is one of those fabulous quilt techniques that achieves a very complicated look, whilst not being too difficult to make. Braided Bargello takes bargello one step beyond, it’s like ordinary bargello with knobs on – knots, or twists and turns. There are 16 projects in the book from bed-sized quilts to smaller projects. In Basic Bargello Construction, the author looks at fabric, cutting, designing and constructing as well as mitred corners. If you find the design chart in this section a little confusing, it becomes very apparent what you need to do if you look at the projects. All projects are accompanied by clear charts and easy to follow instructions. Interesting projects, but on most I wanted to make slight alterations as there are what I call stop lines to the designs – in very obvious places and I would wish to continue the curve. I also thought that many of the colourways were not to my taste. There is also a gallery of work.
Book 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.
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.
Book 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.
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.
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.