BOOK REVIEW SATURDAY, December 20, 2014

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SMALL TREASURES FROM SCRAPS

More Simply Charming Quilts

Small Treasures from Scraps

 

If you are a fan of small, traditional, reproduction-type quilts, then you will find a treasure in this book. The largest quilt in the book is 34” x 36”with the other 13 quilts being much smaller. It’s not like we haven’t seen these quilt designs before (or slight variations of) done in larger, and sometimes even smaller, sizes as they are very, very traditional in design, feel and coloring. That means that if you’re looking for something totally unique, you might be a bit disappointed.

On the other hand, I quite like these quilts and I especially like the scrappiness of them. All of those little pieces of fabric that you’ve been holding onto can finally be used to create yet more beauty for your home, your friends, or just for the world.

ChildsPlay

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Each of the quilts done in the book are created with 1800’s repro-esque fabrics and a brownish color palette. That doesn’t mean that if you’re a bright-loving patchworker that you couldn’t adapt any of these patterns to something that you would enjoy, too.

Another bonus to making small quilts like these is that, if you choose, they are the perfect size to dive into making at least one hand-pieced fabulousness before you visit that big fabric shop in the sky. That makes this book a perfect choice for anyone contemplating a jump onto The Slow Stitching Movement bandwagon (not that you have to slow anything by hand, mind you).

AutumnBerries

YesMaamYouCan

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OhMissScarlet

Each of the projects are photographed as a flat quilt shot, so forget about any display ideas, which could have been helpful. I never know what to do with little quilts except to use them as table toppers.

I like the Girls’ Retreat, Oh Miss Scarlett, and the Yes Ma’am You Can! quilts a lot, and would love to take a stab at hand-piecing Granny’s Housecoats.

LilGem

Happily Marching On

The patterns are uncomplicated but clear, but then the quilts are fairly simply designed without a lot of complicated piecing. You will find a variety of skill levels represented, even some curved appliqué piecing. And just because a quilt is small doesn’t make piecing it easier. Working with fairly small pieces of fabric can be challenging to a newbie.

GranniesHousecoats

GirlsRetreat

Fascination

FallOnTheRidge

DaddysBlues

While this isn’t a book that is going to change your life, aesthetic, the way you piece, or quilt a project, it will challenge your scrap coordinating color choices and make you think twice before you randomly toss $11.00+/yard fabric scraps into the trash during you next sewing binge.

CrossAndCrown

 

I reviewed a softcover copy of this book. 

I Like this Book!

  • Author: Tara Lynn Darr
  • Publisher: Kansas City Star 
  • ISBN: 978-0-9709131-6-6
  • Form: Paperback
  • Pages: 64
  • $21.95

Ask your local shop owner or independent bookstore to order your copy, FIRST. 

Or you can buy the book here:  http://bit.ly/1JzjLFs

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SCRAPPY FAT QUARTER QUILTS

Favorites from Fons & Porter

 

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Here’s another good, solid, pattern book of  reprinted goodies from the pages of past Fons & Porter Love of Quilting magazine. This time it’s all about expressing yourself using that stash of Fat Quarters you’ve been collecting but never cut into!

The quilts in the book range from lap to bed-sized quilts and run the gambit from mainly traditional patterns and fabrics, to very modern quilts, so there is a little something for everyone, and from beginner to beyond skill levels, although I think a gutsy confident beginner could tackle any of these projects.

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The quilts are designed by various patchwork designers like, (the most prolific quilter ever) Nancy Mahoney, Liz Porter, Jean Wells, and Lynn Roddy Brown, to name but a few.

A few of my favs are Jean Nolte’s Scrappy Triangles, Lynn Roddy Brown’s Triple Four Patch and Ko Ko quilts (I have to look more into her patterns), and Monkey Business by Evelyn Young, although there are several others in the book that I like, too.

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The patterns (and book) are airy and bright, the photography is crisp and pretty and colorful. The “SewEasy Techniques include photographed tutorials (always better than illustrations) how to sew strip sets, quick triangle-squares, a tutorial on using Tri-Recs Tools, and cutting half-square and quarter-square triangles.

