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. All prices listed are retail. We offer discounts on most books.

Magic Stack-n-Whack Quilts
By Bethany S. Reynolds
American Quilters' Society, 1998
112 pages, $19.95

Those of you who read our review of Paula Nadelstern's Kaleidoscopes & Quilts ( will recall that the rigor and precision required by these quilts make them not for the faint of heart. Well, Bethany Reynolds' new book, the most popular quilting book to hit the shelves since Margaret Miller's Strips that Sizzle, could aptly be subtitled "Kaleidoscope Quilts for Sissies."

In contrast to Nadelstern's use of highly calibrated templates, Reynolds' technique is, indeed, "stack-n-whack," using strips of fabric and the quilter's best friend, a rotary cutter. This isn't to say that the method doesn't require care and precision -- it does -- but if done with the proper preparation it results in some stunning kaleidoscopic effects with a minimum of effort. Reynolds
walks us through fabric selection and design considerations for this type of quilt, then provides very detailed instructions on several variations of the technique.

The quilts in this book are lovely, though more regimented (blocks in straight rows) than in Nadelstern's freeform approach. But any quilter who masters this technique can use it to move beyond the designs shown here into even more magical realms!

For an interview with the author, more reviews, or to purchase, click here:

Hand Stitched Samplers from I Done My Best:
Nine Delightful and Quick Projects
By Saundra White
Martingale & Company, 1998
Paperback, 32 pages.

I first encountered Saundra White's "I Done My Best" sampler patterns in San Antonio's wonderful rustic/primitive quilt store, Plain Jane's. The simple, imperfect stitches of the samplers complement the Cabin-on-the-Prairie theme of many of the subjects. Her patterns were all so appealing that it was difficult to decide which one I liked best. I purchased the pattern for the Texas bluebonnets and have been in love with Saundra's style ever since.

Now the decision-making is easier, with the arrival of her new book, Hand Stitched Samplers. The book is a collection of nine projects in her not-so-hard-to-do style. The designs can be done by those of us who have little time or who are not experienced stitchers. A new or young needleworker could undertake these projects and have good results, and experienced folks will find them too irresistible to pass up. The designs are full size and easily traceable, although Saundra encourages irregularity and "freehand" stitching as opposed to line-by-line reproduction. Saundra's story of her samplers is as appealing as the designs themselves, which adds to the charm of this publication.

Click here to learn more, or to purchase:

On The Surface: Thread Embellishment and Fabric Manipulation
By Wendy Hill
C&T Publishing, 1997
Paperback, 144 pages

Way cool is probably the best way to describe Wendy Hill's book, On the Surface. And considering that she admits to sewing a vinyl bikini, a blue fake fur coat and a bread wrapper raincoat in her younger days, she probably would recognize that statement for the expression of awe that it is.

Starting with just regular fabric, Wendy layers, arranges and copiously stitches the raw material into a new work of art. Her painstaking description of her "thread embellishment and fabric manipulation" techniques is sufficient to awaken the creativity in any of us who are conscious enough to read the book. (Which, as Wendy explains, is the number one requirement for mastering her technique - you must be conscious.) Given that, she embarks on a step by step, almost thought by thought explanation of how to achieve results similar to the beautiful models in the book.

Large chunks of information are presented under specific headings, and there are lots of photographs and diagrams of each technique presented. Wendy talks us through each and every step so there will be no misunderstanding, and offers hints to guide the reader around commonly encountered difficulties. Given the thoroughness of the book, it is no surprise to learn that she was once a schoolteacher.

The book includes both complete projects and what Wendy calls "inspirational starting points" which assist the reader in conceptualizing his own creation. There are quilts, clothes, decorator items and some whimsical small projects. For those of us who are nervous about our own talents when it comes to "artistic" expression, Wendy Hill gives us the courage to create and the guidance to make our results awesome, too. Way cool, Wendy.

For more information, or to order, click here:

Machine Quilting With Decorative Threads
Maurine Noble and Elizabeth Hendricks
That Patchwork Place, 1998
Paperback, 88 pages

Let's face it. Machine quilting, particularly if you don't have a big enough table or the right sewing machine feet or very much experience, can be a big pain. Imagine, then, confusing your poor old machine with some sort of weird new thread. Something with sparkles or made out of a strange synthetic, or something heavy enough to tow the bass boat. No, no, no, your machine says, and refuses to budge.

Well here come Maurine and Elizabeth to the rescue. They know their decorative threads and the little tricks to fool your machine into thinking this is all great fun. Going from the premise that your threads ought to be at least as interesting as your carefully-chosen fabrics, Noble and Hendricks give us a primer on a variety of thread types and techniques to embellish to your heart's content. "Threads Through the Needle," "Threads from the Bobbin," and "Threads they hang their many tips and lessons on these exotic techniques.

As one would hope in such a book as this, the authors are not shy about naming names. With the wide selection of threads available on the market, they name them specifically by brand and type, tell you what type of needle to use and what kind of bobbin thread best accompanies them. All of this technical stuff is accompanied by a gorgeous gallery of quilts and wearables to illustrated the effects. If you've found yourself lingering over that rack of Madeiras or Sulkies, this is the book that can open the door.

For more information, or to order, click here:

Quilted for Christmas: A Collection of Festive Quilts for the Holidays
That Patchwork Place, 1994, Reprinted 1998
Paperback, 120 Pages

All right, gang. You know if you're going to get all those quliting projects done for Christmas you'd better get started. That's why this reprint of one of That Patchwork Place's favorite Christmas books comes along at such an opportune time.

Tree skirt? Wall-hanging? Advent Calendar? They're all in here in a collection of 18 manageable Christmas projects with detailed instructions. Pieced, appliqued, country, crazy, it's all here in projects designed by a variety of different quilters and compiled by Ursula Reikes. Just in case you want to start your quilting career with something nice for Christmas, the book also includes a 15-page primer on all aspects of quiltmaking, from rotary cutting to applique technique.

There are full-color photos of all the projects and detailed diagrams to walk you through every step. Better check your stash for reds and greens!

For more information, or to order, click here:

Other books of Interest:

Strips That Sizzle, by Margaret Miller:

Kaleidoscopes & Quilts, by Paula Nadelstern:

Stars That Sparkle, by Alex Anderson

(c) Copyright 1995-2012 by The Virtual Quilt Company. All rights reserved.


                                          Four Wheel Drive for your Machine!

The Tutto Machine-on-Wheels is the strongest, most lightweight, and most ergonomically friendly of sewing machine luggage choices!

Read our review and check out the wide assortment of sizes and colors (and great prices) for this highly maneuverable carrier for taking your sewing machine across town or around the world!

Planet Patchwork won't be undersold on quilting software!

Visit our sister sites

The Quilt Channel | The Quilt Software Network | Quiltropolis

Home | Newsletter | BOM | Search | Store | Books | History | Advertise
| Mystery | Quilters | Planet | Beginners | Travel | Tools | Essays | Views | Links