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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.

Reviews by Lynn Holland

Patchwork Picnic
By Suzette Hafferty and Nancy J. Martin
Martingale Press, 2001
Paperback, 112 Pages, Retail $29.95

Those of us at PP play a little game whenever we attend concerts on the square in our hometown. Whenever one of us spots someone having a picnic on a terrific looking quilt, we nudge the other and whisper “Quilt Alert.” Suzette Hafferty and Nancy J Martin have created their very own quilt alert in their new release, Patchwork Picnic.

Pairing two natural companions, quilts and food, this book offers a feast for the eyes and palate.  Thirteen distinctive seasonal patchwork patterns and fabulous recipes to go with them should have us all packing up lunch and heading for a shady spot. The quilts are mostly in the 60x60 size range, just the size for a cozy picnic. I particularly liked the Fourth of July picnic quilt and the pastel Dream House, both designs by Nancy J. Martin.

All the recipes sound way too yummy. I can attest that the Poached Salmon with Mango Salsa is a show stopper even if it’s not served on an elegant quilt. And speaking of elegant, don’t miss Suzette Halferty’s Champagne Elegance quilt designed for the New Year’s Eve by the fire. Every one of these quilts is lovely and each recipe sufficiently unique to be interesting. The hard part will be picking which pair to make first.

Quilting More Memories
By Sandy Bonsib
Martingale Press, 2001
Paperback, 80 pages, Retail $24.95

Once you’re mastered the art of photo transfer to fabric, what next? Sandy Bonsib’s new book, Quilting More Memories shows us some ideas and eye-popping possibilities. In case you missed her book, Quilting Your Memories, Sandy gives the basic rundown on photo transfer techniques, along with tips for framing photos, selecting fabrics and other nuts and bolts essentials for a successful photo transfer creation. Next, there’s the “Inspirational Galllery” two dozen examples of unique photo quilts by a variety of artist. Rounding out the book is a collection of guidelines to help as you work on your own quilt and directions  for eight different projects. A useful book for both individual and group endeavors.


The Stori of Beaded Embellishments
By Mary Stori
Martingale Press, 2001
Paperback, 96 pages, Retail $24.95

The Stori of Beaded Embellishment is a wonderful collection of amazing whimsical creations by Mary Stori. Once you finish thoroughly enjoying the photos of her cleverly and beautifully beaded designs of all sorts of unlikely subjects – cows, dancing veggies, and garage roofs -- you’ll become fascinated with the detailed illustrations of how to recreate these effects, even down to how to appliqué a real credit card. Mary gives us a primer on bead facts and techniques, and there are complete instructions for eight projects. A summer sparkler, for sure.

Traditional Quilts for Kids to Make
By Barbara J. Eikmeier
Martingale Press, 2001
Paperback, 80 pages, Retail $19.95

Sooner or later, you’ll probably want to share your love of the art of quilting with a child.

Knowing that not all of us are natural born teachers who can impart the basic skills to a young person and still keep it fun and rewarding, Barbara  J. Eikmeier has developed Traditional Quilts for Kids to Make. Offering clear instructions and insightful pointers to make the process pleasurable for all involved, Barbara discusses children and machine  sewing, and addresses common problems and how to solve them. There are fifteen traditional (and familiar) quilt blocks, paired with eight different quilt plans. The book finishes with finishing the quilt (of course) and gives several ideas for developing hand and machine quilting skills in youngsters. Just in time for camp and Bible school, this book should give you and the kids a good starting place.


The Decorated Porch: Creative Projects from Leslie Beck
By Leslie Beck of Fiber Mosaics
Martingale Press, 2001
Paperback, 128 pages, Retail $27.95

We recently had a front porch added to our 50-year old cottage-style house, and so entered a whole new realm of home decorating. What do you put on the porch that looks cute but doesn’t junk it up too much? We haven’t yet developed our own style of porch decoration, but we have been provided plenty of ideas in Leslie Beck’s “The Decorated Porch.” The book offers projects and color schemes for the four seasons, with a strong patchwork emphasis. Each season has its own lap or wall quilt, as well as patchwork chair pads and backs, throw pillows, and a pet pillow.

In addition, Leslie offers other decorating techniques, including painted planters, chairs, and even a painted lampshade. The techniques for most of these projects are simple (no fancy appliqué or tortured points here!) and the styles are casual. The idea is to create accessories for use outdoors that are quick to stitch and fun to mix and match. There are general sewing and painting instructions at the beginning of the book, and templates at the back for those projects which might require them. Most are rotary cut and strip pieced.

If you’re looking for ideas to keep your porch looking great all year, this book is a rich source.


Paper Piece a Flower Garden: Blocks and Projects to Mix and Match
By Jodie Davis
Martingale Press, 2001
Paperback, 96 pages, Retail $24.95

Jodie Davis has become known as a creative and prolific inventor of new paper foundation piecing blocks and techniques. One recent book explicated the technique she developed for paper-piecing curves, and another was chock full of Christmas-inspired blocks. This newest book, “Paper Piece a Flower Garden,” is a lovely whimsical collection of blocks inspired by the denizens of her back yard in North Georgia – not only flowers, but bugs, frogs, and other critters. The book is divided into three parts. The first contains a “Paper Piecing Primer” that explains all the steps involved in preparing and sewing foundation pieced blocks. This is well-written, with detailed diagrams, and is interspersed with tips and tricks Jodie has learned to make this great technique even easier. The second part of the book contains the patterns for thirty-six blocks in a variety of sizes for such plants as dogwood, cattail, cornflower, crocus, daffodil and iris, and creatures such as bees, dragonflies, birds and a wonderful grinning bullfrog. The style of all of these is impressionistic and playful – these aren’t biologically correct flora and fauna, but simplified and fun, often with beads or buttons for eyes.

The final section takes these blocks and lays them out in eight wall-hanging-sized quilts, including complete instructions on assembly and finishing. My favorite of these charmers is “Loving Life in the Pond,” which features the famous self-satisfied frog ensconced among cattails and waterlilies, but the book is really designed to encourage readers to use the blocks provided in their own designs. One nice extra in this section is the inclusion of boxes with paper-piecing and sewing tips from some of Jodie’s students. If you’re a paper-piecing fan, or think you might like to take it up, this is a great book!


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