I hope you’ve enjoyed our week filled with book reviews! What books have piqued your interest? Let us know in the comments! —Elizabeth Tisinger Beese, senior editor
Flowers, Hearts, & Garlands Quilt ($26.95; American Quilter’s Society, 2011)
When I picked up this book, one of the Appliqué Masterpiece Series, I was hoping it offered advice for improving my satin-stitched appliqué. It does that, but offers so much more. Liz Jones’ technique for free-motion-basting appliqués before satin-stitching around them is a “why didn’t I think of that?” kind of technique that uses paper stabilizer, spray starch, and a light box to guarantee perfect appliqué placement without using any fusible web. Liz shares construction and supply tips, 32 appliqué designs, and 42 quilting motifs to make your own version of her award-winning (and stunning!) Hearts and Garlands appliqué sampler quilt.
A Notion to Celebrate! ($14.95; Leisure Arts, 2011)
Maybe it’s the fond memories I have of my great-grandmother helping me make Christmas ornaments with straight pins, sequins, and foam balls. Or maybe it’s the fact that the cover of this book looks like an incredibly yummy box of chocolates. Either way, I was drawn to Melissa Bickle’s book full of faux confections and other decorations for multiple occasions. How-to photos show you how to use foam shapes along with bits of ribbon, trims, buttons, pipe cleaners, rickrack, ribbon rosettes, pom-poms and more to make 16 projects. My favorites? Cutie Cupcakes, Melissa’s Candy Box, Firecracker Flowerpots, and Gingerbread Goodness. And for Thanksgiving, I’m definitely going to make Melissa’s fool-the-eye pinecones made from chocolate brown grosgrain ribbon.
Simple Graces: Charming Quilts and Companion Projects ($28.99; Martingale & Co., 2010)
At American Patchwork & Quilting, we’re known for our color options, a second version of the original quilt showing how different it can look when made in other fabrics. So I was excited to see acclaimed designer Kim Diehl’s take on this concept. As she says, “…because so many quilts hold the promise of becoming so many different things, why should any of us have to settle upon just one?” Instructions are included for eight quilts plus additional projects created from each quilt’s pieced units or appliqué motifs. All of the quilts and projects (which range from embellished tea towels and eyeglass cases to door hangers, doll quilts, and pincushions) are constructed using fabrics in Kim’s signature warm, homespun, scrappy palette. Don’t skip the general quiltmaking instructions—they’re packed with useful tips and specifics for Kim’s preferred construction techniques.
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