Wednesday, March 10, 2010

My View: Books I Admire; Books That Inspire; Books I Must Acquire

Is there really a need for more sewing, quilting, crafting, how-to and inspiration books? Don't we have something in our own libraries that we have amassed over the years to meet the need?

The answer is NO!

An artist, a quilter, a crafter, is always looking to the new and different. Even when using traditional patterns that our grandmothers and great grans loved, we like to introduce new fabrics or color combinations, new techniques or perhaps fit two or three or four traditional patterns together to create something new and innovative. And most of us need to see, have visual stimuli, a model from which to spring into our own unique creations.

Judy Sisneros took a simple idea, made some fabulous quilts, documented the steps and provided tips and put everything together in her book

"9-Patch Pizzazz: Fast, Fun and Finished in a Day."

The concept behind this sweet 48-page book published by C&T Publishing begins with those large scale prints that we can't resist. We buy a piece and then realize we have nothing to do with it.

Judy features these large scale prints whether Japanese Geishas or Lions of the Serengeti or parrots or hibiscus up close and personal. Around them she sets smaller patterns in a most sedate and traditional nine-patch grid. Yet, there is nothing traditional about Judy's use of fabrics and the choices she makes in color combinations and fabric designs.

The cover features her quilt Oriental Flight. The quilt is set on point and she uses a fabric print of flying birds. She draws on the oriental black, ocher, red, and green, tying all of the prints together with a repetition of the print designs. Because she chooses to use the birds in the upper half of the quilt, it takes on the look of a landscape or portrait quilt with a definite oriental flair.

When I first saw Judy's designs and technique, I thought this 'Fast, Fun and Finished in a Day' concept melds perfectly with the charity quilts we all want to make but never seem to have enough time to do something stunning as well as practical and do it all fast! Now you can make a quilt for every member of the family, every charity, AND use up those large scale fabrics that you love, but can't figure out how to use.

C&T Publishing offers the book in traditional softcover for $16. 95, or in downloadable e-book format at $11.99 and a third option of a bundle which includes both softcover and e-book.

Don't think Judy has simply offered one basic design. Noooo. There are several ways to feature these large scale fabrics and Judy has a few tricks and surprises up her sleeve when it comes to layouts as well as color choices. Her Flower Power quilt goes vertical and offers such an innovative mix of traditional design and fabric. And then there's the addition of applique in her Koi on Parade quilt. And I love what she does with parrots and tropical prints.....

According to Judy, "This style of quilt has been my most popular and easiest workshop. I call it the "potato chip" quilt, because you can't make just one!"

Often I look at books and think "I WISH I could quilt/sew/applique/create like that...." Then I walk away slowly not knowing how or where to begin such breath-taking and award winning quilts. That's why I'm nearly giddy over

"Quilter's Favorites: A Collection of 21 Timeless Projects for All Skill Levels. (Vol. 1)"

As I leafed through the book for the first time, it immediately gave me hope, inspired me to try several of the projects without hesitation. The traditional Court House Steps is alluring as the first project offered. Squares and rectangles in this classic Court House Steps layout of the Log Cabin block is made new and modern by the use of green and blue batiks. The step-by-step directions complete with photos and tips ensures success for the beginner.

Summer Fun, a project for the advanced beginner plays with triangles and color. The editors explain. "The Double Dutch block generates a lot of movement when you introduce a secondary color pattern, as in Summer Fun. The deep blue accentuates the inner pinwheels and heightens the illusion of spinning. A batik fabric in summery blues and greens inspred the palette."

Pleiades Pineapple, listed as 'challenging' teaches paper or interfacing foundation piecing. And the Bow Tie Medley, also 'challenging', is more than the traditional pattern -- it is origami!

So much basic information that moves the quilter forward building upon what is learned in each project. If you are looking for a book to start your library, or to keep close at hand for reference for a variety of instructions from an easy-peasy piecing technique for the wild goose pattern to some innovative color choices -- this is the book. Written by the C&T editors this 112 page book retails at $24.95 for the softcover version and $16.99 for the e-book. As with all C&T books, the colors are awesome, the layouts easy to follow with lots of white space, graphics and just enough text.

With each project the quilter gains new knowledge, tips, new techniques, and new resolve and skill to move to the next and next and next quilt.

If you are new to quilting or have a new quilter in your midst, this book would make an excellent resource or gift. Each project introduces some new aspect of quilt making.

And what's even better -- there is a Volume 2!


Clare Wassermann said...

thank you- you've made me feel better about the number of books I covet!!

Anonymous said...

Hubby laughs at me buying so much sewing porn...LOL!