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This is a great book to have to get you through the upcoming boring and long days of winter, while adding some bright and easy quilts to your finished pile. These simple, yet colorful scrappy quilts are perfect to give as gifts for the upcoming graduations, weddings, engagements, and whatever else pops up in the Spring. You don’t need to put too much time into them, you already have the Fat Quarters you need, and a busy sewing machine will keep you out of the refrigerator, helping you to avoid the “Winter 5”  (or in my case, 25).

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I reviewed a softcover copy of this book. 

I Really Like this Book!

  • Edited by: Jean Nolte
  • Publisher: Fons & Porter
  • ISBN: 978-1-60468-569-5
  • Form: Paperback
  • Pages: 64
  • $19.99

Ask your local shop owner or independent bookstore to order your copy, FIRST. 

Or you can buy the book here:  http://bit.ly/1zIm7fs

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CROCHET EVER AFTER

18 Crochet Projects Inspired by Classic Fairy Tales

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I am not a fan of fairytale project books, be they quilting, embroidery, knitting, doll making or what have you, but Crochet Ever After caught me by surprise. I really like it. Really. Shock!

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I think what appealed to me is that the projects are not just for kids. Many of them can be for kids of all ages. Like the wild Frog Princess and Prince hats (I LOVE them), the Magic Bean Socks, the Deep Forrest Mittens, The Snow Queen Beret, The Little Mermaid purse, the slippers and some others.

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Yeah, there are a few things for real kids, but even they are fun to consider. I would LOVE to wear that unicorn sweater! Are you kidding? It’s fab! Sometimes yarn-using books can be so damned serious, but this one includes some seriously serious patterns with a whimsical flair. I like that.

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Look, if you’re a 180-year-old, human-hating, sour puss, you may not appreciate wearing the dragon neck warmer, but that’s on you, sister. You might enjoy the Flying Broomstick Lace Shawl, instead. Sometimes we just must bring a little whimsy into our craft. There are times we all need to break out of our ‘normal’ and walk on the fun side.

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The projects are beautifully photographed. I hate to say that the patterns, while solid and easy to understand, are cramped. You know I like a little pattern breathing room. There is not a lot in the way of crochet tutorials in the book, just a couple of very rudimentary illustrations, so you had better know what you’re doing before you jump in. The book isn’t for a new crocheter, but the patterns are not hideously impossible and decipherable to only to a crochet master, either. Just have fun with it.

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Thumbelina_Doll

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I want Gretel’s Cupcake Purse!

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I reviewed a softcover copy of this book. 

I Really Like this Book! 

  • Author: Brenda K. B. Anderson
  • Publisher: Interweave
  • ISBN:978-1-62033750-9
  • Form: Paperback, digital
  • Pages: 152
  • $24.99

Ask your local shop owner or independent bookstore to order your copy, FIRST. 

Or you can buy the book here:  http://bit.ly/1sSxgei

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FABRIC PLAY

Change the Fabric, Change the Quilt 

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If there is one thing that so many quilters I meet, even seasoned quilters, have a problem with is color and thinking outside of the pattern they love. Yes, so many of us see a quilt pattern, want to make it but won’t because “the colors aren’t right.” Wha????

Here’s a little news flash: You’re allowed to change the colors of any quilt pattern to the colors, textures, and tones that speak to you.

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In this book designer, Deanne Moore, shows you how she changes the mood and feeling of a pattern simply by changing her fabric choices for each quilt she has designed. Now, this is hardly a new concept for a book, but it’s an idea that has to keep hitting home, both to stimulate the pattern sewer and to give quilters the “permission” many think they need, to play and create on their own.

The quilts in the book are modern in design, not fabulous modern, but a very elementary kind of modern treatment. The patterns are very easily constructed which makes them terrific for a beginner. In my heart of hearts, I can’t say I’m really digging any of the patterns in the book, like I do the author’s indie patterns for her Creative Sewloutions pattern line. There a couple of examples of primary and alternate color applications, however, like in the bright Manhattan, both color ways of Messages, and Grand Windmill quilts.

