Tuesday, January 11, 2011

My View: A Few Books To Pique Your Creativity and a Giveaway!

It is not even the Ides of January and I'm feeling the overload! How about you? Hopefully your overload is in creativity and inspiration. I'm afraid my good intentions evaporated before the mists of that first January morning dissipated. It seems that I am slogging through this new year watching British mysteries and period pieces and spouting words like 'slogging' and 'bloody hell.' I'm even sipping Earl Grey tea as I write this.

Even in this land of Florida sunshine, there has been a shortage of old Sol. A couple sun rays arrived in the mail yesterday from American Quilter's Society.

I must admit that when I first saw the words 'Sunbonnet Sue' on the front cover of the first book, I groaned. I am not a fan. They are cute, vintage 1930s which doesn't seem to be my favorite era. And the cutie is so not what I want hanging in my house or covering my beds. I've seen them clad in pastels and dressed up as cowgirl or cowboy and wasn't impressed.

Dutifully, I looked again and am sooooo glad I did! Debra Kimball has put together a creative and fun group of Sues. The book is International Sun Bonnet Sue.

The book blurb describes well what you'll find inside "49 enchanting Sunbonnet designs capture the essence of places from around the globe. Each Sue is dressed in her country's traditional costume and holds a symbolic souvenir."

It was the Kimono Sue quilt, inspiration for this book, which drew me in. These little Japanese Sue figures are adorable. The fabrics and details the author chose definitely make these figures inviting. The symbolic souvenirs that they hold really give the figures character.

What a great project for using up scraps, or a great reason to delve into your assorted collection of fabrics. Bright colors, muted, whatever worked from batiks to flower prints. This book is light on technique. It is applique in whatever form you wish to use. What it features are the patterns for each of the 49 Sues along with photos of the author's fabric choices. There's even a little Sherlock Holmes clad Sue. If you enjoy applique -- whether needle turn or the fused or raw edge techniques -- you'll find these are patterns that will make you smile. Each turn of the page lightened my attitude and made my fingers itch to get started.

There is but one finished quilt and that is simply squares set together with sashing and each square has a figure appliqued to the middle of it. Not terribly exciting, but I'm sure once you begin making these little girls, you will find a host of ways to display them. A children's room seems the most reasonable place to display these Sues. I can see them adorning wall hangings, maybe arranged in a circle or on a table runner or even potholders or placemats. A bell pull perhaps? I know once you begin making these sweeties, you will find excellent ways to display them. Maybe even a birthday banner?

The second book may resonate with many who are determined to try new techniques this year and MASTER them! New York Beauty Simplified by Linda J. Hahn may be just what you need to ease into points, paper piecing, and curved piecing. Linda, in her introduction reassures us Subversive Stitchers that "The technique you are about to learn is very untraditional; we are going to break some rules. I have a very relaxed style and I do not like to stress or agonize. It is my opinion that quilting should be FUN and not stressful."

Circles, half circles, quarter circles, serpentine arrangements, and more fill this book. She also offers a variety of photos of many quilts to show off fabric choices. Perhaps it is simply my mood, my need for inspiration, but I found this book upbeat and easy to follow and most of all, calling to my creative urges to give it a try.

Going along with curved piecing, AQS previously sent me a book "Vivacious Curvy Quilts" by Dianne S. Hire. Seeing Linda Hahn's book, brought the curvy quilts to mind and I pulled the book out for a second look. I don't know why I filed it away without sharing it with you -- maybe the holidays intruded. But it is worth examining.

The art quilter may find Hire's intuitive approach and nontraditional quilts more inviting that a traditional quilter who gets high on perfect points, symmetry and matched seams. Yet, if you're venturing into a free style of quilt making -- this book's for you. Hire writes, "One of the most important things to have on hand when creating in an intuitive way is an open mind."

Evidently circles and curves are in my future and a bit of Sunbonnet Sue whimsy.

One more book! Recently in a Subversive Stitchers facebook discussion, someone mentioned that they enjoyed making Temari balls. My first response was "Huh?" "What?"

But of course I Googled and discovered that these Japanese Thread Balls look like a fun project. If you are looking for something to do when not quilting or sewing. Or you are looking for a way to use up some yarns and threads and do something exquisitely beautiful -- check out "TEMARI: How to make Japanese Thread Balls" by Diana Vandervoort. It is published by Japan Publications Trading Company, 1992. It isn't a new book, but definitely a fine book on the subject. There are also some Temari sites online that may help you get started, but Diana's step by step directions, tips, and suggestions take the guesswork out of this project.

