Hump Day!

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My buddy Amy Buehler dropped off some old quiting titles the other day.  She knows that I collect them.  If they’re old, about quilting, then I want them.   I’ve seen the Grandmother’s Flower Quilts and the Blue Ribbon Quilts photocopied and sold on eBay.   I didn’t realize that they were copies until it was too late.   I should have read the fine print.  Anyway, I’m so happy to have the real original ones in my collection now.   

These two are hardback books.   It’s really funny to go through Michael James’ book to see the origins of where he came from.   The quilts, which were breakthrough at the time, are unremarkable and, what probably be considered beginner quilts now.  

       I think it’s always terrific to look back from where we came.  It’s really fun to pick up really old magazines and realize the struggle making a quilt was just 20 years ago!   Not to mention the hideous designs and color choices!  Oh, and you’ll get a real kick out of the prices of notions and things.   Amazing.  Of course, gas was 55-cents a gallon in June, 1974 which was shocking at the time!   Now, HAPPINESS truly is a full take of gas! 

I found this cross stitch kit in the sale rack at Barnes & Noble last week for about $5-bucks.   I love to cross stitch and it’s how I really began my quilting textile journey.  I still love cross stitch and am really partial to historical samplers and European kinds of needlework.    Between my love for both embroidery and quilting, I’m pretty sure I was born in the wrong century…then again, a man couldn’t get away with playing with those kinds of things in an earlier time.   Women’s lib has helped us all. 

   

 

Here’s a little tease:  Cross stitch designer extraordinaire, Ursula Michael, will have an original and exclusive Quilter’s Cross Stitch Pattern published in the Sept/Oct issue of Quilter’s Home.    So get your needles and floss ready!

In a Quandry….and speaking of books….and such  

I’m a bit disappointed in the the content of most of the quilting, sewing and crafting books that pass my desk.   Many of them are real dogs and rehashes of the same old thing.   Every once in awhile something truly breathtaking and remarkable happens in a book and I get totally excited about it, but that doesn’t happen all that often, especially in light of the enormous amount of books that are published on these subjects each year.  

Now, don’t get me wrong, I think that the publishing houses are doing their absolute best and are looking for the next ‘sliced bread’ like everyone else, but often times you can see,and feel like a book was ‘settled on’ that either isn’t quite ready to be a book yet but may have great book potential.    I totally get it.  I am often at the place with the articles I write or get to edit. 

Here’s the issue:   In the whole history of quilting and sewing magazines there has never been a negative (or what I think is a truly honest) reviewof a quilting/craftingsewing books.  If the book sucks, then the editor just won’t include it in the new books section, pandering to the advertiser or playing the “good girl” as to not hurt feelings.  I think that is a terrible disservice to both the magazine readership, and the industry at large.   So, I want to start doing REAL reviews of ALL kinds of books, not just the slam dunk good ones.  

What do you think?  Is it necessary?  Is it too negative?  Would you read them?  What’s your perspective on it?

Hotter ‘n Hell!

Oh my goodness, it’s been so hot here on Pickle Road.   Even the with the rain storms I’m still sweating putty balls! Of course that raises the question:  If I’m absolutely in HELL who would be the two people that I’m forced to sit between for all of eternity?   

Well, one of them has to be poor Amanda Overmeyer, the gravel-voiced, can’t-carry-a-tune-in-a-bucket, American Idol los-ah.   That would be hell, especially if she sings. 
  Amanda Overmeyer

Of course my H-E-Double-Hockey-Sticks neighbor on the other side of me just has to be none other than the world’s very worst best friend and confidante, Linda Tripp.    No matter how you might feel about Bill and Monica — with friends like this one, who needs enemies? 

  Linda Tripp

Now, granted, just looking at that face for all of those months on TV might have been hell enough for me AND for her on earth so she might get to bypass the real thing….

I, on the other hand, know I’ll be feeling this insane June heat for the rest of all time right between the two of them. 

 Brownstone Anniversary

Last weekend I attended the Brownstone Quilt Guild’s 25th Anniversary.   It’s ironic that I guild that I belong to was started the year I was born . . .

The Brownstone Quilters are a group from Northern NJ, a little less than an hour from Pickle Road, across from the shores of Manhattan! 

 

It was a great potluck luncheon, with more food than I’d ever seen at a quilting event — EVER!  And you know we can eat, baby! 

   

 Besides the food (which I could barely tear myself away from) was a gigantic Tricky-Tray raffle auction.   They had small quilts, bundles or fabrics and books, floor stand hoops, just amazing things.  You bought strips of tickets and placed your tickets into the jars of the items you wanted to win.   Of course, I won nothing!   NOTHING, out of the hundreds of things that were there!  

