Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Book reviews: two new books for winter and Christmas!


If you want to get your quilting gifts finished  before Christmas is over this year, then might I suggest Here Comes Winter and Celebrate Christmas, both published by Martingale.

Here Comes Winter was written by Jeanne Large and Shelley Wicks.  The basics of quiltmaking are in the beginning for those who are just venturing into this artform.  Almost all of the book, though, is dedicated to the projects.  Using simple background blocks and delightfully cute appliques, each quilt project has a yardage and cutting guide to make construction go smoothly.


Some of the projects are really simple, but can be made in different color patterns to suit any giftee on your list.  The quilts that are a bit trickier, with some of the more intricate appliques, all have patterns for these extra embellishments.  A couple of my favorites from this book are immediately above and below this paragraph.




Besides full quilts, the projects also include lap quilts, table runners, table toppers, door banners, and pillows.




Although Here Comes Winter has a couple of projects that focus on the most famous winter holiday, the next book, Celebrate Christmas is pure Christmas overload!  With wall hangings, quilts, tree skirts, table runners, mantel covers, stockings, pillows, purses, aprons, ornaments, and a calender, you'd be hard-pressed not to find *something* you like in here!

There is no basics section in this book, but the instructions for each project are very clear, and there are plenty of patterns and templates provided for any of the tricky parts.

Here are a couple of my favorite projects from this new Martingale book.







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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Monday, July 21, 2014

Book review: Quiltmaking Essentials 1


Donna Lynn Thomas has written a new book for Martingale called Quiltmaking Essentials 1, which focuses on cutting and piecing skills.  That leads me to believe that there will be more books in this series, what do you think?  :-)



If you are interested in trying traditional quiltmaking, or if you wish your piecing skills were better for making your art quilts more precise, this may be the book for you.  The author doesn't take anything for granted, but starts with the very most basic quiltmaking skills, from there she moves on to rotary cutting, pressing, block construction, machine piecing, and ends with special sewing techniques.



This little book is simply packed with information that will of great help to both beginners and to intermediates who want to perfect their skills.  The information on the steps to piecing particular block styles alone is so very valuable.



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Friday, July 18, 2014

Artsy blogging round-up!


Carmi's Art/Life World
It is wonderful to see how a bit of fabric ribbon and a button can be featured into a new beaded cuff.

Resin Crafts Blog
There are inexpensive bamboo tiles that can easily be turned into wearable jewels with some simple resin application techniques.

Beading Arts
With a few funky components and a little bit of wire, you can quickly have a new necklace!

Crafty Cupcake "Recipe" Calls for Styrofoam and Glue
Not only are they cute, these cupcakes are fun to make. They’re guaranteed to be sugar-free, gluten-free, calorie-free and cute as the dickens.

Back to Amigurumi
Crafty Princess is loving amigurumi again with this new project that was a tad challenging.


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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Book reviews: three new quilting books

The following books are all published by Martingale, which specializes in instructions, templates, patterns, and photos that are easy to follow, and pretty much fool proof!  If you haven't done much quilting before, these books are always a good place to start.  Some feature traditional quilt block patterns, while some are contemporary and original. All have yardage and materials lists, block assembly directions, and quilt assembly instructions too.

English Paper Piecing II by Vicki Bellino


In this follow-up to her best-selling first volume, English Paper Piecing, Vicki Bellino again presents a collection of beautiful new designs to tempt quilters of all skill levels.  You can learn to add even more shapes by using the English paper piecing method to construct gorgeous quilts, table runners, and other decorative and functional projects.  If you've never used this method of piecing before, don't worry; Vicki covers the details from the beginning.  And she offers eleven new projects to try out your new skills.


Beyond Neutral by John Q Adams


Are you sometimes afraid to use bold colors as background fabrics? Then you'll love quilter John Q. Adams's fresh and bold exploration of quilting color palettes.  He draws his inspiration from nature, but sometimes the wild side of nature!  There are sixteen beautiful projects that celebrate wind, earth, leaf, sky, grass, lava, coral, and stone.


Feathers That Fly by Lee Cleland




This last book is very technical and focused.  Feather motifs are classics for a reason, and now you no longer need to be intimidated as you follow along in this handbook.  Each chapter presents a new technique and has an appropriate project for your practicing pleasure.  You can learn to draw your own designs, or you are welcome to use the ones that are provided.  As a special bonus, if you have a long-arm quilting machine, there are "Fast and Free" feather patterns included.  Fourteen projects will walk you through straight-spine feathers, wreaths, curves, and cables.


Photography credits: Martingale, Brent Kane

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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Monday, July 14, 2014

Book review: Reclaimed Textiles


Kim Thittichai takes the readers of Reclaimed Textiles through a mountain of innovative techniques for repurposing discarded materials, reclaiming and recycling them to make unique and often stunning works of art.  Starting with the basic techniques you will need to know throughout, Kim moves on through textiles, paper, packaging materials, plastics, and mixed media.  You will also be treated to a really fun chapter titled "Inspiration"...it is, yes!

Each chapter has projects included that you can try out if you've never worked with that material before, but mostly the chapters are just packed with inspiring examples and new ideas for what experienced textilers are working on these days.  This is a British publication, so you'll have to do some 'translating' for things like "Bondaweb" (fusible webbing), but no worries...you'll figure it all out!  Batsford is the UK publisher, and you'll find the book marketed by Sterling here in the US.

Will you want to make the exact featured projects?  Well, yes and no.  I'm sure you will marvel at the examples that are photographed so beautifully and lovingly, but most likely they will set your heart pounding with the possibilities for reclaiming and repurposing your own stash of treasures!

Kim writes:
How many of you have at least one drawer of products you have stored away and never used?  Do you even know why you bought them?  I think that many of us are now feeling the guilt of storing away things we are never going to use.
So let's get out that stash and start to use it!



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