IT’S BOOK REVIEW SATURDAY! November 29, 2014

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IMAGINE QUILTS

11 Patterns from Everyday Inspirations 

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Throughout the book, designer/author/blogger Dana Bolyard, whets our appetite with hints and directives that focus on her creative process and inspiration. I loved them but . . .

While I get the feeling that Bolyard is a wealth of some solid know-how when it comes to finding her inspirational Q-spot for designing out of the box, designing based on day-to-day life and memories, playing with your art, evaluating your stash, etc. none of these subject gems go into any great detail whatsoever. There simply isn’t enough of it and I felt bummed out.

Rather than really jumping in, head first, to allow we mortal quilters to pick her creative brain, the short, motivational/inspirational tips she shares are tossed aside, like a scrap over Eleanor Burns’ shoulder, for a quilt pattern, a few of which could have easily been dropped from the book, to allow this designer to soar as a creative guru, inspire us all, and not pigeonhole her into the same old quilt pattern book format.

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As for the projects, I enjoyed most of them. Posy Patrol, the cover quilt, was my favorite, but I also liked Elephant Parade a lot (above) (a quilt which she explains came from shopping from her stash – a great idea but here’s a case where I believe that Bolyard could have really taken us someplace, like how to shop from your stash, not just suggest it. Instead, based on the singular pattern and color way offered, we had better hope we, too, bought too many grey fabrics). The Scribble quilt was perfectly colored, and the scrappy Warm and Cool Log Cabin could be a fun exercise for those who want to try choosing piecing colors only by tone.

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A few of the quilts were so modern and so minimalist, that after all these years of the modern movement variations, I wasn’t particularly as moved or impressed as I might have been 4 or more years ago. Although these quilts, Kite Strings (above), Zip It, and Free Wheeling (above), are totally pretty, nicely designed, and pleasant enough, they give off a kind of “I’ve already seen that” vibe.

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While not my personal taste, I think that the Princess Crowns quilt (above) shares a good reminder about moving out of our design comfort circles. The quilted Ampersand (below), is also a welcome nod to a different design gathering technique but, boy, do I dislike the quilt.

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The back end of the book covers the technical aspects of patchwork like choosing fabric, how to cut fabric, how to piece, etc., typical pattern book fare, but it feels heftier for some reason.

Look, with a little more elbow grease this book could have been a mega inspirational wonderland. If editors don’t think Dana Bolyard is up to the task herself, then give her a hand. Clearly, she knows what she’s doing, and I want to see more of her behind the scenes process and motivation. I believe she can inspire quilters. I hope she gets the chance. 

I reviewed a softcover copy of this book. 

PHOTOS:  The projects are clear enough but only 4 of  the 11 quilts are styled photos. The rest are simple flat shots.  It’s really the quilting that sells the majority of the minimal designs.  I wish we could have had close ups of the actual quilting to mimic or to help our long armers along. 

PATTERN INSTRUCTIONS:  Clear and concise. 

PROJECTS: Many will love these quilts but, for me, t the strength of the book is not necessarily the quilt designs, but what inspired the quilt projects — and there simply isn’t enough of that.  

I Like this Book! 

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EASY CROCHETED HATS AND SCARVES

15 Pretty Projects

 

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I love this little Easy Crocheted Hats and Scarves book. One, it’s only November and the US has been hit with a polar vortex weeks ago (so you need hats and scarfs in a hurry), and two, while the patterns are simple, the end results don’t look like your third graders first lessons in crochet.

Know that this publication technically a book because it’s looks like a book, but it’s also bound like a magazine (folded pages with staples holding it together), then again, you might think of it as a glorified leaflet with a sturdy cover, but who cares? It’s packs 15 designs into its 32 pages along with a pattern for each.

This is not a book for a first timer to learn from. It’s not a beginner tutorial book. It’s photos and patterns with just a couple of educational illustrations. Not only should you have a working knowledge of how to crochet, but you should know how to read a pattern, too. Just because they’re “easy” patterns doesn’t mean the book comes with a vile of holy water and a CD on modern crochet miracles.