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One of the things I kind of liked about the book are the pattern “play sheets” that are included with each design project. The quilter is encouraged to photocopy the sheets then discover her own color choices and placement for fabrics. That said, I’m afraid that “Jane Quilter,” a quilter who may have a problem with choosing alternate colors for a quilt pattern will stare at this quilt outline and have no idea where to begin or, if she felt the need to buy this book in the first place, she probably won’t have the confidence to start randomly ‘coloring’ with no real direction. Color Jane frustrated, dude. So, while the play sheets seem like a good idea (and they are for some of us), there really needed to be some color theory, work, or color guidance to help “Jane” along. Those of us who don’t need Change the Fabric, Change the Quilt help, wouldn’t necessarily need or want play pages in the first place.

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The photography is simply flat, versus stylized, photos of each of the designs and colored quilts, which are clear and just fine for this kind of book. However, I like the back cover of shots of the quilts best, where one can see both quilts (almost) side by side to get a feeling for each color way selected. In the pages of the book, we are presented with one full-page quilt, then we have to turn the page to see the 1/8th page size quilt in the different color, with no real explanation as to the rhyme or reason why those particular alternate colors were chosen.

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4ths_B1248 Fabric Play.indd

I found it amusing that in the online promotional presentation of the book the quilts were, in fact, placed side by side (I am using those images in this review), yet that’s not what happens in the book.

If you’re going to do a faux “makeover,” which these quilts are, then a side-by-side shot is almost mandatory, and a little explanation why and how the new colors were chosen would have been helpful or illuminating. I mean, that’s the entire point of the book, isn’t it?

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4ths_B1248 Fabric Play.indd

 

I reviewed a softcover copy of this book. 

Sorry, I’m Just Not Crazy About It

  • Author: Deanne Moore
  • Publisher: That Patchwork Place
  • ISBN: 978-1-60468-421-6
  • Form: Paperback, digital
  • Pages: 80
  • $24.99

Ask your local shop owner or independent bookstore to order your copy, FIRST. 

Or you can buy the book here:  http://bit.ly/1sSxKkM

 

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THE PAPER-PIECED HOME

Quilting a Household One Block at a Time

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I’m not afraid to admit that, once I get into it, I really enjoy paper piecing, and it’s one of those techniques that goes in and out of style fairly often – I can think of at least 3 times in my quilting career that paper piecing was hot.

If the paper pieced patterns that designer, Penny Layman, has designed in her new book is an indication of the Ghost of Paper Piecing Future, I have a feeling that there is going to be a whole new generation of piecers wanting to learn the hows and whys of machine sewing on printed paper!

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If you’re like me, I think you’re going to enjoy the retro-modern look of misshapen fruit displayed in a groovy bowl, a wink to the past. If you do, then you’ll love this fabulously retro book.   Paper-pieced platform shoes, dial phones, View Masters, bell bottom flairs, television cabinets, mod sofas and chairs, are just some of the throwbacks to the past . . . OH HELL NO . . . Wait! This MY generation manipulated into paper piecing. You mean the 1970’s have officially hit patchwork vintage? OMG I’m sooooo old! Gee, thanks, Penny.

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Anywho, I got a kick from the book. I think that the pattern samples and the fabrics chosen by the designer are fun, funky, risky, and a total home run. Even if I never actually take any of these patterns to completion, they sure are fun to look at.

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In all, there are 40 paper-pieced blocks in the book (BONUS: there is a CD included with the book that includes 50 printable template patterns) all with your home décor in mind. Besides teaching you to master the paper piecing technique, the book also includes projects that dabble, ever so gently, into a bit of fabric printing, embroidery, embellishment, fussy cutting, and some needle-turn appliqué, too.

There are several projects included in the book that utilize the block patterns, like a claw foot tub bath mat or pillows, a tablet cover, sewing organizers, apron, shoe bags, hot pads, or grocery bags, but I’m urging you to tune in your creative antenna and allow the blocks to dictate how you might like to use them. A full quilt, maybe? Placemats? Resize them for mug rugs, wall hangings, or to applique them on the back of a jean jacket? However you decide to use these blocks, you’re sure to bring a smile to the faces of those who see them.

