PLANET PATCHWORK QUILTING BOOKBRIEFS
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Say It With Quilts
by Diana McClun & Laura Nownes
C&T Publishing, 1997
McClun and Nownes are known for their big, colorful general quilting books like Quilts, Quilts, Quilts! and Quilts, Quilts, and More Quilts! They make good introductions for beginners, with complete quilt-making instructions, and appeal to veterans with their many interesting variations on mostly traditional quilt designs. After you've done a couple of these, it seems necessary to find a somewhat different approach, so in Say It With Quilts, the authors tie the 23 designs with brief and sometimes poignant personal stories about the meaning and significance of the quilts. Even if you never make any of these quilts (and instructions are included for all of them) it is a great pleasure to browse through the book admiring the lovely color photos and reading and being moved by the stories.
Among my favorites are "On Their Wedding Day," a lovely monochromatic quilt in gold tones, and "Hearts," a bright, asymmetrical design based on an original heart block pattern. At the back of the book is a class outline for construction of an alphabet sampler and a chapter containing complete quilting instructions from cutting to basting to quilting and borders. This is a great idea book, and would make a nice gift for a beginner.
Patchwork Persuasion, Fascinating Quilts from Traditional Designs
by Joen Wolfrom
C&T Publishing, 1997
Joen Wolfrom, on the other hand, is not aiming her book at the beginner. Patchwork Persuasion has been more than 20 years in the making, and is based on Wolfrom's very popular seminar "Stretching Traditions." The intended reader for this volume is someone who presumably has a fairly good grounding in traditional quiltmaking and is looking for new approaches to add life to his or her designs.
As the title implies, the basis for new designs is traditional quilt blocks, and Wolfrom begins by anatomizing the traditional blocks to reveal their basic characteristics. She does this through reducing them to the grids (four-patch, nine-patch, etc.) they are based on and demonstrating how blocks based on different grids are incompatible in basic ways. After this grounding in the basics, she then takes the blocks and stretches, merges, shrinks, expands, twists, and
blends them into stunning designs. The instructions and explanations are clear and well-written and the book is studded with specific exercises. This is a good volume for someone looking to make her first break from strictly traditional design.
Tradition With a Twist
by Blanche Young and Dalene Young Stone
C&T Publishing, 1996
This mother-daughter team of quilters takes another approach to expanding traditional designs. They take several simple quilts based on the use of square pieces, such as Boston Commons, Nine Patch, Trip Around the World, and Irish Chain, and through a fusion with watercolor quilt technique and bold fabric selection create striking designs. These breathtaking quilts (my favorite is the "Blooming Nine Patch") look enormously complex, but are actually quite easy
to make using the detailed strip-piecing techniques provided by the authors.
Tradition with a Twist provides good basic quilting instructions and is really more a how-to book than a treatise on design theory. Making one of these quilts would teach a quilter a great deal about color and texture in the process, however, and of course at the end of the lesson you would have something new and probably quite unexpected in the way of a quilt top.
Color: The Quilter's Guide
by Christine Barnes
That Patchwork Place, 1997
If you're looking for a more systematic approach to learning more about color, Christine Barnes has provided what may be the ultimate color workbook for quilters. She begins (where else?) with the color wheel, but her discussions of the subtleties of color, hue and tint, primaries, secondaries and complements is more thorough and understandable than any I have seen. And her examples, studded with sample quilts, appeal directly to the quilter's sensibility.
To put this knowledge to work, Barnes also provides directions and templates for several quilts which can serve as color studies. My favorite part of the book besides the dozens of beautiful color plates of quilts, is the section called "Quilters on Color" in which several accomplished quilters talk about their own creative processes and how they work their way toward the right color choices for their quilts.
Six-Color World: Color, Cloth, Quilts and Wearables
by Yvonne Porcella
C&T Publishing, 1997
If Christine Barnes's approach to color is measured and deliberate, Yvonne Porcella is her opposite, slinging color at us in a profusion of techniques, ideas and images that go far beyond the bounds of quilting. One goes to this book less to learn than to be inspired, but of course much learning takes place along the journey.
A painter and surface designer as well as a quilter and maker of wearables, Porcella has created an astonishing collage of her favorite techniques and obsessions and provides a new surprise on every page. You can learn everything from transferring an image to fabric to decorating a room, and even if your taste departs from the author's predilection for bright primaries, you can find a lot in here to apply to your own sense of style.
Read this book if you're really, really bored with what you're doing, but I'm not responsible for what might happen!
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