Cotton and Wool Projects from the Quilted Crow Girls


Country Elegance, is a beautiful book full of beautiful, timely wool appliquéd patchwork patterns designed by Leonie Bateman and Deirdre Bond-Abel for That Patchwork Place. I have to admit that I fell in love with the projects in this book, all 12 of them. From an easy four-block appliquéd quilt to pieced and appliquéd pillows, wall hangings, framed wool appliqués, and table runners, there is nothing in these very traditionally colored and patterned pieces that doesn’t appeal to me. Yet, if you happen to be a modern quilter, just changing the colors of some of these quilts, a few design alterations, and you can have yourself something very modern looking.81u5K7+hOVL

If you are not comfortable or seasoned in working in both wool and cotton on your patchwork journey this might be the book to start you on your way. All of the appliqué is wool appliqué affixed to a cotton background. And so you’re not bored with just very traditional wool appliqué, you will also have an opportunity to learn and/or play with reverse appliqué, which is one of my personal favorites. For the traditional appliqué, wool pieces are glued and/or stapled into place so that it is secure for hand blanket stitching.

Appliquéing wool, in my humble opinion, is so much easier and less fussy than cotton appliqué. If you’ve based your entire opinion on appliqué on whether or not you have had trouble with needle-turn, machine appliqué, or fusible-techniques, give wool appliqué a try. It might change your mind.



There are projects for all kinds of quilters in here – from a small pillow to a large quilt with everything in between. I love A Simple Life quilt which is a combo of Wild Goose Chase blocks and “simple” applique (doesn’t look all that simple to me, but I get what the designer means). The large, 4-block, Mrs. B quilt caught my eye for both it’s simplicity and the pink, red and green color combination – not to mention the amputated Flying Geese sashing and borders, which I love. The Hearts and Flowers table runner has some real design meat to it and isn’t just a long skinny and predictable table runner. The McMillan Court quilt impressed me for it’s easy mix of appliqué combined with a bit less than traditional cotton pieced top. The colors in the 9-patch Wynyard quilt are perfect (but I’d make it larger, natch).






As with all That Patchwork Place publications, the patterns are illustrated and easy to read and, in the case with this particular book, they spent some time and cash on the beautiful and rich photography – it doesn’t feel “magazine” at all.

I reviewed a softcover copy of this book. 

I Love this Book! 






Mother Goose Embroidered Quilts (and more!)



Just when I thought I was finished with baby things for good, I get pulled back in with great-nephews being born at a rapid pace! That’s why I picked up Stitches in Rhyme, Mother Goose Embroidered Quilts (and More!) For the Modern Nursery, in the first place.

In reading the introduction, I find out that…

“In September 1940, the first of 21 embroidered quilt block simply called the Nursery Rhymes series was published in the Omaha (Nebraska) World-Herald. The blocks, based on beloved mother goose rhymes, became one of the most popular series below World-Harold ever printed.”

Inspired by the work, co-author and designer, Donna di Natale tracked down descendants of the creator, artist LaVerne Bartos, and the book of Laverne’s art coupled with quilting and sewing patterns designed and made by Donna and co-author, Amy Ubben became a reality.

To be 100% honest with you, I am not a huge fan of redwork but the quilts and projects in this book are so delightful and sweet, that I can’t imagine not wanting to pick up floss and needle for the next great-nephew (but keep your fingers crossed for a great-niece, nobody’s pregnant … yet).

blg007The simple 20-block, Nursery Rhyme Quilt is classic and wonderful. Heck, even without a baby in your present or future, you might want to make this one for yourself. Other than the Nursery Rhyme Quilt, the projects in this book are very modern – nursery rhyme curtains, a baby carrier cover (most certainly not a 1940’s concept), diaper bag, ‘magic’ changing pad, bibs, a scrapbook cover, and toys, etc.





If one nursery rhyme embroidery design doesn’t work for you (your Humpty Dumpty phobia, for instance), change it up and use a different story or character from the other full sized patterns! That’s the beauty of this book – you’re in charge. If mom-to-be has a color scheme in mind for her new baby (and all the new moms have all seemed to move beyond, pink, blue, pastel yellow and green), all you need do is change the color of your embroidery floss and fabrics. There are no hard and fast rules here and you can use the designs as mere suggestions, injecting your own creative vision. As for your embroidery skills? A simple and easy stem stitch, a few French knots, a little chain stitching, a running stitch or two, a lazy daisy stitch, and a split stitch, is all you will need to know to master the embroidery in the book, and all of these stitches are extraordinarily easy with an illustrated step-by-step for you.

I reviewed a softcover copy of this book. 

Really Like this Book!