Each of the featured patterns is so good that it was difficult for me to choose a hands down favorite. They are all different and all pretty. OK, feet to the fire? I love the more formal Sea Treasure Stole (an indoor dressy scarf). I also liked the Lovely Lace scarf, the Paris scarf and hat, and the Marseille scarf and hat set. If you’re a granny square glutton, like I am, there is even something in here for you!

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This is not a book for a first timer to learn from. It’s not a beginner tutorial book. It’s photos and patterns with just a couple of educational illustrations. Not only should you have a working knowledge of how to crochet, but you should know how to read a pattern, too. Just because they’re “easy” patterns doesn’t mean the book comes with a vile of holy water and a CD on modern crochet miracles.

 

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 Each of the featured patterns is so good that it was difficult for me to choose a hands down favorite. They are all different and all pretty. OK, feet to the fire? I love the more formal Sea Treasure Stole (an indoor dressy scarf). I also liked the Lovely Lace scarf, the Paris scarf and hat, and the Marseille scarf and hat set. If you’re a granny square glutton, like I am, there is even something in here for you!

I reviewed a softcover copy of this book.

PHOTOS:  Basic stand and shoot models.  Can you say Sears Catalog

PATTERN INSTRUCTION: Nothing special.  If you can’t crochet or read a crochet pattern, you won’t find help here. 

PROJECTS: I really like them.  Each is different and fairly simple. 

I Really Like this Book!

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THEN AND NOW QUILTS

Yesterday’s Inspiration. Today’s Techniques. Tomorrow’s Treasures.

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The one thing I love about Kansas City Star books is that you always know what you’re going to get. There is a consistency that is familiar and comforting and a publishing company where traditional quilt designs rule. That’s what drew me to grab Then and Now Quilts by Joyce Dean Gieszler from my pile of books to review this week.

Now, in terms of quilting and patchwork philosophy, author/designer/teacher Joyce Dean Gieszler, and I are polar opposites. In the books foreword, she tells us,

“I’ve always used speed piecing methods for sewing and cutting quilts. I love to chain piece, speed cut, and keep moving . . . the more quilts the better! It’s not about production though, for me, the process is as important as the finished quilt.” 

Umm. Yeah, well . . . not a process I subscribe to, but to each their own.

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I really like the traditional quilts that Gieszler choose to include in her book – time honored, unfussy, straightforward, using classic fabric choices. Her piecing methods, on the other hand, are not so traditional, decidedly more 2014 mainstream, and suggests using specialty rulers. If you were to make each of the quilts in Then and Now Quilts (and you very well may want to make most of them . . . I know that I wouldn’t be able to resist), it is suggested you use:

  • Tri-Recs Tool Set; about $15
  • Large Kaleido-Ruler: about $15
  • 4 ½ and/or 6 ½ Easy Angle Ruler, about $8 and $12 respectively
  • Companion Angle Ruler; about $13
  • Other sizes of rulers that are more common and should be in your stash already.

I appreciate “speed cutting.” I get it. But none of these quilts are so difficult that they can’t be done with a simple ruler, a few templates (which are wisely provided in the book), and rotary cutter.

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As for the quilts, there are 9 pattern designs featured. I love the choice of using a brown and plum combination in the very traditional Plum Cinnamon Jam quilt, which uses a variation of the Road to Oklahoma block. The kaleidoscopic Grandma’s Surprise quilt is wonderful, colorful, scrappy, and inspired by a block first published in The Ohio Farmer in 1894. The Diamond Cross quilt is another classic beauty composed using a block published in The Kansas City Star in 1937. I liked Dutch Friendship a lot, made in civil war repros but could be made using a jellyroll. My favorite in the book is Grandmother’s Jewels, a pieced quilt with applique overlays – totally something to try – but, I have to admit, I loved the pattern illustration better than the finished example, as the extra sets of appliqued diamonds make the quilt (but, like everything else, that’s just my opinion.)

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The pattern instructions are clear and plentiful. There is even a tutorial included for using the suggested specialty rulers, although none of these quilts are difficult for the confident beginner, and like their predecessors, these designs will stand the test of time.

