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PLANET PATCHWORK QUILTING BOOKBRIEFS, #9

Planet Patchwork Bookbriefs are published in newsletter form and distributed by e-mail to subscribers to the Planet Patchwork Update List, as well as being published here on the web. If you'd like to join our Update List, you can subscribe here.

BookBriefs provides subscribers thumbnail descriptions and reviews of new (and sometimes not-so-new) quilting books on the market, along with links to where the books can be purchased through The Planet Patchwork Quilters' Bookstore. (Just click on the title.) All prices listed are retail. We offer discounts on most books.


Reviewer of the books in this article is Christina Holland.


Creepy Crafty Halloween
Compiled by Dawn Anderson
Martingale and Company, 2000, 111 pp.
MSRP $21.95




Halloween is just around the corner, having snuck up on some of us amazingly quickly (Wait - wasn't the fourth of July just like last week?) Some of you out there are probably already doing Christmas crafting, which just makes me shake my head in dismay. But I digress.

'Creepy Crafty Halloween' is not exactly a quilting book, although several of the projects do use patchwork, embroidery, and applique ('Crayon and Embroidery Wall Hanging', p. 25; 'Appliqued Pumpkin Table Runner and Napkins', p. 53; Patches: The Pumpkin Patch Protector', p. 60; etc.). What grabs my attention, though, is the variety of fun projects represented. Personally, I will be decorating my home with the spooky 'Paper Lanterns' (p. 37). There really is something for everyone: decorations, candles, serving dishes, and even a doll. All necessary patterns are included full size in the back of the book.

Some of these projects are fast and easy enough that even I may be able to get back on schedule for my holiday crafting.



Fantastic Fabric Folding: Innovative Projects
Rebecca Wat
C&T Publishing, 2000, 96 pp.
MSRP $22.95


Finally, someone gives us a way to combine origami and quilting! You just can't beat that.

Essentially, 'Fantastic Fabric Folding' is a way to introduce a three-dimensional feel to your quilt. There are of course other methods that accomplish the same basic objective. This style employs the principles of origami, or Japanese paper folding. If you've spent time with origami, as I have, then you'll recognize some of the patterns included here.

The designs are lovely, and for each one the author includes step by step instructions with color photographs. The gallery photos showcase some lovely works. If you want to try something new in your quilting, this book is for you.



Pieced Flowers
Ruth B. McDowell
C&T Publishing, 2000, 112 pp.
MSRP $24.95



Ruth McDowell's 'Pieced Flowers' are virtually alive, nodding in time to the faintest breeze, their scent wafting out from the pages. Several things, I think, make them seem that way. The first thing I noticed was that she's translated the view of each flower from different oblique angles into the quilt blocks. After all, flowers in the real world don't present perfect profiles to us the observers, always oriented exactly vertically, horizontally, or at 45 degrees. In addition, some of the designs include petals that venture out of the box - either into the borders or in the third dimension, out from the quilt itself (the Rose, p. 84). Finally, the use of curved seams makes some of the flowers more realistic, although instructions are provided for straight and inset seams as well.

Actually, at first glance I thought these were paper piecing patterns. Some of them can be used as such, but as the author points out, this does not allow for the curved seams, and may not be as fast as template piecing for the more complicated blocks, anyway.

This isn't the right book from which to pick your very first quilting project, but it certainly contains some fun challenges. One can start off relatively easily, with the straight seam versions of the Daisy (p. 37), Hollyhock (p. 53), and Sweet Pea (p. 94), and later experiment at one's own pace with the curved seams, variations in point of view, and the more complicated blossoms.



Stars a la Carte
Bethany S. Reynolds
American Quilter's Society, 2000, 127 pp.
MSRP $21.95




'Stars a la Carte' is a handy reference book if you like to work with stars. It's got a little bit of everything, even if the thread holding it all together (star blocks) is a little loose. There're many things that can be said about stars in quilts; it's a broad field. In that sense, this book seems to jump from one topic to another a bit, but on the other hand, it's just chock full of great information, such as an entire section about the 'Stack and Whack' technique for the LeMoyne star.

Nearly the latter half of the book is reference of one sort or another - useful charts of how much fabric to buy and how many of each piece to cut, general instructions on foundation piecing, applique, piecing triangles, bindings, and more, and finally 21 pages of templates and quilting designs.



Fabric Collage Quilts: Using Creative Applique and Embellishments
Joanne Goldstein
That Patchwork Place, 1999, 95 pp.
MSRP $24.95


I should say at the outset that I don't do very much applique work. This book, though, strikes me as a good primer for applique first timers. I am especially fond of the 'confidence builders', which grace each section. The author starts off slowly and lets the reader work at his or her own speed, with activities in design, color, and finally putting the various elements of the quilt together. The 'helpful hints' make frequent appearances as well, and are clearly set off from the surrounding text by a box and a change in background color.

There are three projects included, but this is not a color by number kind of book. The projects progress from more structured to almost entirely free-form. For the structured
elements of each project there are instructions, color diagrams for the background squares, patterns for the key pieces of applique, and discussion, with color photographs, of possible embellishments.



Celtic Quilts: A New Look for Ancient Designs
Beth Ann Williams
That Patchwork Place, 2000, 96 pp.
MSRP $24.95


This next one is better for the more experienced applique artist. The designs in 'Celtic Quilts' are intricate and beautiful, with bands of intertwining fabric tubing forming simple motifs and elaborate Celtic knots. The author does a great job, though, of breaking down the process into steps: the transfer of the design to the base fabric, the initial basting, the most effective applique stitch, how to cope with angles, quilting, and finishing. These general instructions, which apply to all of the individual projects, are contained within the first part of the book, and offer many helpful black and white and color diagrams and detail photographs.

Each project (there are twelve, of varying complexity) includes a color photograph of the finished result, text instructions, a multi-color placement diagram, and a full size template for tracing. I think 'A Celtic Celebration' (p. 72) and 'The Island' (p. 87) are especially gorgeous, for their incorporation of multiple complementary design elements.



Paper-Pieced Curves: 8 Quilted Projects
By Jodie Davis
Martingale & Company, 2000
80 Pages, $21.95



Oh these clever paper-piecers! Is there anything they can't do? The latest "wrinkle" is paper-pieced curves, as in those difficult patterns Storm at Sea, Drunkard's Path, and
Robbing Peter to Pay Paul. Jodie Davis has figured out how to make these quilts using the PP method, with a great deal more precision and ease than by traditional means. Beginning
with a primer on paper-piecing, Jodie moves on to the finer points of doing curves (especially dealing with the fabric tucks created by curves), and then moves on to eight
gorgeous traditional quilts with instructions on their construction by her method. The book is rounded out with reproducible foundation patterns. One of Jodie's quilts from this book, "Dainty Flowers," also adorns the cover of Martingale's quilt calendar for next year.

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