Exquisite Designs with Wax & Dye



My family has been decorating eggs with waxing and dye (we call it pysanky) for generations. I picked it up myself about 20 years ago. But it was my genealogy that lured me to reviewing the book, “Decorating Eggs, Exquisite Designs with Wax & Dye.”


I don’t know, I like the book, but it’s not really a design book. It’s a very, very basic, ‘how to’ book. Actually, there is a little of a lot of things in Decorating Eggs, which makes it very appealing for getting the gist and a good understanding of the process, history, and culture, but not quite enough to crown you Miss Egg Dyer 2014.

All that said, the featured eggs that are beautifully photographed in the book are the prize here. Each egg is inspirational, varied, and goal-worthy whether they are modern or traditional, Ukrainian folk art, to even creating eggshell jewelry (which, frankly, should be a different book). If you have read my book reviews, you know that an over-crowded layout is my pet peeve, yet here is a book with so much white space, that much of it could have been claimed for some thorough and organized additional design examples and ‘lessons’.




If creating patchwork on eggs interests you, then you’ll want this book. Think of it as an extension of your patchwork hobby. Like with any DIY book, Decorating Eggs will get you started but won’t take you to your egg waxing glory. There are other books that I enjoy and refer to when I get stuck — “Ukrainian Easter Eggs And How We Make Them,” Helen Badulak’s “Pysanky in the 21st Century (not for a beginner but it is the pysanky book to end all pysanky books to date),” “Ukrainian Design Book 1,” “Ukrainian Easter Egg Design Book 2”.

As with anything, to be able to create these creative wonders you need to make one, then another ,and another, and keep making them until you master the technique (don’t worry, the learning curve isn’t ridiculous).


Finding the dyes and the right kistka (it’s what you apply the wax on the egg with) for you, is the truly difficult part of this whole thing. If you’re lucky, you live near a Ukrainian bookstore or church, like I do. When I order online, I have always had great good luck at: for finding everything I need from books, to dyes, wax, kistkas (even electric), etc.


I reviewed a softcover copy of this book. 

I Like this Book!




25 Modern Projects Reinterpreting Quilting Heritage from Around the Globe




As I studied the cover of the Cassandra Ellis’ new book, the title, the photograph, the colors, I have to admit, I was intrigued.   Then I started scrolling through it…

The postage stamp interpretation came first, then a drunkard’s path interpretation. Two quilts into the book and I was poised to take a box cutter to my throat.




“Again?” I thought. “Enlarge any pattern to a garganutuan size then call it modern…what a concept!”   Next up, was a rail fence interpretation. “The Rail Fence blocks look stunning framed within large pieces of plain cloth.” Um, not really (at least not to me…they look like they’re just floating in the middle of nowhere and a bit unfinished)… Should I cut myself over the sink or in the tub? Who will find me? Do I really want to off myself over the first 3 quilts in a book of 25?  I held off.



Then something happened…I started liking Cassandra Ellis’s quilts. No, for the most part they are not my personal taste. No, I do not think they elevate or even validate quilting techniques of the serious contemporary (not modern) quilter, but I liked the quilts for what they are – a textile artist’s interpretation of what she sees. Then, darn it, I had to scroll go back to the beginning and read every damn word – every word – of what Cassandra Ellis wrote – and I liked that, too.

There is a lot of information in this book, of course much of it delivered and colored by the authors personal taste, memories, and creativity (and heavy on the Gee’s Bend influence), but there are solid and interesting tidbits and history thrown in, too.

d n f g a

I loved that her interpretation of a String Quilt, and really liked the Log Cabin, although it’s just a kinda wonky, kinda primitive log cabin quilt. The design on many of the free-form quilts is nice, not terribly exciting or fresh, but are appealing, very clean (again, in a primitive way), and simple (yes, primitive). For me, much of the beauty of this book is the text and Ms. Ellis put a lot of hard work into writing it.  But I don’t want to underestimate the gorgeous photography, and I mean really fine photograph work is in these pages.


c g b s v

Before I forget, there is a Master Class section at the end the book that is really wonderful. I love how the author takes us though her inspirational thought process, her choices of fabrics (and that she’s not enslaved to quilter’s cotton), and then tools, and whatnot. It’s a great overview, much more substantial than most pattern books but not a tutorial, either. Thankfully, it doesn’t include the “a rotary cutter blade goes around when you push it” tedium.

One reviewer of this book suggests that this would be “a great book for the beginner.”  Maybe it would/could but I disagree. I’m from the “you have to know what you’re doing in order to know what not to do” school of thought. I suspect Ms. Ellis (should I call her Cassandra?) comes from the same school.

Whether or not you decide you want this book is most certainly up to you, not me. If you like the quilts, absolutely buy it because you will LOVE IT. If you don’t care for the quilts, you probably won’t get much from the book. You may learn a few new techniques here for how to anti-piece a pieced quilt – kind of like having a specific hairstyle that you have to work on and comb for 4-hours so it doesn’t look like you styled your hair, but if you’re a seasoned quilter you won’t learn much – unless you need to relax relax, and well, forget what you might have learned about quilting and, well, relax.

