PLANET PATCHWORK QUILTING BOOKBRIEFS, #11
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.
Posted February 14, 2001
In the event that cupid failed to deliver the goods this Valentine's Day, there are some new books that may substitute nicely for some of the traditional February 14 offerings.
First, there's Quilts for Chocolate Lovers from AQS. So that includes just about all of us, right? Not only does this book provide 15 deliciously-named quilt projects, it includes recipes and tidbits of trivia about the substance we adore, CHOCOLATE. Among the yummies that Janet Jones Worley has designed are Chocolate Covered Cherries, Sprinkles, Blueberries and White Chocolate, and La Chocolada! As you might expect, many (but not all) of the designs do include use of fabric in the brown family. However, the artist has done some imaginative things with this appealing theme. The inclusion of chocolate factoids and recipes for chocolate goodies make this a totally clever book, so you just might want to go ahead and treat yourself!
If soft fur is more to your taste than soft centers, The ABCs of Making Teddy Bears should warm your heart. There are a total of fifteen projects just waiting for a hug, including a fairly thorough opening discussion of bear-making. The projects have a rating for difficulty (from one to four paws), and teach different techniques that are characteristic of the traditional cuddly guys The drawings and photos are pretty detailed, and .sprinkled throughout the text are some bear facts and special tips for making the friendly fellows. Since teddy bears often require some fairly specialized supplies, there's a resource guide included to help you locate the parts and pieces you might need. I'm afraid that once you start with a one paw project, it would be hard to stop there.
If the setting you're most worried about revolves around quilt blocks rather than gemstones, Margaret Miller has the answer in her new book, Smashing Sets. Margaret shows how to take assorted traditional blocks and arrange them in exciting new ways. Using only straight line piecing and lots of imagination, this book provides many design tips and suggestions for arranging the usual square blocks into unexpected presentations. Since most of us own sets of completed (and sometimes a little boring) blocks we have failed to bring together into a finished quilt, the quilting majority will find useful advice somewhere between the book's covers. The 16 projects and 36 photographs should surely inspire you to rescue some of those jilted UFOs in the back of the closet and make them into something sparkling.
If Valentine's Day revelry hasn't been enough to banish the winter "blahs", pink lemonade may be what we need. The book, Pink Lemonade, that is. Using a combination of patchwork and applique, Linda Johnson has created some old- fashioned-looking projects that are darling but not too sweet. Bugs temper pretty posies; a plump robin regards a dragonfly. According to the accompanying text, a dragonfly's landing on Linda inspired the quilts while she drifted in a lake. Linda's affection for bugs is evidenced by the notes scattered throughout the pages which offer little details specific to the bug or bugs featured on a particular project. Serendipity stepped in while we were in Seattle recently, and we were lucky enough to visit the store where Linda works, the weekend of her book signing. Although we missed meeting the author, we did get to see the projects in real life, AND, we got to sample some wonderful homemade cookies left over from the big event. Even though it was cold and drizzly in Seattle, it was summer inside the shop. Although I'm not a big fan of large applique‚ projects, I just might have to tackle the pillow with the sun and fat bluebird on it. Its nostalgic air would go so well with my pastel scrap pinwheel quilt in the sewing room.
And speaking of pastels, who among us isn't a fan of Aunt Grace and other '30s reproduction fabrics? Now that Marcus Brothers has announced that they are discontinuing certain fabrics, there's pressure on stash builders to buy even more before it's gone. So if you're wondering what to do with your stash, Threads from the '30s may provide just the help you need. Some of the best-known quilters in the U.S. have gotten together to provide us with some sensational ideas, and thirteen projects to help us whittle down our fabric collections, so we can buy more. For example, Carol Doak provides a charming foundation-pieced nosegay design that can easily expand from wall hanging size. There's Cleo Nollette's umbrella design, a cat quilt from Ursula Reikes and several nostalgic full- size pieced quilts, too. There are designs for appliqued fans and even a design that incorporates old-timey embroidered Garden Girl blocks. The instructions are clear, and include tips from each quilter to speed us along the way.
Since we're still in a nostalgia phase here, I have to mention Judith Baker Montano's beautiful book, Floral Stitches. It's packed with gorgeous ideas as well as explicit diagrams for many, many stitched flowers. There's also a twenty-plus page section on crazy quilt combinations. As always, the pictures alone are worth owning, but this spiral-bound book (which lies flat when open) is clearly meant to be used by the practicing stitcher. Even if you've never tried floral embroidery, you'll find it hard to resist buying this book once you've seen it.
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