 

  

    I really wanted this finished cross stitch but some broad in the middle of the room won it.  So much for my stars being aligned. 

  Now, I sat with Barb Vedder and Mary Vaughan whom I knew from the Garden State Quilt Guild.   We had a lot of laughs but here’s the rub —

  That damned Barb won a ton of things!  Here she is, smugly showing off her winnings.   At least 5 bundles of things.   Humph!

Speaking of Barb, try to remember back to the time when nothing came between Brooke and her Calvins…

Yes, a time even before Andre Agassi. . .

Barb was wearing a top that looked like it was vintage from that period, made from the designer of all things 70’s, Missoni.  Remember the name?  

Here is Barb in her Missoni-esque top.   Then here is a vintage Missoni scarf that I found on eBay.  

  

Missoni  

That got Barb and Mary and I reminiscing about the 70’s designer, Vera!  Remember her?    Here’s some of her stuff, but not the classic Vera that I recall. 

Vintage Vera  

  Vintage Vera again

One of the reasons this came up was because while I was at Quilt Market in Portland, I was amazed at how many fabric designers are ripping off Vera!   Some fabric looks almost identical to the original! 

   When you join Brownstone, you get a BIG SISTER.   This is my big sister, Dori,  who is a laugh riot! 

    Kim Daehnke here, is the First VP, organizer of the event and part of the PICKLE POSSE.   Kim turned me onto a product and a tip that I’ll share with you — in an upcoming Quilter’s Home.  Shhhhhh!  It’s top secret!  🙂

There was a little quilt challenge.   Look at the turnout for that!   

One of my favorites of the challenge was from this lady who says that she NEVER needs to win a ribbon because she’s already won them all for this quilt — of course, she was the judge!  LOL

Shop Hopping

On my way home, I had to stop at a local shop, Cozy Quilt Shop, in River Edge, New Jersey.   It’s a fairly new shop and a very nice one.   Too bad it wasn’t there when I lived in Fort Lee….well, maybe that was too close for my credit card’s comfort! 

The owner, Denise, and staff are all really friendly and my friend Janice Jamison teaches there.   

 

   

   OK, I coveted this store decoration.  It’s a quilt but it’s all cut out of light paper and mounted on darker paper before it was framed.   Can you tell I was in a framed quilt themed mode that day?

The store had TONS O’Buttons!  

  This is a quilt that Janice is going to teach there in a few weeks. 

  Regina (in blue – she’s a nun, but a hip one), Denise (the owner) and I can’t remember who the worker bee chick in the melon is!  Sorry 😦

Anyway, if you’re near River Edge, you have to stop in! 

 Is Big Brother Watching You?

Apparently there has been a  a study in which researchers secretly tracked the locations of 100,000 people to determine their movement patterns using their cellphones.

Whiel the study is illegal in the USA due to invasion of privacy issues, this study was conducted in an undisclosed industrialized nation. “The subjects were chosen at random out of a pool of 6 million from a mystery wireless provider and tracked based on cell tower triangulation and other “tracking devices.”

That’s what I love about cell phone companies.  They can’t help you find your lost or stolen cellphones based on someone (other than you) using your cell number but they can track your movements for studies like this!   And so I say to the cellphone companies around the world who have been unwilling to find our lost and stolen cellphones:

 

FRIENDS AND FOES

Click on these links to see what friends and  foes are saying about me and or Quilter’s Home. 

Here’s a another report about the Brownstone Anniversay.  It’s Finally Over- our 25th anniversary celebration that is

The blogger liked Quilter’s Home but read the comments and how QH is described!  LOL  Good Morning Girls, Wow! How ’bout that storm last night?! Did

OOPS!  Someone who obviously had trouble with their subscription!  Quilty Mail Day

A professional announcement about a new CK MEDIA web site Creating Keepsakes to Launch New Community Website

Diane shows off her quilt show and talks about Marry a Quilter’s Son in QH More of the Quilt show

I guess I’m going to a show….but I’m not sure I remember making plans…. CALL ME!  a few random thoughts….

More from Diane’s Quilt Show….ELIQ’s quilt show

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19 Comments on “Hump Day!”

  1. BarbaraB
    June 11, 2008 at 6:06 PM #

    My pet peeve about quilting books is that they all think they have to include basic instructions on how to make a quilt from cutting the fabric to sandwiching for quilting. Unless they’ve got something unique to add, leave that sutff out and put in more meat! Another project or more gallery pages. The people who need basic instructions can buy a book or video designed just for teaching basic quiltmaking.

