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Book Review Fabulous Facades by Gloria Loughman

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.

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Book Review Stitched Textiles Nature by Stephanie Redfern

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.

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Book Review Print Pattern Sew by Jen Hewett

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.

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Book Review Smoyg by Yvette Stanton

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.

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Book Review Modern Scot Patchwork by Kathy Allen

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.

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Book Review Nine Patch Revolution by Jennifer Dick and Angela Walters

Nine Patch Revolution: 20 Modern Quilt Projects by Jennifer Dick and Angela Walters, softback published by Stash (C&T Publishing). ISBN 978-1617456022, price 21.99 available in the UK from www.searchpress.com

When Angela’s name is on the cover, you know you are in for some quilting magic. I, like many quilters, am a sucker for nine-patch and I love it best when traditional meets modern. So I opened my copy of this book with great expectations. The front cover is busy, bold and intriguing. You can easily see all the quilting projects inside the front cover and they are wide and varied – an excellent mix. 21 projects in all so one or three for everyone there with Jennifer’s fresh, contemporary approach. You’ll find everything here from basic construction to variation with imagination. Very clear instructions with illustrations make this book easy to use. I like it a lot. Will also spark other ideas and you can easily interpret and adapt these wonderful quilts.

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Book Review Layered and Stitched Pictures by Katie Essam

Review of Layered and Stitched Pictures by Katie Essam, softback published by Search Press. ISBN 9781782215134, price 17.99 available from www.searchpress.com

Another in this very good Textile Artist series from Search Press. Subtitled ‘Using Free Machine Embroidery and Applique to Create Textile Art Inspired By Everyday Life’. I meet a lot of crafters and this book has so much to offer because nearly every crafter I know want more inspiration and want to free-motion stitch. Showing that inspiration is all around, even in everyday objects is a great way to go. Other techniques used in this book include hand stitching, the ever-popular fabric painting and collage. Katie takes you through her process and inspires you to create. The book starts off very simply with a beach scene. This makes it good for beginners upwards. The ideas are well presented and progress in difficulty. The book shows you how to applique mainly animals with fabric and/or paint. There are ideas for collage too. There is also a very basic chapter on design, including interpreting a photograph.I would say the level is beginner to confident beginner, no further. The lovely bicycle on the front is not in the book. A great introduction to applique and free-motion.

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Book Review – Modern Plus Sign Quilts by C. Brickey and P. Alexander

Modern Plus Sign Quilts by Cheryl Brickey and Paige Alexander, softback published by Stash Books. ISBN 9781617455698, price 21.99 in the U.K. available from www.searchpress.com

Modern take on a classic favourite with 16 interesting projects using a variety of quilting techniques. These girls found the plus in plus providing a range of quilts from easy to challenging. Instructions are included for foundation paper piecing and fusible applique. Patterns range from table runner to bed quilt. You will find general instructions at the front and finishing at the back. Each pattern gives materials needed, finished block measurement, finished quilt, cutting, assembly instructions and finishing. Each one is accompanied by excellent photos. The skill level is shown with plus signs. A clever take on geometrics. The faceted rings quilt is my favourite shown top of the front cover.

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Crewel Creatures by Hazel Blomkamp

Crewel Creatures by Hazel Blomkamp, softback published by Search Press. ISBN 9781782215257, price 15.99 available from www.searchpress.com

Always a delight to see Hazel’s work and the new slant on crewel embroidery in this book Hazel has transformed 6 animals into crewel creations. The book offers sound advice on embroidery basics including a stitch dictionary, needle stitching and needle weaving and beading techniques, illustrated with line drawings. For each project, you see an image of the design plus close-ups, the dimensions, description, materials needed, general and stitching instructions. These instructions are very detailed step-by-step; for example, Norman the Tortoise has 11 pages of instructions. The other projects are ostrich, owl, snake, elephant and finally my favourite project, shown on the front cover, the rhino. There are templates, but they are not given actual size. Surprisingly the book has no index, although it is fairly straightforward, an index would have been useful to locate stitches and techniques in the book. This book was previously published in South Africa and is the third in a series. Hazel’s work is aimed at experienced embroiderers, who are also interested in beading.

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Sew Cute Creatures by Mariska Vos-Bolman

Sew Cute Creatures by Mariska Vos-Bolman, softback published by Search Press. ISBN 9781782215790, price 10.99 available from www.searchpress.com

A fun, cute creatures to sew book. The style reminds me of the style of a fabulous Japanese book I used to have 40 years ago. Slightly large heads and smaller bodies. Just 12 patterns to choose from but they do come with full-sized pattern pieces that you need to trace off. Sew by hand or machine. What you get – clear large photos, clear diagrams and written instructions for assembly. An appealing selection of toys that are easy to make. This book was originally published in Dutch in 2016. The author also had a similar book published in 2014 by a different publisher.