Books for Quilters!
Number Thirty * February 15, 1999
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BOOK REVIEWS: Cathedral Windows and Paper Piecing
Breaking Traditions: Cathedral
Windows Quick Method Quilt
Reviewed by Lynn Holland
More than four years ago, I started a cathedral windows quilt. Inspired by Pauline Speiks, an eighty-something- year-old instructor who was a hand-sewing purist, I began with twenty yards of muslin and a pack of John James needles. During the class, Pauline shook her head and confided that "some folks actually sew the first two ends of the square together by machine." Somewhere after the first few rows of squares, I stooped to chain-sewing the ends of many seven-inch squares to speed up the process. Then about the halfway point, I read online about a method to allow the machine sewing of the center seam, and added that secret to my repertoire. Now, too far into the project to abandon it, I discover the aptly named Breaking Traditions technique that lets you do it all by machine. Had I found this book four years ago, I would have been sleeping under my quilt for a couple of Christmases by now. However, those of you who yearn for the cathedral windows glory without the agony of making millions of tiny hand stitches can benefit from this nifty method.
If you're into strict definitions right now you're probably thinking, "Cathedral windows isn't a real quilt," and you're right. This technique consists of folding and sewing muslin squares to make a four-layered frame for insets of colored fabric. There is no batting, no traditional sewing through all layers to hold them together. But be forewarned-- a cathedral windows quilt is no lightweight coverlet. Someone once compared hers to chain mail. (Perhaps this is why the authors of "Breaking Traditions" don't give instructions for a size bigger than full).
Written by Susan T. Fisher and Kimberly Nappier, this leaflet-style publication is designed to minimize confusion. First, there is an overview of the project, giving definitions of the terms used in the instructional text. There are charts to guide the process, and the diagrams are very clear and well labeled. I appreciated the clarity and number of the diagrams and what may seem to some to be redundant labeling, but I have great difficulty with spatial concepts (yes, left and right too, if you must know) and even I could follow these diagrams.
This book assumes nothing, which I consider a plus when presenting a novel technique. Not everybody DOES actually know the very thing at which you may roll your eyes. Most possible pitfalls are discussed and critical points are emphasized. The authors have packed a lot into this twelve-page booklet, including two different methods for finishing your quilt, a chart so you can experiment with different color combinations, and instructions for a cathedral windows pillow. The only thing missing is information on the specifics for making quilts in queen- and king-size, and maybe some more specific tips on how to deal with the size and weight of the quilt once you get beyond the halfway point of the larger sizes. Although early in the instructions Susan and Kimberly mention that the quilt will be heavy, it occurs to me that wrestling a bed size quilt under a sewing machine may be a challenge.
So if you've been waiting to get
started on that cathedral windows quilt, this book may be
what you've been waiting for. You know, once I finish my
cathedral windows quilt, I'd like to try a grandmother's
flower garden. Susan and Kimberly, could you figure out
how to do that by machine by the year 2005?
Favorite Foundation-Pieced Minis:
Book II Miriam Neuringer
Reviewed by Christina Holland
I've lately become enamored of foundation piecing. Given the proper pattern, it's a remarkably easy technique to learn and the results can be incredible. But I've learned from experience that it's not at all easy to design one's own foundation block. It's kind of tricky to keep in mind both the overall look of the pattern and the order in which the pieces are to be stitched. So I, probably like many of you, have started to collect particularly interesting and fun foundation patterns. Miriam Neuringer's book "Favorite Foundation Pieced Minis: Book II" offers some very worthwhile additions to almost anyone's collection.
There are ten miniature quilt projects in this book. Only one is marked advanced; there are five intermediate projects and four easy. Which is actually a little bit misleading. "Angels at my Window," marked as easy, actually requires the same total number of pieces and has similarly tiny triangles in it as does "Outstanding in the Field", which is labeled intermediate. I have a feeling that the ease or difficulty of some of these patterns is rather subjective - we each have our own specialties and our own particular areas of stress when it comes to piecing.
The fact that there are ten projects hides the fact that some of them include several different patterns, which you can mix into your own quilt designs. The projects themselves are worthwhile, though, and appeal to a wide variety of interests. They feature cows (the author is from Texas), airplanes, flowers, coffee cups, angels, Santas, sailboats and bumblebees.
