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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.


Five New Paper Foundation Piecing Books
Reviewed By Lynn Holland

Pine Tree Quilts: Perfect Patchwork Piecing
Collector Books, 2001
Paperbound, 144 pages
MSRP $22.95

The pine tree quilt is one of the classics of the history of quilting, right along with Double Wedding Ring, Log Cabin and Grandmotherís Flower Garden. In her new book, Pine Tree Quilts, Lois Arnold ďcoversĒ the subject in a variety of methods and materials. 

Because itís always good to know the stories behind the quilts, the book provides us with the history of the pine tree quilt to get us fully in the mood. She shows us a number of lovely photos of samples of pine tree quilts, both vintage and contemporary, and includes designs for four dozen variations of the essential pine tree block! 

Having prepared us well to create our own version of the pine tree, Arnold provides instructions for trees in every technique. You can opt for your own preferred method, or using the detailed instructions, branch out in new directions. The paper piece designs assure those perfect points, but for more traditional quilters, template designs are given for some projects. Some instructions combine techniques so you can pick the method that works for you. For instance, any template that can be rotary cut offers a rotary icon and the appropriate measurements right on the template itself. This is quite a plus for those of us who donít like to search through huge columns of numbers to locate the correct dimensions. One of the fifteen projects is sure to suit your taste and ability level.

Down in the Valley, by Cori Derksen and Myra Harder
Martingale & Company, 2001
Paperbound, 112 pages
MSRP: $17.95

Once youíve gotten the trees together, how about some houses to go with those? 

Down in the Valley, by Cori Derksen and Myra Harder, offers us whole settlements of paper-pieced dwellings. Depending on your preferences, you can select locations ranging from the mountains to the prairie, with stops in the country and on Main Street. Most of the blocks in the book are 5Ē or smaller, but they can be enlarged with a photocopier. All of the projects given are smaller than bed size, but certainly could be enlarged or extended to construct a larger quilt. 

Most of the blocks are well detailed, but not impossible for the average paper piecer. If one of the 16 different projects doesnít suit you, why not combine the individual blocks to create something that is uniquely you. This is a very charming book, with nice small touches accenting the basic designs. 

Quilt a Koala: Australian Animals and Birds in Patchwork
By Margaret Rolfe
That Patchwork Place, 2001
Paperbound, 72 pages
MSRP: $19.95

However, if you have a hankering to quilt some creatures from down under, Quilt a Koala provides you with some novel and adorable options. Margaret Rolfeís book allows you not just to quilt a koala, but kangaroos, kookaburras and emus, too. Not to mention every other animal native to the area- think platypus, magpie and possum. In all, there are instructions for foundation piecing 18 different animals and birds, with complete instructions for 14 quilts utilizing the clever blocks. For those who wish to vary from the basic 6Ē size, instructions for using the copier to make a larger finished product are well detailed. The authorís son is credited with the delightful animal drawings that dot the book. The patterns and illustrations are in black and white, but there are color photographs of the completed quilt projects. 

Cups and Saucers: Paper-Pieced Kitchen Designs
Maaike Bakker
Martingale & Company, 2000
Paperbound, 80 pages
MSRP: $22.95

If your interest lies closer to home, how about Cups and Saucers? This friendly book is just the thing for the tea, coffee or cocoa lovers in your group. Whether you just want to make one cup or a whole cupboard full of china, Maaike Bakker has designed paper piecing designs to suit your needs. There are 40 patterns and ten projects in this book, and the designs are suitable for anything from potholders to placemats to wall hangings. My favorite project was a very ambitious collection of Delft china, including neatly stacked saucers lined up on shelves! This tidy set of blocks may be just right to chase away any winter blahs you may be experiencing.

Paper Piece a Merry Christmas
By Jodie Davis
Martingale & Company, 2000
Paperbound, 96 pages
MSRP: $24.95

Being one of those Christmas-all-year-round types, I believe itís never too early (or too late) to start on some cute paper pieced items for next December. I fell in love with Paper Piece a Merry Christmas somewhere around Halloween, but just didnít get to making any in time. However, this year Iím starting early so that I can complete some of these adorable block designs in time for the right holiday. There are five Santa blocks and the other thirty-five cover most of the essential holiday images. There are ten projects, plus directions for turning individual blocks into ornaments. Itís hard to say which designs are the cutest, given the gingerbread men, the reindeer, the angels, the snowmen. . . well, you get the idea. If youíre looking for some fun paper piecing, this will get you on an early start to Christmas in July!


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