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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 or the link provided.) All prices listed are retail. We offer discounts on most books.

Block Magic: Over 50 Fun & Easy Blocks Made from Squares and Rectangles
By Nancy Johnson-Srebro
C&T Publishing, 2001
Paper bound, 112 pages
Suggested retail: $24.95

Who could not like "Block Magic"? This book of 50+ adorable blocks along with 20 ways to set them has something to appeal to everyone. The designs range from a cleverly-pieced ballerina to Santa Claus to flower pots and American flags. Directions are given for each block in four sizes - 6", 8", 10" and 12" - so you can make exactly the size you want without brain-straining math. Nancy also shows each block made up with four different fabric selections, another boon to those of us who are "visualization impaired." Another simplification to appreciate: all of the designs are sewn exclusively from squares and rectangles. I especially like the cow with a patchwork body and the spooky-looking ghost, but you'll have to pick your own favorite! Once you've made some blocks, go to the back of 
the book and follow one of Nancy's "Quilt Maps" to finish your project. Really a fun book.

The Art of Machine Piecing: Quality Workmanship
By Sally Collins
C&T Publishing, 2001
Paper bound, 128 pages
Suggested retail: $26.95

Once you're mastered the basics of machine piecing and are ready to get serious about refining your techniques, The Art of Machine Piecing: Quality Workmanship Through a Colorful Journey can be your guide. The author, Sally Collins, has compiled a careful, precise discussion of how to achieve the perfect points, no bulges, look to which we all aspire in our work. In addition to a discussion of the finer points (no pun intended, but it's not bad now, is it?) of exact machine piecing, there are instructions for nearly 50 blocks along with specific tips for making each block turn out perfectly. This book has a calm, quiet style, with highlighted boxes marked "noteworthy" to assist the reader in focusing on the important aspects of the author's advice. Overall, a very instructive book.

Ghost Layers and Color Washes: Three Steps to Spectacular Quilts
By Katie Pasquini Masopust
C&T Publishing, 2001
Paper bound, 80 pages
Suggested retail: $21.95

For those of us ready to really branch out, Ghost Layers and Color Washes by Katie Pasquini Masopust is as energizing an art quilt technique book as I can remember. Using a layered approach to developing representational quilts, the author provides a view into her creative process. The first section guides us through the basic techniques, and the remainder of the full color book is devoted to Katie's gorgeous projects and those of her students. Even if you're a strict traditional quilter, you'll love these amazing quilts.

Setting Solutions
By Sharyn S. Craig
C&T Publishing, 2001
Paper bound, 96 pages
Suggested retail: $23.95

If this is the Year of the UFO ("but this time I really mean it") in your house, you'll appreciate Sharyn Craig's Setting Solutions. Almost everyone who has been quilting for more than fifteen minutes has unfinished business with some projects that are stored in the closet or under the bed, so don't pretend you don't. This book can help you face your abandoned fabric squares and triangles, and make something of them. Acknowledging that there may be some mental preparation that needs to occur, Sharyn starts this book with "Getting Set" to help us focus, then moves on to issues such as Reconciling Size Differences, Framing the Competition, and Organizing Your Orphan Blocks. She leads us through process step by step, with lots of examples and troubleshooting along the way. Okay, now it's already April -do you know where your UFOs are?

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