    Like

  2. BCQuilter
    June 11, 2008 at 7:30 PM #

    I think old quilting books are a hoot.

    I have picked up a few.. most are 1980’s… with a few late 70’s.

    I picked up one book, I thought was particularly interesting, and it looked to be of the same vintage as those above.

    The Standard Book of Quilt Making and Collecting – 482 Illustrations by Marguerite Ickis.

    I was impressed by the first few lines: “Almost every woman at one time or another has had the urge to quilt – many have the proud results in their bedrooms for all to see and admire. A great many more have felt that perhaps it was to difficult to attempt, too long and involved a process, and they didn’t know exactly how to go about it. For those women, the step-by-step instructions clearly illustrated in this book are planned to take all the doubts out of quilt making”. This passage could easily be in one of today’s books. It wasn’t until I started creating an electronic library listing of my books, that I noticed it was published in 1949.

    To be honest, I haven’t read through the entire book. There are some passages that I get a giggle out of, as it doesn’t hold today, but I could imagine it was “THE” thing to be concerned about in that era.

    Planning your quilt:
    – Consider the period (…if your suite is French Provencal…not look right covered with a sharp geometric Pennsylvania Dutch design)
    – Not too dramatic. The quilt should take its proper place in the whole decorative scene of the room… accent but never drown out the beauty spots about it…

    She even describes “Italian Quilting”, which we all know today as Trapunto.

    Ms. Ickis also has a chapter on how to make a quilt with a few terms. This term I have not seen in any quilting books, but have heard.

    Comforter: A quilt of one-colour material. It consists of three layers of cover, fluffy wool or cotton inner lining and the back. The three are quilt-stitched together, in a simple or elaborate design.

    Mark, I think a practical review of books is a good idea. I’m looking forward to reading your reviews!

    -Alice

    Like

  3. June 11, 2008 at 7:51 PM #

    Oh dear, your observations of quilt books are unfortunately, SPOT ON! You are just so right – same old thing, rehashed over and over. This is the exact reason that I now buy maybe one quilt book a year. I would LOVE to see honest reviews of quilting books from you. In fact, I would buy your magazine JUST to read such reviews. I think the bar needs to be raised by quilt book publishers – instead of just putting out any old book, they should consider books with higher quality projects and new techniques. Thank you for recognizing this problem – I thought I was the only one out there disenchanted with the quilting book industry!!

    Like

  4. Barb
    June 11, 2008 at 11:02 PM #

    Hi Mark,

    I’m a member of Quilters Unlimited and since the show ended Sunday have received 2 different emails stating you’ll be at next year’s show in mid May in Centerville, VA. Sooo, if you really didn’t book yourself here, that’s a problem b/c Quilters Unlimited thinks you did! I can help you get contact info for the show organizers if you need.

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  5. Sandi
    June 11, 2008 at 11:03 PM #

    I, too, love old quilting and needlework books and have a treasured, though small, collection of books and patterns. One of my favorite books is the “Farm Journal – Let’s Make a Patchwork Quilt” that you have pictured. I checked that book out of the library so often that it spent more time at my house than at the library! Regarding reviews of books, well, I’ll be honest – I rarely read reviews of any book or movie because someone else’s opinion of either might not be my opinion. I like to find out for myself. I love to ponder over the books at Barnes & Noble or the shelves of area libraries (and thrift shops for the old stuff!). Plus, if a marketing department wrote the review then it is done to sell the book and may not truly relfect what is in the book. Case in point – I recently planned to order a book called “Red and Green Quilts and the Women who made them”. I thought the book would be more photos and history and since I want to recreate a vintage look red and green quilt, that was what I wanted in the book. I happened upon it at a local quilt shop and thumbing through it, I quickly realized that it wasn’t what I expected at all and I was glad I had not ordered the book. I may purchase it one day but if I’m going to spend $25 for a book, I want it to be worth every penny. A couple of months ago I ordered a new crazy quilting book by Cindy Brick and that one was worth every penny and more as far as I was concerned. Now my nine year old grandson would have given it a different review. I walked into the living room this past Saturday and he was sitting on the sofa looking through the book. I was impressed. He thought some of the quilts were really pretty. I left and went upstairs and he followed a few minutes later. I asked if he got tired of looking at the book and he said “yeah, it was stuff for old ladies.” I laughed out loud!!! He is probably right but I do love my crazy quilting. And later we made a project for him that was to his liking – a totebag made from cruisin’ cars fabric that he can carry his transformers in!

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  6. June 11, 2008 at 11:26 PM #

    Yes, it’d be great to have “real world” book review criteria placed on quilting books. When there’s a negative review, would it also be possible to list a better alternative? For example when the latest greatest book on how-to applique really isn’t, how about you list the cat’s meow applique book instead.