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As is typical with Interweave books, the layout it clear, the photography includes both flat and stylized shots of the projects, the patterns are straightforward and simple, using illustrations to hammer home the project instructions. The technical instructions and simple needlework, a primer in paper piecing and embroidery, are also clear and illustrated.

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It’s a fun book.

 

I reviewed a softcover copy of this book. 

I Really Like this Book! 

  • Author: Penny Layman
  • Publisher: Interweave
  • ISBN:978-1-62033-597-0
  • Form: Paperback, digital
  • Pages: 136
  • $26.99

Ask your local shop owner or independent bookstore to order your copy, FIRST. 

Or you can buy the book here:  http://bit.ly/1r9BwVz

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Stash Slashing for Slow Stitching (and charity)

When I began The Slow Stitching Movement I asked stitchers and quilters to reduce their impact on the planet and their creative psyches by letting go of the stash of books, papers, patterns fabrics, 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.

Please visit my eBay store to do me, you, and a few of my local charities a favor and check out my eBay store for what I’ve listed:

Books from Saturday’s Book Review! FREE SHIPPING!

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SLOW STITCHING

Liza Prior Lucy, author, designer, teacher, knitter, quilter, and business owner of www.GloriousColor.com discusses her attraction and participation in The Slow Stitching Movement in a newly posted Slow Stitching podcast. Listen here: http://www.slowstitching.com/podcasts.html

 

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The Slow Stitching Movement Podcast’s are sponsored by Aurifil and GloriousColor.com

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Then visit the Slow Stitching blog . . . . 

 

 

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SLOW STITCHING GUEST BLOGGERKelly Martinez, talks about Slow Stitching as a “maker.” She says, “Slow stitching means setting aside time to find myself somewhere in the thread and spread myself out on a piece of fabric.”

https://theslowstitchingmovement.wordpress.com/2014/12/14/slow-stitching-means-setting-aside-time-to-find-myself-somewhere-in-the-thread-and-spread-myself-out-on-a-piece-of-fabric/

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I am a slow.v3

 

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A NOTE ABOUT THESE BOOK REVIEWS

In the magazine world, if you don’t like a book, you don’t review it. I promised to be honest. I’ve based my whole patchwork reputation on “no B.S.” . . . and it’s not easy. Boy, I really wrestle with myself on whether or not I am going to review a book I don’t care for, but if books are so graciously sent to me for review, I feel that I have an obligation to the publisher to review all that are sent. Given I do not depend on advertising for my blog, I don’t need to only review the books I like (and would give fabulous reviews to) for fear of hurting an advertiser’s feelings, and threatening potential revenue. On the other hand it pains me, genuinely pains me (yes, sleepless nights), when I receive a book I’m just not crazy about.

Now, listen…because I don’t care for something NEVER implies that YOU shouldn’t care for it. Mine is only an opinion, one opinion of many who are sent review copies. The goal of any kind of reviewer is to develop an audience, be transparent with their likes, dislikes, taste, quirks, and aesthetic, and let the reader compare their opinions against those of the reviewer.

If you agree with my take on a book most of the time, for instance, you can begin to trust my reviews and know if I like something, you probably will, too. If you don’t generally agree with my assessments of a book, and disagree with most of my reviews, then you know that you want to buy only the books that I hate for your personal library.


IF YOU HAVEN’T SUBSCRIBED TO THIS BLOG YET:

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For well over 3 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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2 Comments on “BOOK REVIEW SATURDAY, December 20, 2014”

  1. Midge Price
    December 20, 2014 at 12:00 PM #

    I rarely have time to stand in a quilt store and thumb through the books, so I greatly appreciate these virtual tours through new books. I also am grateful that the reviews appear to represent genuine reactions and opinions, as opposed to mere renderings of the information provided by the publishers. Thank you, Mark!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. December 20, 2014 at 2:58 PM #

    I appreciate your reviews so much! I am inclined to way over purchase books, and really need to start conserving space in my studio! I might have bought that first book because I like the cover, but after your review, I know I never make small quilts so that one is off my list, but I am purchasing the second book-love all those patterns!
    Thanks for doing my homework for me!

    Liked by 1 person

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