Hi, all! Welcome to the first American Patchwork & Quilting Book Review Week, June 13-17. Publishers often send us review copies of the latest releases, so we decided to devote an entire week to sharing some of our favorites with you. We hope this finds you just in time as you make your summer reading list!
I’m here today to give you the scoop on the books that made it to my nightstand. I hope you’ll find something here to add to yours! —Maria Charbonneaux, staff writer
Block Party—The Modern Quilting Bee: The Journey of 12 Women, 1 Blog & 12 Improvisational Projects ($21.95; Stash Books, an imprint of C&T Publishing, 2011)
Alissa Haight Carlton & Kristen Lejnieks
I love the idea of a quilting bee, but I don’t have many friends outside of work who quilt. Most of my sewing happens alone late at night. That’s why this book about a virtual quilting bee intrigued me. It outlines how 12 quilters from all over the country worked together to make 12 quilts in one year, and how you can too! Here’s how it works: Each quilter picked a month and was responsible for selecting and sending fabric and basic block suggestions to the 11 other members that month. At the end of the month, the other quilters returned their finished blocks to be assembled and quilted. In this book, you’ll find photos and instructions of the 12 finished quilts, along with some thoughts from each member about the experience. If you’re not afraid of improvisational piecing and a design-as-you-go approach, you’ll love the flexibility of the instructions in this book. If you’re used to working with strict cutting requirements and block placement but you’re open to a more free-form, outside-the-box approach, this book would make an excellent tool in achieving that goal. This book has inspired me to participate in quilt challenges to help grow my skills, step out of my comfort zone, and connect with other like-minded quilters. Who knows? Maybe I’ll follow The Hive Mind tips in the book and host my own virtual blog hop someday!
On my “to-make” list: Wonky Log Cabin Block (page 12), Wonky Roman Stripe Block (page 50), Polka Dot Block (page 66)
3 Times the Charm: 7 Quick & Easy Designs—21 Unique Looks! ($9.95; Leisure Arts)
Barbara Groves and Mary Jacobson
I’m always drawn to charm packs at quilt shops, but my collections of precut 5″-squares spend most of their time looking pretty on a shelf (when they’re not collecting dust) rather than finding their way to quilts. I’ve been on the hunt for more ways to use them, so I was excited to see this book from Barbara Groves and Mary Jacobson of Me and My Sister Designs. The small, quick-to-make quilts in this book offer seven ways to get those charm packs off the shelf and into rotation stat! My favorite tool is the Charm Cutting Diagrams given for each project, which show you how to cut each piece to maximize a 5″-square. If color options help you see more possibilities, you’ll love all the optional ideas in this book.
On my “to-make” list: Charlotte (page 11), Greta (page 26)
Stash Happy Patchwork: 25 Sewing Projects for Fabric Lovers ($16.95; Lark Crafts, an imprint of Sterling Publishing Co.)
ADORABLE! That’s the first word that comes to mind when I think about the 25 projects in Cynthia Shaffer’s new book that offers patchwork ideas with your stash mind. You’ll find ideas for utilizing untapped fabric cuts (both large and small), showcasing scraps and bits of your favorites that you can’t bear to part with, and upcycling thrift-store or linen-clost finds. I don’t have a large stash yet, but the book’s format makes it just as easy for someone like me to purchase the fabric they need if they don’t already have it on hand. It has also motivated me to save those tiny remnants and transform them into trim, rosettes, and tiny blocks. Step-by-step photo tutorials and tips and variations scattered throughout make it easy to customize the ideas. From a cactus pincushion to a set of nesting bowls, these projects are pretty and practical. If you’d like to get a taste of what’s inside, go to LarkCrafts.com/bonus to download two free bonus projects from the author.
On my “to-make” list: Patchy Wrap Skirt (page 41), Bento Box (page 51), and Cupcake Flags (page 99)
How to Make Money Using Etsy: A Guide to the Online Marketplace for Crafts and Handmade Products ($19.95; Wiley)
If you’ve ever thought about selling your original projects or patterns (designed by you) on Etsy.com, Timothy Adam’s easy-to-understand, step-by-step guide is worth a read. In it, he details everything he has learned—from setting up shop to mastering search engine optimization to promoting products using social media—in his experience selling his metal furniture and art on the website, a marketplace for handmade goods, vintage items, and craft supplies. A section featuring tips from top Etsy sellers makes the book feel even more personal and applicable. The tried-and-tested advice is supplemented with anecdotes, examples, and screenshots to give you the confidence to make your dream of running a successful Etsy shop a reality.