I reviewed a softcover copy of this book.

PHOTOS:  No styling, just flat shots of projects. 

PATTERN INSTRUCTIONS:  Given the reader may be  learning how to use speciality rulers, the patterns are a little more in depth than the run of the mill patchwork pattern for a basic quilt. Take your time, work through the patterns, the designer’s way, and you just might learn a thing or two.

PROJECTS:  Very traditional quilts and solid.

I Like this Book.

  • Author: Joyce Dean Gieszler
  • Publisher: Kansas City Star
  • ISBN: 978-1611691344
  • Form:  Softcover
  • Pages: 80
  • $29.99
  • Ask your local shop owner or independent bookstore to order your copy, FIRST. 
  • Amazon link: http://smile.amazon.com/Then-Now-Quilts-Yesterdays-Inspiration/dp/1611691346/ref=sr_1_1_twi_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1417111823&sr=1-1&keywords=then+and+now+quilts

 

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NECKTIE QUILTS REINVENTED

16 Beautifully Traditional Projects

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Necktie quilts have been around forever and so have necktie quilt books, but this book, Necktie Quilts Reinvented, by Christine Copenhaver, hits the concept out of the park.

Before we even get to the projects, the first 27-pages of the book are instructional basics — cleaning, washing the ties or not debate, deconstructing and lining removal, pressing and organizing your ties, along with lessons in color theory (I loved the breakdown of color and pattern meanings in neckties), pattern, scale, stripes, interfacing, trimming, and using other kinds of fabric along with the neckties in a quilt. There is so much more than I have mentioned and I hadn’t even gotten to the actual quilted projects book and I was impressed. A quilter would feel ready to move forward using deconstructed neckties in her quilting designs confidently.

Of course, that kind of instruction and breakdown is what is expected of a pattern book using different from the norm fabrics (and also what don’t often get due to cost cutting page counts), but what really strikes my fancy is the opportunity for quilters to move from their cotton comfort zones into more challenging-to-sew fabrics, like silks and even acrylics. I myself, am cotton weary so this comes at a great time (I may not actually make a necktie quilt but the book absolutely inspires me to move in a different direction).

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The patterns featured are traditional but luscious. You can almost see the shimmer of the silk jump from the photographs. The wonkiness of some of the quilts only adds to their visual interest. The pattern instructions are very comprehensive, even as exact as to where to fuse your interfacing on your deconstructed tie, various ways to piece a Y-seam, keeping your interfacing straight, etc. Wow!

I tried, you guys, really I did, but I have nothing bad to say about this book. Nothing. OK, maybe that I have lived through the first trend of necktie quiltmaking — but is reinvention of a concept so bad? I don’t think so, especially if your reinvention of an idea rocks!

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I love the 16 projects, the tutorials, and the layout. I appreciate all of the hard work that Christine Copenhaver put into her wonderful instruction.

Well done.

I suspect I’ll be seeing a lot more necktie quilts hanging as I travel the country next year.

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I reviewed a digital copy of this book.

PHOTOS:  Nothing special flat shots of each project.

PATTERN INSTRUCTION:  Very comprehensive and thorough.

PROJECTS:  You’ve seen these quilts before but probably not created with satins and silks. Each is a learning a experience and visual treat.

I LOVE this Book!

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THE LITTLE THINGS IN LIFE

Quilted Projects to Brighten Your Day

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This is a book for quilters but not a quilting book as it is full of sweet little projects for your home or personal use. Written and designed by, Elissa and Heather Willms, the duo have compiled a book of easy to master designs like aprons, cord wraps, tablet covers, wine bottle bags, placemats, tea towel embellishments, coffee cup wraps, a table runner, etc.

While none of these projects are totally unique, I have posted free pattern variations of all of them on my own blog over the years, I like that all of these projects are grouped together in one book, and I enjoy the color and design choices that were chosen for each of the ideas.

