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BOOK REVIEW: Picture Play Quilts

By Lynn Holland

Picture Play Quilts
Ami Simms
Mallery Press, 2000
Suggested Retail: $22.95
Available at a discount from Planet Patchwork

Many a mother or grandmother has probably contemplated a child's quilt when faced with some of those oh-too-cute designs that adorn book covers. Many of us even purchase these cute books and then spend the years between the child's birth and college graduation dusting off said books but never tackling that adorable but complicated project. In a similar vein, lots of us buy bolt-loads of novelty fabric and dozens of adorable buttons for which we never find a venue. Many times, these purchases are just too juvenile or outrageous to use in ordinary projects.

Ami Simms has come up with the perfect solution for those of us who collect novelty fabrics to keep our inner child happy and who also want to do something wonderful for the real children in our lives-- Picture Play Quilts. The author of How Not to Make a Prize Winning Quilt, this clever quilter and writer has come up with a fun, fabulous and do-able set of designs that will please fabric artists of all ability levels. These quilts would also make great gifts for primary grade teachers, or could even be a good group project for school fund raisers. Even those individuals with no sewing skills could locate and donate a favorite conversational print, or contribute a special photograph to be transferred to fabric. To make the fussy cutting of prints and photos easier, ten appropriately sized plastic templates (with precut windows) are included with the book.

The designs range from the very simple to the more complex (there's the world's first interchangeable quilt which features 144 button-on patches for the ultimate in variation), with clear but entertaining directions for completion. And speaking of buttons, these quilts provide a home for those novelty buttons we all purchase and then store in drawers for years. To add to the pre-quilt preparation fun, Ami offers an on-line fabric swap and a source for assorted conversational buttons at www.pictureplayquilts.com Not only does the maker have the wonderful joy of collecting and utilizing all that fun fabric, but the end product is then usable as an ongoing amusement for the recipient. In addition to providing us with directions for fifteen imaginative quilts, Ami supplies two dozen games and activities to sharpen the skills and tease the senses, utilizing the varying fabric patches. We have the ideal children's quilts here: variety, personalization, educational value, self expression, socialization and just plain fun for children of all ages.

Add that to difficulty levels that are within the reach of most sewers, and Picture Play Quilts may just be this year's best choice for mothers and grandmothers!

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