Reading through the book, you may have trouble deciding which quilt to try out first. Personally, I'm torn between "Safe at Last" and "Flowers and Bees." In the first, a cardinal perches at the entrance to his birdhouse, to the obvious intent interest of a cat sitting below. You have to piece the bird first, then insert that into the larger birdhouse pattern. The cat is a pretty simplified design - really only an outline. Quilting the cat's tail as shown, though, and the context of the quilt, makes it fairly clear. Also, the tulip border compliments the design, bringing out the cardinal's red very nicely. "Flowers and Bees" is pretty much what it sounds like, but made a little more whimsical by the quilting of the bees' circuitous flight paths. It includes one pattern for the bees, two patterns for the blossoms, and two stem and leaf patterns.
On the other hand, the "Sailboats" pattern is pretty easy and will fit in very well with some fish patterns I already have, for a marine-themed quilt I'm about to make.
While only brief instructions are given for each quilt project, the book does begin with a page of general directions on making and piecing foundations, including discussion of different foundation materials, and a few pages of step-by-step instructions, with color photos, using one of the simpler patterns, featuring airplanes, as an example. It's well done, although this is fundamentally not a how to foundation piece kind of book. It's a collection of favorite patterns, and it fills that role very well indeed.
Beautiful hand Dyed Fabric perfect for piecing, applique and pictorial quilts. Colors range from a sunrise spectrum of mauves, pinks, and golds to deep purples, blues and teals. Available in the following convenient packages:
Send a self addressed, stamped envelope for free samples and full price list or to order send check or money order to:
Jay Dee Designs
Cathedral Windows Quick Method Quilt
Quilt Retreats on the Olympic Peninsula
MY FAVORITE THIMBLE
Would you like to improve your hand quilting stitch
quality and quantity? Of course you would, and My
Favorite Thimble can help! My Favorite Thimble's tough,
colorful, rubbery surface grips the needle for wonderful
stitch control, and control means more stitches to the
THE CRAFT CONNECTION
THE QUILT BLOCK
We are a cottage industry located just outside of
Yosemite National Park. We specialize in clothing and
patterns for quilters and for people who love quilts.
Custom Embroidery and Screenprinting
HICKORY HILL QUILTS
The Feedsack Club is delighted to announce that it
will once again hold a conference concurrently with the
Quilters Heritage Celebration in Lancaster PA on April 8
- 10 1999.
SILVER DOLLAR SHEEP STATION
The MINI DUST-IT. Genuine sheepskin duster on a
6" stick that is perfect for picking up dust and
lint from your sewing machine and serger. Soft, beautiful
sheepskin won't scratch polished surfaces. Picks up the
lint and tiny threads; doesn't spread them around.
Prevents lint build-up. Inexpensive way to protect
expensive sewing machines and sergers. Fun and handy to
use. Also works great on the computer.
TVQ Winter SPECIAL! - (this offer is NOT on our web
Quilt Shop Service -- Discount Prices 20% off retail
on most items When you visit PineTree Quiltworks' website
catalog, don't forget to check out the Virtual Fabric
store, where fabric is discounted! With more than 2500
bolts on the floor, more fabric goes on the website
catalog each week, at prices 20% off retail.
Perfect Square's mother is pregnant and about to have
a new product. Perfect Triangle is due any day now.
Perfect Triangle is also a REUSABLE iron-on design but it
will make quarter square triangles instead of half-square
PCQuilt for Windows
PCQuilt for Windows is easy to learn and easy to use
quilting software. The block and the quilt are on the
same screen so you can see your quilt emerge as you
design and color your blocks. Combine blocks in a variety
of ways to see endless new designs. The program includes
all the features that have always made PCQuilt easy and
fun to use. Now with the new Windows version, PCQuilt
will help you estimate your yardage, print templates,
quilts and blocks, and has a friendly Windows interface
with easy to use toolbars. PCQuilt comes with a extensive
library of blocks, border, quilts, palettes and fabric
patterns. PCQuilt is also available for the Macintosh.
Look for PCQuilt at your local Husqvarna VIKING Dealer or
visit our website at http://www.pcquilt.com
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Editor and Publisher: Robert Holland, Decatur, GA
© 1998 by Robert Holland. All rights reserved. This file may not be reproduced in any form except to be printed out for the personal use of its owner without the expressed, written consent of the copyright holder.
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