    My pet peeve about the newer quilting books are when they make it seem like it’s a brand new pattern when in reality it’s a traditional block made in contemporary fabrics. They should list the name of the traditional block.

    On another note, how cool is it that you have a blog! Didn’t realize that until today. I’ll have to add you to my google reader. Cheers! 🙂

    Like

  7. Kim
    June 11, 2008 at 11:49 PM #

    Egads what a horrible pic 😦
    Thanks for coming Saturday – it was a hoot. Sorry you didn’t win anything but you were a good luck charm for our table 🙂
    Now remember the conversation on teenaged boys? Look at the day before on my blog- not only do I have the boy animal- I have the other species as well. Who is going to make her daddy crazy going out dressed like that for prom. :O

    Like

  8. Sue
    June 12, 2008 at 3:31 AM #

    I think honest quilt book reviews are a good idea, especially when I’m spending my hard-earned money. I want to know before I buy.

    I really, REALLY need to sell my house so I can move further north and join Brownstone. I like my current guild (I even work on the newsletter), but Brownstone just seems like more fun! I know we’ll be able to attend their workshops next year, so I’m looking forward to that.

    Sue in NJ

    Like

  9. June 12, 2008 at 3:43 AM #

    Yep, definitely go the honest book review path. This is the problem when you’re involved with a ‘warm fuzzy’ craft, everyone tries to keep that warm fuzzy feeling alive at all costs. If a book is crap then we should know!! 🙂

    Loving that paper cut quilt too!

    Like

  10. June 12, 2008 at 4:01 AM #

    Hi Mark,
    Yes, yes, yes on the REAL reviews! I would love to see that come true! I’ll tell you something else that pisses me off…in all these years of reading quilting magazines, I’ve always assumed that any book could be reviewed by a magazine-not so! We started publishing instructional dvds on free motion quilting a couple years ago and although we’ve had several reviews in a variety of quilting mags, I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been told not to even bother sending in a dvd to be reviewed until I purchased ad space at $1000-$2000 a pop! So, I guess we’re really talking about buying a review! Not only is this unfair, but I think it really squelches creativity and innovation.

    Like

  11. beth
    June 12, 2008 at 12:52 PM #

    Honest book reviews! What a thought! In essence, wouldn’t that weed out some of those reworked, unimaginative and uncreative quilting books out that keeping popping up and open up some sunlit spot for more new daring books for publishers to find? You would be doing the quilting world an invaluable service.

    beth

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  12. Bert in Rice, WA
    June 12, 2008 at 3:00 PM #

    Book reviews: Excellent idea.

    Suggestion: Include a synopsis of the content so I can judge if the book that isn’t perfect for you might be great for me (or my guild’s library). Is it targeted to hand piecing vs machine? Is the focus on technique or patterns? How many patterns? Rotary cut measurements or templates? If rotary cut, does it just give you dimensions of pieces A through XX, or is there an efficient layout of strip cuts and sub cuts? If templates, are they full sized or do you have to enlarge by 428%? Does the book lay flat if I need to scan/copy patterns? Does it require a special tool beyond the rotary cutter and generic ruler? Is a DVD included? A website for author contact/corrections? These are just a few of the things that come to mind after my first cup of coffee.

    Got get ’em, tiger.

    Like

  13. June 12, 2008 at 7:32 PM #

    A correction and apology to Sandi that reads this blog:
    I have to tell you thatI’m 51!!! I put that 60 year old thing in there, almost took it out and then was in a hurry. I thought to myself, hey! I’m on my way there. What I meant was not 60 in age but 60 in the way that women who have quilted forever seem to be quilt nazis at times. I’m in the same demographic, age group, and years of experience so I’m really pointing the finger at me and my peers. My point was that a winner needs to be more than something we have seen over and over and over again. It needs to be special in some way. I’m definitely not saying my quilts are special but I expect something from a winner. I expect the maker to be unique. The stipulation in the contest was “original patterns”. I really did not see that in the winners. And I was disappointed. If it is just a “cute baby quilt contest” that is something different. But unique says they are not the standard quilt put out by my demographic of quilter.

    You know what I mean I’m sure and I know what you mean. I’m sorry for saying 60. That isn’t really what I meant. I meant the quilters that turn their nose down on anything different. I love vintage and vintage is my style but I like to do something unique with my quilts and mix it up a little. I really don’t like cookie cutter quilts with all matchy matchy fabric anymore. I used to but it is boring to me at this stage of my quilting experience.