The mix of small projects in the books cover the abilities of a newbie to a seasoned sewist, and an age range from young to ancient like me. As a parent of a 20-something, I can’t imagine that group salivating to make a pretty apron, cord wrap, or tea cozy, while on the other hand, I can’t see someone my age (39, by the way) rushing to our machines to make a variety of coffee cup cozies, or the journal cover. Of course, there are the super cool – wine bottle covers – perfect for the holiday hostess gifts – and a project both younger and older sewists should be sewing for ‘party season.’

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The Willms’ Lunch to Go lunch bag design is fantastic and would be a great carryall for embroidery or small handwork projects and not just for a wrapped baloney sandwich on rye. I also really appreciate the work and design elements that incorporate some hand embroidery, simple embellishments, and simple appliqué used in the various projects.

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The instructions are clear and uncrowded. Because the projects are small, you won’t have to break the bank on fabric purchases. Honestly, you can probably whip up most or all of the projects in the book just shopping from your own stash. As an added bonus, the designers give several examples for color choices on several of their projects rather than the typical “Here’s what we got, good luck if you don’t like it” examples. The photography is very nicely done, so props to Kansas City Star for their effort on that. Good photography always elevates a book’s content for me.

Off to make some wine bottle bags . . . that is, once I’ve polished off a bottle or two beforehand.

I reviewed a digital copy of this book.

PHOTOS:  Top knotch

PATTERN INSTRUCTION:  Unfussy, clear and uncrowded 

PROJECTS: Not much new, but nice choice of colors and includes a welcome addition of appealing appliqué, embroidery, and embellishment. 

I Like this Book!

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** IN THE INTEREST OF FULL TRANSPARENCY:  Publications (bound and eBooks) are sent to me for ‘review’ by the publisher –  it doesn’t mean I’m going to like them – it means I’m just going to be honest (but what else is new?).

end-dec-1The Books I Love and Won’t Part With 

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VINTAGE NOTQUITEVINTAGE OLD ANTIQUE OUTOFPRINT USED

GODHARIS OF MAHARASHTRA, WESTERN INDIA

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This is not a pattern book, but a coffee table book that features the godharis of Maharashtra in western India. Written in both French and English, the book is a photographic nirvana of Indian godhari quilts, their history, and the techniques being passed from generation to generation. I simply cannot turn a page without seeing something different than the last time I looked through the book, or being inspired and awestruck by the godhari patterns, quilting, simplicity, and color. As we are taken on a journey of the different regions of Maharashtra and shown examples of regional godharis, quilting, and designing, as I know it, changes for me.

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Published by Quiltmania Editions, the quality of this hardcover book is noteworthy, and beside the exciting visuals, the informational text is both welcome and educational (always an added bonus to any visually stimulating book).

Given I will most likely never get to western India in my lifetime, I cherish this book and the inspirational gifts it gives me. When I feel creatively stuck or bored, leafing through Godharis of Maharashtra gives me a boost only a couple of Ritalin hits might, otherwise. I feel energized and productive.

Amusingly, these original designs are what we patchworkers are now calling “modern quilting,” yet even our modern quilts have a pristine fussiness about them that is trumped by the purity of the godhari.

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I may be buried with this book.

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  • Author:  Geeta Khandewa
  • Publisher: Quiltmania Editions
  • ISBN: 978-2-916182-88-9
  • Form: Hardcover
  • Pages: 197
  • $48.55  (36 €)
  • Ask your local shop owner or independent bookstore to order your copy, FIRST. 
  • Buy it link (there is also a short video of some of the book at this link):  http://www.quiltmania.com/product/L/GB/1522/godharis-of-maharashtra.html

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WANT YOUR BOOK REVIEWED?

All you have to do is send a hardcopy or a digital version of your book to:

Mark Lipinski
Pickle Road Studios, LLC
13 Pickle Road
Califon, NJ 07830

LUCKY YOU!

When I began The Slow Stitching Movement I asked stitchers to reduce their impact on the planet and their creative psyches by letting go of the stash of books, papers, patterns, and tools that they have been collecting over many years and haven’t used.  I have been preaching to myself.  So, in an effort to put my money where my mouth is, to open my creativity by being less boxed in by ‘stuff’, I have begun posting boxes of book and fabric bundles on eBay for various charities.

