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Book reviews: three new books with fast and easy quilting projects

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.

After covering the basics of quiltmaking, there are 4 sections of super-fast quilt techniques: strip piecing, quick corners, sliced, and stacked and sliced.  Each shortcut method is exlored in a couple of variations to show you just how easy it is to get different looks from the same technique.  Some of the designs end up looking fairly complex, amazingly.

Simple Appeal by Kim Diehl

Kim includes 14 designs that use patchwork or applique to make everyday items for the home: bed, lap, or wall quilts, table toppers, placemats, and a pin cushion are included.  I am personally very drawn to her color combinations.

Stack, Shuffle, and Slide by Karla Alexander

I have not heard of the "Stack the Deck" method before.  Karla teaches this patchwork technique and then has detailed instructions for 15 variants.  Basically, fabric squares or rectangles are stacked, sliced into various shapes, the shapes are shuffled, and then each layer is sewn back together. Kim adds a second shuffle to some of her designs to obtain even more variation.

Photography credits: Martingale, Brent Kane

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