I just can't stop! One more book. I mentioned it when discussing my 'Confetti Cats' project on Facebook last year, but it is worth revisiting. It is Noriko Endo's "Confetti Naturescapes" Published by Dragon Threads, this book combines the beauty of an impressionist's painting with the frugal use of snippets of fabric in a 'confetti' landscape. This book is a 'must own' for anyone who has gasped in admiration at Noriko's work. It is filled with photos of her quilts. And accompanying those photos are descriptions and explanations of techniques and what she achieved with various techniques and approaches. For example on her Mother Nature quilt she tells about "Using the technique of free-motion embroidery on the machine has allowed me to introduce texture on the tree trunks."

Noriko has created an art book that is also a learning tool for all who delve inside it. Linda Teufel mentioned that she is interested in offering a copy of Confetti Naturescapes as a giveaway to a lucky winner. If you're interested in trying your luck, please leave a comment and we'll draw a winner on February 1.

Just talking about these books has brightened my day, maybe that's what brought the sun out! I do hope you are all having a blessed and creative 2011! I'm writing this line at 1:11 on 1-11-11. A once in a lifetime moment -- but isn't every moment once in a lifetime?

Books are available through AQS, Amazon, or Dragon Threads.

63 comments:

Sharon said...

Yes I have to agree with you every moment should be a once in a lifetime moment. I am so glad that writing about the books and giving us your opinions has help to brighten your day. I too have had moments recently that have shaken me but I too want to try NYB and working with curves this year so there are a few things we have in common.....Heres to the best in the New Year

Shasta said...

A nice selection of books you have there. I haven't made a landscape quilt yet, but it is on my long to-do list. I really like special dates and times too, but you are right, every month is special.

Sherryl said...

Thanks for the great reviews! I especially love Noriko Endo's work and would love to win this book.

Rice said...

Please enter me :)

Debbie said...

Thanks for the nice reviews, Dawn. I'd love to own Noriko's book. Thanks for counting me in.

Maria Elkins said...

Noriko's work is fabulous. I'm sure her book is too.

Mary Ann Gallaher said...

I love finding new eye-candy books, and this is certainly one of them. It was given great reviews on amazon.

Grammi Rabbit said...

I enjoyed your reviews of these books. It's helpful to hear from someone who has actually seen them. I have been in Noriko's book since I first saw it advertised.

Paula said...

What a wonderful giveaway!I'd love to win Noriko's book. Pls enter me!
xoxo

Michigoose said...

I enjoyed seeing Noriko Endo's work at Quilt National. She'll be at The International Quilt Festival in Cincinnati this year and I'm hoping I'll get in!

Debi Cutter said...

That is a nice selection of books. The Temari Balls look interesting, but I don't do anything with yarn and when I do I would like for it to start with with a crochet needle! I like Sun Bonnet Sue, of course, I love the old quilts. I'm glad you got some sunshine today and hope that you send some to my sluggish, snowy, iced in North Carolina!

Anya said...

The books look great...thanks for the chance!

JYA Fiberarts said...

Book reviews are always interesting. I remember being struck by the beauty of Noriko Endo's work, when I read the book, Masters Art Quilts. I too, would love to have her book. Thanks.

Vicki said...

All these books sound interesting, thanks for sharing. The landscapes books sounds amazing, please enter me in the drawing.

pcoxdesign said...

Thanks for the book reviews. I may not have given them a second look when you mentioned them but now my curiosity is piqued!

Happy Cottage Quilter said...

Great reviews. The book sounds awesome! Noriko is an amazing artist. Thanks for entering me in the giveaway.

Paula Ganyard said...

Thanks for the book reviews. I am a librarian and love to hear about new books.

sewfrugal said...

Dawn, as always your words inspire me to NEED all these books. Linda's book might make what has always appeared to me too difficult, a mangeable project. I have always loved those wonderful quilts that look like an extremely talented person made them. I have never tried anthing like that for that very reason. And then there is your wonderful confetti cats. Noriko Endo's book would be a great way to combine that technique with landscape quilts. I so admire the landscape quilts I see and would love to give that a try! Thanks for all your inspiration! I hope some of the inspiration you give us comes back to you!

Bev C said...

Hello,

Thank you for the reviews,it is always interesting to see what kother people think of books.
Happy days.
Bev.xoxo

Art by Rhoda Forbes said...

Great book reviews. They look very interesting Confetti Naturescapes and Temari would be my favorites.
Thanks for doing this.
forbesrj@shaw.ca

Jean said...

Noriko's work is fabulous (and always my husband's favorite when I drag him to a show). I'm sure her book is just as impressive.

Anonymous said...

What a nice bunch of reviews, the Sue book looks esp;ecially interesting, but would certainly not object to winning the landscape one!

Becky Kelher

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your great reviews! It's so hard to buy an art book over the interet so it's nice to hear someone's opinion. I took a clss from Noriko and I'm dying to get my hands on her book!

deborah
disdocent@aol.com

acarolegrant said...

I enjoyed the 'trip through memory lane' on the book reviews.. sure would like to win noriko's book...

wlstarn said...

