Quilting on the Go by Jessica Alexandrakis is full of "English paper piecing projects you can take anywhere." Since English Paper Piecing (EPP) can make use of such small pieces, I appreciated the section on "Making the most of scraps." Other tips I found useful were the pages dedicated to creating a travel tool kit, since having a dedicated set of tools to grab sounds much smarter than my current flurry of racing around the house, desperately trying to find needles, templates, and everything else needed for EPP.
Although it seems like many people I know (myself included) utilize EPP for hexies, I feel like I know fewer people that use other shapes such as triangles, diamonds, half hexies, squares, rectangles, and more shown in this book. Seeing templates in these less common shapes along with projects made from them is inspiring and opened my eyes to some new possibilities with EPP
I felt that the resource section at the back of the book was especially good, with several pages of black and white quilt patterns that could be copied and used for color placement practice, and a plethora of actual size templates.
Several projects caught my eye, especially the Tanuki Striped Throw. This throw is made from a puzzle piece combo of two diamonds and two squares stitched together to make a larger unit. I love the creativity of combining these different shapes together!
Glorious Patchwork by Kaffe Fassett is full of the vibrant colors and patterns that we expect from Kaffe, set in fun quilt layouts that enhance the beauty of the fabrics used.
Glorious Patchwork is arranged by color schemes, and although I usually think brights when I think Kaffe, it was fun to see a variety of color palettes represented here. The book starts with a section on pastels, and even though I wouldn't normally consider myself a pastel fan, I really enjoyed these quilts. One of my favorites from this chapter, the Herringbone Baby Quilt, actually uses leftover pieces from one of the quilts earlier in the book, and I really love that "use it up" philosophy.
Following chapters are Circus, Leafy Gardens, Antique Stone, and Renaissance. Of course I was drawn to the brighter colors of the Circus palettes, but it was also fun to check out all the color schemes and the different patterns represented. This book also contains many templates in the back as well as patterns for foundation paper piecing and other quilting resources.
Dare to be Square Quilting by Bob Davis has the perfect combination of whimsical design and tips for efficient piecing. The quilts are designed for beginners and every pattern in the book is made up of squares and rectangles. I love the owl on the cover as well as the skull pattern (called Basket Case), but I also really enjoyed the more abstract pattern Two Left Feet, which consists of lines that seem to double back on themselves to form open squares and rectangles. Moving through the book, there are also patterns for a whimsical stag and a giant alarm clock.
After the section on quilts there are smaller projects which, due to their construction of squares and rectangles, have a great modern, clean look to them. Pillows, table runners, placemats, and aprons are represented, as well as one of my favorite projects in the book--the Gridlock Grocery Getter shopping bag. This would be a great book for anyone starting out or who likes to make fun, pictorial quilts, or anyone who likes the clean lines and negative spaces of modern quilting.
Modern Log Cabin Quilting by our very own Susan Beal is definitely a guild favorite and a great one for every quilter's library. This book celebrates a basic block and so many wonderful, creative layouts and alternate ways to use it.
Even though I've had the chance to review this book before, it was fun to read through it again to see what I've missed. The Modern Cross pattern that graces the cover is a beautiful classic for full sized or baby quilts that is a great pick whenever you need a simple, beautiful quilt. One thing I was excited to find was a pattern for a t-shirt quilt. Several people have been asking me lately about them, and besides a vague idea about the need for interfacing, I really had no idea where to start!
Another quilt that jumped out at me was the Northwest Modern Quilt. It does look very modern with its large expanses of negative space, but after examining how it was put together (starting with a rectangle rather than a center square) it surprised me what a different look it was from a "typical" log cabin block. Besides a great variety of quilts, Modern Log Cabin Quilting also contains patterns for napkins, coasters, pot holders, pillows, and more.
While not solely a quilting book, Martha Stewart's Encyclopedia of Sewing and Fabric Crafts has a wealth of information that any fabric lover would enjoy, in a large, beautiful, coffee table worthy book.
At almost 400 pages, this book contains so many tips and patterns on a range of sewing related topics such as fabric, setting up a sewing area, applique, embroidery, quilting, dyeing, and fabric printing. The books is organized with chapters on Basic Techniques followed by projects arranged alphabetically (to name just a few--animals, bags, clothing curtains, flowers, pets, pot holders, slippers, wall decor). As you might imagine, the back of the book is full of tips and techniques. There is even a cd included that contains templates and patterns.
It's pretty difficult to pick a favorite out of so many patterns, but two projects that I really like are the Cross Stitch Silhouette tote and the Bird Embroidered Pillows. I like that the needlework techniques are shown incorporated into finished projects (tote bag and pillow for these two). Sometimes when finishing a needlework project I can't think of anything to do but frame it and put it on the wall, so I enjoy these kinds of useful patterns and ideas.
Thank you so much to Potter Craft for providing these great retreat door prizes, and good luck to all of our attendees!