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July 2002

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 Rob and Lynn Holland

Provence: Quilts and Cuisine
By Marie-Christine Flocard and Cosabeth Parriaud
C&T Publishing, 2002
Paperbound, 112 pages, $25.95

Provence is one of those places that conjures up warmth and plenitude. It has strong heritages in both textiles (this is where the boutis technique originates) and food, and these two French quilters have provided us a window into the original beauty of the place. Through gorgeous photos, nine quilt projects, and 13 simple and tasty recipes, this book brings the essence of southern France into your sewing room and kitchen. The quilt projects are varied in style and complexity, ranging from photo-transfers to simple yet original geometrics such as "Roofs of Avignon," which is my favorite. The recipes are likewise distinctive and varied - thyme bread, peaches marinated in red wine, traditional ratatouille. Like all good quilt books, this one has a section of general quilting instructions as well as detailed ones for each project. This is one to luxuriate in.

Butterflies & Blooms: Designs for Applique & Quilting
By Carol Armstrong
C&T Publishing, 2002
Paperbound, 96 pages, $24.95

Translating nature into fabric is Carol Armstrong's specialty, and in this book you not only get 42 of her appliqué patterns for flowers and crawly creatures, but a technique to do your own of whatever your heart desires. After that she shows you how take all these twigs and petals and place them in their own quilt landscapes enhanced by pictorial quilting stitches. The effect is charming, clean, and appropriate for almost any room. These works are predominantly small all-hangings - no bed quilts here - and are great projects for somebody who's been an appliqué-phobe. The "lightbox" technique takes much of the pain out of the design process, and the flowers and bugs are fun to work on.

Quick Quilts for the Holidays: 11 Projects to Stamp, Stencil, and Sew
By Trice Boerens
C&T Publishing, 2002
Paperbound, 96 pages, $24.95

What!? The holidays? Again?? Already?! If the prospect of all that holiday decorating is giving you the willies, this book may be just the ticket. This is a quick quilt book with the emphasis on the quick, with charming projects for Halloween, Christmas, Hannukah, and harvest themes. Fabric painting,stamping, and other embellishment techniques add depth and interest, as well as easy techniques for those who are beginners, or who don't have as much time as they'd like. For all their simplicity, these projects are rich-looking and colorful, and will enhance any home décor.

Play Quilts: Creative Activity Quilts for Kids
By Kristin Kolstad Addison
Martingale & Company, 2001
Paperbound, 112 pages, $27.95

Making quilts for babies and children is of course one of the most satisfying ways quilters can show their love of family and friends. Lately, children's quilts have become something more than simple bed-coverings. Kristin Addison, living in her native Norway with twin daughters, was faced with their fears of polar bears when they moved to a new town. Not a normal fear for those of us in more southern climes, but it inspired Kristin to make a quilt embellished with toys and soft-sculptures that helped the girls act out and overcome their fears. Thus the first of her "play quilts" was born, and the rest is this book. Combining quilts with simple doll-making techniques, these projects are great fun to make and then continue to give joy through their playful interactive qualities. Themes of the projects include outer space, the farm, a pirate ship, an animal train, and many others. Cute original ideas, great instructions, templates and great photography.

Enchanted Views: Quilts Inspired by Wrought-Iron Designs
By Dilys A. Fronks
C&T Publishing, 2002
Paperbound, 96 pages, $25.95

When I'm visiting places like New Orleans or Charleston, one of my favorite surprises is to come unexpectedly upon a garden gate tucked away in an obscure corner. Looking through its scrolls and curlicues, you can usually see somebody's well-kept garden, and get a brief glimpse at the life behind the life on the street you're walking down. Dilys Fronks' book takes the idea of these garden gates and turns it into quilts. Framed by strong, black ironwork designs, watercolor and reverse appliqué florals emerge from these original quilts. The book is a tour de force of all sorts of sewing techniques and contains lots of great tips on fabric selection and pattern design. My favorite part is the Author's (and her students) Gallery of Gates in the last pages. I just can stop peering into these magical spaces.

Potting Shed Patchwork: 14 Quilted Projects Fresh from the Garden
Compiled by Nancy J. Martin
Martingale & Company, 2002
Paperbound, 128 pages, $27.95

Gardens inspire quilters in many ways, and there's no better proof of this than in Nancy J. Martin's compilation of quilt designs inspired by gardens. Designs from That Patchwork Place's wonderful stable of authors, including Carol Doak, Sandy Bonsib, Joan Hanson, and Nancy Martin herself, make up a varied collection of projects for all levels of quilting expertise. Choose a technique: Carol Doak will do it with foundations, Pam Lindquist with appliquéd tulips. Choose a flower: Amy Helmkamp likes the geranium, Joan Hanson is inspired by the English Rose. All in all this collection is an inspiring bouquet of styles, colors, and techniques with the great instructions, illustrations, and photos we have come to expect from Martingale.

America From the Heart: Quilters Remember September 11, 2001
By Karey Bresenham
C&T Publishing, 2002
Paperbound, 128 pages, $24.95

To commemorate the still very fresh events of the terrorist attacks against America, the Houston International Quilt Festival invited quilters around the world to submit quilts for a special exhibit. The result was an extremely moving and very large outpouring of quilts that threatened to overwhelm the convention center in Houston. Armed with our digital camera, we at Planet Patchwork captured a very few of these quilts for display on our website http://planetpatchwork.com/fth/), but C&T has now brought out a volume that collects all of the quilts, along with information about the artists and their specific inspirations. Arranged roughly thematically, the strongest images that emerge from this remarkable collection are those of the World Trade Center buildings themselves, still standing or ravaged by violence, and dozens of different defiant representations of the American flag. Tastefully presented and beautifully printed, this book is one that will inspire and comfort.

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