Here’s how I price the packages . . . I research the amount an individual could buy each of these books, pre-owned, at their lowest online price.  I total the price, split it in half and add Priority Mail Flat Rate Shipping.  Then I add a medley of fabrics from my stash as a bonus.   Just click on the links (the title of each grouping) to see a list of the books in each bundle.   These are the bundles from my personal book stash now up for auction on eBay:

9 New Arts & Crafts Books! Paper! Beading! Jewelry! Quilt Design! Plaster! etc.

$_57

50 Traditional Fat Quarters! Priority Shipping Included!

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50 Traditional/Modern Fat Quarters. Priority Shipping Included!

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15 1-yard cuts – Martha Negley Fabric PLUS Bold And Beautiful Artful Quilts

$_57 $_1

14 Great Quilting Books & 24 Fat Quarters ! Lowest Price! Free Shipping!

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KNITTING!  CROCHET!  CROSS STITCH!  NEEDLEPOINT! WEAVING! QUILTING!

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For well over 2 years, I have been posting up to 20 links per day or every other day, on the Mark Lipinski’s Fan Pageon Facebook. Of course, in Facebook’s never ending quest to make lots of money, Facebook seems to have abandoned their mission of a real social networking site and it has become more about Facebook revenue.

Several months ago, Facebook, without warning, had implemented a new business model. As a result, the vast majority of “LIKErs” who have been faithful readers of this Fan Page have been blocked from receiving my posts, time and time again, from getting all or a few of the postings onto their timeline feed.

The reason is, Facebook would like pages like, Mark Lipinski’s Fan Page, to pay money every day, and on every post, in order to advertise and lure readers like you, onto the Fan Page.

With out “BOOSTING” a post, only about 5% of people who clicked LIKE on the Fan Page are actually seeing anything I post — and it could be random – sometimes you get a post, and sometimes not. Basically, it sucks for all of us. I am finding that we are all better served if I posted my tips, ideas, links, and jokes, etc. to my blog. You can subscribe to my blog (only if you wan to) and get an email each time I post a grouping of ideas, links, etc.

I AM NOT shutting down Mark Lipinski’s Fan Page on Facebook and you are welcome to follow me there, too. What I am doing is putting everything that used to be on the Fan Page individually onto my blog, AND there will be a daily link to the idea blog on the Fan Page, just as there were multiple links to the various blogs that I’ve always linked to in the past. It’s not that different, really. It will save me a lot of time, and guarantee those who want to see the creative posts will actually get to see them. And Facebookers, will STILL have to click on “GET NOTIFICATIONS” in your Facebook Settings if they want to see what I post on Facebook (sometimes that works, but not all of the time).

Actually, my new model gives you at least TWO ways to get all of the ideas, etc. PLUS you can PIN them and they will be TAGGED so you can find them again in the search bar even years later. – through the FACEBOOK FAN PAGE and YOUR CHOICE (not mandatory) to subscribe to the blog and get email postings that way.

 

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3 Comments on “IT’S BOOK REVIEW SATURDAY! November 29, 2014”

  1. Sally Maxwell
    November 29, 2014 at 8:26 PM #

    Mark! What are you doing to me?!! How’m I supposed to keep my vow of abstinence regarding new book purchases when you make the reviews so tempting? I WANT that book about neckties…and seeing as how I have my husband’s neckties all neatly laundered and ready to go, I think I should get it. I mean over 25 years of neckties just waiting for the right project and here it is. You’re just testing me, right?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. November 29, 2014 at 10:10 PM #

    I want to help your charity giving – I have placed my bids. If I get outbid, at least the charities will get more money. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. nanmags
    November 29, 2014 at 10:47 PM #

    Hey Mark–Another great book review Saturday! I’m on a book buying fast at the moment, but some glimpses of the Geeta Khandewa book have left me in awe! Can see why you cherish that book–do love especially the work in the first 2 photos. I’m in the midst of making Christmas pressies–sewing my brains out. I refuse to go out and do much shopping. Need to get back to making a quilt very soon or I might go bonkers! Anyway–enjoyed your blog as usual!

    Liked by 1 person

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