    I really am sorry. But I think now you will understand (at least I hope you do) more what I mean.

    thanks for your opinion, I am grateful for it

    nanette

    Like

  14. June 12, 2008 at 8:39 PM #

    Please, please, please give some honest reviews of quilting books. It is possible to say things that are critical without being unkind. Not all quilting books are for all quilters, what is wrong with a review that acknowledges that fact? Nothing. There are beginning quilting books that I really don’t want to waste my time with. There are others I want to skim but don’t want to spend my precious fabric money on. It would be nice to have another opinion and/or a preview of which ones I REALLY should be looking out for. Of course, this is also why I’ve been checking quilting books out from my library (thank you interlibrary loans) to review before purchase :0).

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  15. June 12, 2008 at 9:09 PM #

    I would appreciate honest reviews – Bert summed up quite a bit of what types of things should be looked at. I think consistency in what criteria are set for each review is important – to allow potential buyers to weigh and compare the pros and cons of any given book.

    That being said – I also recognize that delicate balance between reviews and advertising when you get a magazine involved, not to mention that many of us are reading reviews to decide where to spend our sometimes limited resources -and sometimes it does come down to book OR Quilter’s Home OR fabric. Unfortunately. Especially when we can submit/read reviews for free at various big online book retailers.

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  16. Ann A.
    June 14, 2008 at 5:45 PM #

    Honest reviews would be greatly appreciated as long as they are justified either way. Why is this great, why is this redundant, why is this one just plain stupid. I remember many people searching for the pattern of a quilt shown on the back of a Valorie Wells book that was not in the book. They all said it was the reason they bought the book.

    Connecting Threads used to show many pages from inside the books. They now show fewer pages and tiny pictures. BUT at least they mark when a photo was inspiration only.

    Things to point out:
    Do you need a specific ruler, notion or tool?
    I bought a bag pattern that required so many hard to find non-fabric things that it would cost $16 per bag plus $11 postage from 3 online sources without even factoring in fabric, yet it was touted as so simple and useful that you will want to make one in every color. Sent that sucker right back.

    Do they make things more difficult then they need to be? Can you assemble the design in units instead of blocks and avoid having that large area made up of 4 triangles when one solid patch is more pleasing to the eye?

    Do the patterns call for stupid fabric requirements? I have always liked the patterns from Glad Creations. They write wonderful directions, but, their fabric requirements don’t say that they are based on speedy cutting which makes you buy more fabric than is needed. The first one I made called for something like 1/3 yard cuts of 28 darks and 20 lights plus background and sashing. No way was I going to buy all that for a 5′ quilt. When I went through the cutting directions I was able to map out all those cuts from fat quarters and had a third of each FQ left over. Ended up being a nice quilt that busted stash. I shared this info with the quilt shop, as well as my map and the pattern then sold like hotcakes. So did a lot of fat quarters.

    How often does the publisher or author have to post critical corrections on their site? I know we all make mistakes, but some like Fons and Porter and Planet Patchwork seem to rarely get it right. They seem to live in the world of it doesn’t matter, not one of the occasional mistake.

    I have probably made only 3-4 quilts from printed patterns. They are mostly eye candy or jumping off points and I use my own easier ways to cut it and put it all together.

    Those of us making quilts today have a wealth of fabric and tools to choose from which is wonderful, but unfortunately this industry is going the way of many before it in that it is becoming a bottom line, bottom feeding conglomerate run by those who know very little about the doing. It’s like the designers who placed car ashtrays in the direct line of air vents which meant that ashes and sparks flew all over the place.

    Happy Birthday Eve – Ann

    Like

  17. Kevin Britton
    August 13, 2008 at 4:28 PM #

    Loved Missoni sweaters during the seventies even though I could never afford one. The quilt tie-in is that Kaffe Fassett was their sweater designer for years.

    As for “honest” reviews, I agree that “purchased” reviews are unfair and misleading. But, I guess you’d have to know the reviewer and their likes and dislikes to know if their feelings matched your own. I would love to see the list of books you think are groundbreaking or breathtaking. Maybe that would be a good thing for a book review section… list the reviewers top 10 favorite quilt books “at the time” or “for the year” or some other criteria.

    Love your blog and miss reading during the deadlines for the magazine.

    Kevin B.

    Like

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Wednesday….mmmmm… « The Quilting Pirate - June 12, 2008

    […] and I’m mentioned again at Mark’s blog….though I didn’t really need folks seeing that post of mine–the fan girl in me, […]

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  2. Catching up… « BCQuilter’s Weblog - June 15, 2008

    […] if I have any “refreshing and new” ideas. After reading Mark Lipinski’s blog about Book Reviews, I am more than ever reluctant to follow that adventure. If you haven’t discovered […]

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