Book Review | Staff Blog - Part 3

Book Review

13 posts.

Book Review: Day 2

Here’s a selection of  books that are great for summer reading. I hope you’ll be as excited and inspired as I am to add some new techniques and quilt projects to your ever-growing list. –Lisa Schumacher, interactive editor

Lady Bug & Friends Quilts ($26.95; American Quilter’s Society, 2011)

Quilted Frog: Carla Scott & Leanne Smith

Sisters Carla Scott and Leanne Smith have created the Easy OutLine Appliqué method that gives appliqué pieces the look of a hand-drawn outline. Create the outline by tracing and fusing appliqué pieces on a black base appliqué shape. Full-size appliqué patterns are included on the CD; the whimsical designs include kids and dogs in cars, lady bugs, and other animals. Many designs have variations so projects can be made for boys or girls. Projects range from pillows, pillowcases, aprons, wall hangings, crib quilts, and even a game board. Visit to watch a video demonstration of the technique.

On my “to-make” list: Lady Bug Apron (page 34) and Ants in the Pants Pillowcase (page 81).

The Practical Guide to Patchwork: New Basics for the Modern Quiltmaker ($24.95; Stash Books, an imprint of C&T Publishing, 2010)

Elizabeth Hartman

In my opinion, the author Elizabeth Hartman hits the nail on the head when she recommends “…choosing a first project that doesn’t have a deadline attached to it (such as a baby shower or birthday”. The Practical Guide to Patchwork starts out with basics from selecting cotton fabric, elements of a quilt, common fabric cuts, and tips for planning a quilt. The section on choosing fabrics was especially helpful to me. With all the great cotton prints available in quilts shops and my stash of home decor fabrics, sometimes I struggle with selecting the “right” combination of fabrics. You’ll find a breakdown of basic supplies, piecing techniques, machine-quilting tips, as well as tips for making and attaching binding.

The book includes step-by-step instructions and diagrams for 12 modern quilt projects. Each project is made in two alternate colorways to demonstrate the impact that color choices have on each quilt design. As a new member of a modern quilt guild, I’m inspired to dig through my stash of bright fabrics and start sewing!

On my “to-make” list: Valentine (page 71) and Little Leaves (page 89).

Stars! A Study of 19th Century Star Quilts by the American Quilt Study Group ($26.95; Kansas City Star Quilts, 2011)

OK, stick with me now, I’m shifting from modern to traditional (amazing how much one person’s interests can vary). When I saw Stars! A Study of 19th Century Star Quilts by the American Quilt Study Group, I knew I had to add it to my book review list. I don’t know what it is about star quilt blocks, but I love them (in all sizes and variations).

Members of the American Quilt Study Group (AQSG) created quilts with star blocks inspired by 19th century quilts. The book includes photos of 39 new quilts, the 19th century inspiration quilt, as well as an explanation about the new quilt from the AQSG member. You’ll also find instructions for 10 of the study quilts. The star quilts are making their way around the U.S.; visit the American Quilt Study Group website to see if the exhibit schedule.

On my “to-make” list: Petite Bayik Le Moyne (page 88), I Can Only Imagine (page 97), and Silk Stars of the Bluegrass (page 107).

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Book Review Week: Day 1


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-BeeBlock 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!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-PatchworkStash Happy Patchwork: 25 Sewing Projects for Fabric Lovers ($16.95; Lark Crafts, an imprint of Sterling Publishing Co.)
Cynthia Shaffer

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 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-EtsyHow to Make Money Using Etsy: A Guide to the Online Marketplace for Crafts and Handmade Products ($19.95; Wiley)
Timothy Adam

If you’ve ever thought about selling your original projects or patterns (designed by you) on, 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.

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APQ Book Review Week

Book-LogoIf you’re looking for great books to add to your summer reading list, join us this week on the Staff Blog as the editors of American Patchwork & Quilting review some of their favorite quilting reads!

Monday: Maria Charbonneaux, staff writer

Tuesday: Lisa Schumacher, interactive editor

Wednesday: Jill Mead, editor

Thursday: Jody Sanders, assistant editor

Friday: Jennifer Keltner, executive editor
Elizabeth Tisinger Beese, senior editor

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