I’ll tell you what. I’m bringing this eBook to my next Slow Salon. There is a lot to debate talk about here, and while I still don’t know what side of the fence I’m on aesthetically, no matter what part of the world influenced and inspired these quilts (not that you could tell by many of the end results as more than a few of them look so similar they don’t really give that “around the globe” scope that 25 different quilts should. That said, I still think I like this book.

I reviewed a digital copy of this book. 

I Like this Book! 






An Innovative Approach to Structure and Shape with 25 Breathtaking Projects




Boy, I love the patterned projects in this book. I think they’re really beautiful. Of course, you have to be built like a twig to fit into anything shown. If you’re ‘healthy’ (and I’m talking really healthy, not fat) this may not be the book for you. Hey, designers, don’t be afraid to use some extra yarn … it’s good for the economy, the local yarn shops, and your book sales. That’s really my only complaint about this book.



The whole hardbound book is really just pages of delicious eye candy. I think it’s laid out well, I think the photography is nicely done, and the patterns and illustrations are not cramped and crowded. All in all, it’s a good book (of course all books are only as good as your personal taste is addressed, aren’t they?).

Some of my personal favorites from the book are the Renaissance Castle Tunic , the Je Ne Sais Quoi Cape, Nouveau Wrap Cardigan, On the Edge Dress, Glory Rising Circle Cardigan, Braided Vitality Pullover, and the Etiquette Unchained Pullover. Look, there are at least five or six more than I like, but I’m not a list them all here. There are some very serious patterns and very whimsical patterns, very technically challenging patterns and even a fairly simple pattern (certainly not enough of them to buy the book if you’re not a proficient knitter – buy it as an aspirational goal).






There are a couple of things about this book that really appeal to me. I really appreciate the fact that before each pattern is introduced, there is a little paragraph that shares tips and ideas about the way each particular pattern can be changed and adapted for a different kind of knitted look using or colorway. That is the “reimagined” part of Knitting Reimagined. For instance:

“Consider making a shorter version and continuing the neckline to create a cowl neck. Cascade yarns also offers Magnum Print (a multicolor version of Magnum), which can be used for a completely different look. Or combine that print with a solid yoke and a multicolor bottom.”

As a pretty lousy knitter myself, I appreciate the illustrated Knitting Techniques section in the back of the book. It’s not the best way to learn new stitching techniques but it’s better than nothing.

I also like that each chapter highlights a different kind of knitting treatment, like directional knitting or braiding. I am a fan of books to take you from one technique, and process, as you work through the book. Although, sometimes that works against you if you’re not really loving everything you see from start to finish.




The book is written for all skill levels, but I don’t think any newbie would feel comfortable starting here.

Honestly, there is just about no design in this book that I am even ambivalent about (and that’s a miracle for me). I really like them all. Be warned, however, that these patterns and designs are for the young and/or thin. While I am no expert in women’s fashion or body types per se, I know that if you have the normal lumps and bumps of a middle-aged woman, your reimagined knitting could very well make you look like a sack of onions in a net bag.



Time to call, Jenny?

I reviewed a hardcover copy of this book. 

I Really Like this Book!




** 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 






Anything and everything you might ever want to know about piecing the classic Cathedral Window Block brought up to date by Internationally renowned quilter, Lynne Edwards.








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


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“Slow Down To Appreciate The Details, Refine Your Vision,

And Hone Your Skills”

I am a slow.v3

 Also, check out Fiber Artist, Liz Kettle’s podcast on The Slow Stitching Movement website




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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  1. Mrs. Plum
    December 6, 2014 at 11:11 PM #

    Your review of the book on pysanky brought back memories of my youth, Mark. I learned how to do the eggs from my Godmother, who was Ukranian. Haven’t done any for years, but I loved see the designs from the book. I especially love the paisley designs. Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jean
    December 8, 2014 at 12:22 PM #

    Mark, those pics from World of Quilts are just hideous to me. Not cohesive, unfinished, unimaginative, and just not something most of us would admire, use, or aspire to make. I see you working so hard to find something nice to say and it hurts me, so I’ll just go ahead and be honest.
    I’m not familiar with Gees Bend quilts, whatever they are, but if they are like the pics, they seem to be primitive folk art that’s just not appealing on any level. Just call this what it is, prim folk art, and we know to page down and save ourselves from the box cutter. Some folks don’t like labels, but they serve a purpose, and here that is to let those who like this style study the work, and the rest of us can just move on.
    Thanks for the reviews; you rock. I still miss Quilters Home!


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