One summer, I read so many british novels (Margaret Drabble & her sister A S Byatt), I was ready to have Marmite at tea.
Not a big sunbonnet fan, but a huge fan of Noriko Endo. Her quilts are amazing!

gail Myr said...

Good job on the reviews. I always appreciate a review done by someone who really "gets" it. Please enter me too. I'd love to have Noriko's book! Thank you.

Julia in NZ said...

I always enjoy your blog, Dawn. You are so generous with praise, and sharing ideas. I have just been in Japan with my own friend called Noriko, so this seems like a book I should have!

trudys_person said...

Thank you for the reviews - good variety of books - very helpful. And thank you for the giveaway!

Jeanne Turner McBrayer said...

I would love to win the drawing for Noriko Endo's book!

Sue Andrus said...

I would also love to enter for Noriko Endo's book... I have seen some of her work in person and LOVE it!

Susan said...

Thank you for the nice reviews.
I have Dianne's book and I'm enjoying it. I'd love to have the landscape book, just fabulous!

Susan
jdprkr@pacbell.net

TJM wanna be quilt artist said...

Thanks for the chance to win a book.... :-)

Tabitha O. said...

Ah Sunbonnet Sue I like finding her in vintage discoveries and then using her in my creations but I am not a huge fan. I am really hoping my local library gets in these books so I can take a closer look!!

And I miss the FL Sunshine and ocean breeze, I grew up there and now live in a dusty Albuquerque with no chance of smelling the sea..the sun will return soon!

Anonymous said...

Noriko Endo's quilts are amazing! I was at QSDS several years ago when she was teaching a class. Her quilts were wonderful and it was great to see them in person.

Cathy Vigor said...

Noriko Endo's quilts are amazing. I was at QSDS several years ago when she was teaching a class. It was wonderful to see her quilts up close and personal. I would love her book.

Stacy West said...

What a lovely thing to do--giving away such a special book. Thanks for your generosity.

suewalen said...

I'd be so happy to be the winner of the Noriko Endo book. Long time fan and never ever not-never a winner.

Nancy Schlegel said...

I did a couple of what are now called confetti quilts 20 years ago-but wasn't smart enough to write a book about it. Would love to see how a professional works with this technique. Thanks for the offer.

quiltingnana said...

thanks for the reviews and giveaway

janice said...

Thank you for sharing your take on these books. There are so many and I really appreciate it when someone takes the time to let me know about some of them.

Kathy Angel Lee said...

I was so happy to see the mention of the International Sunbonnet Sue book. Although I'm not a big fan of Sunbonnet Sue, I have a few blocks I won in a guild drawing and have thought about "internationalizing" them. What a great idea.

And seeing Diane Hire's latest book reminded me of working with her in a demo workshop when she was putting together ideas for her previous book.

Nice choices for review.
Kathy

linda moon daughtry said...

Thank you for sharing your thoughts on these books with the rest of us. It gives more perspective as to which one would appeal to me.

JB said...

I would love to have a copy of Confetti Landscapes. I have always been intrigued by Noriko's delicate handling of landscapes on fabric.

Marija said...

Thank you so much for doing the reviews and sharing them! I love to read those, get the insight into the new books and decide if I want them! Of course, there are very, VERY few books I don't want, LOL!
Possibly taking a class with Noriko Endo this spring in Cincinnati,(LOVE her work!) so I guess I'll wait to see if I win the book first! :)

~Kathleen said...

Wow, great books! Thanks for your recommendations and the chance to win. ~Kathleen

Linda Mac said...

I would love the win the confetti landscape book. Thank you for offering this chance. Linda Mac

Pamela said...

I still have a soft spot for Sunbonnet Sues, because they were on my bedspread when I was little. I also had a collection of dolls in folk costumes, so I would have loved the international Sues. And thanks for offering the Noriko Endo book -- it looks inspiring, and I'd love to win it.

Teresa said...

Laughed out loud with your description of Sun Bonnet Sue - I would've passed on this one due to my dislike of Sue; now you have me at least curious. BUT, my fave would be Noriko's ;)

carol ann perkins said...

The bright sunshine in January only means cold in Chicago that cloud cover blankets us and minimizes our heat loss. I am still in the dumps though what a bright post thanks

Nancy said...

Here in NC we are starting to get out of doors from our snow on Sunday. We tend to get like bears and hibernate with the snow. Noriko's book is on my lust list.

Lois said...

I'm fascinated by Endo's techniques. I'd love to win her book!

Marilyn Wall said...

I've had the privilege of seeing Noriko's quilts at Visions. They are amazing. Would love to have her book.
Been a while since I've visited your blog, won't be that long again

Lydia said...

Noriko Endo's book would be a great addition, both to my library and quilt technique knowledge. Her work is stunning.

gill said...

Yes I agree - every moment is 'once in a lifetime' so should be treasured (not always easy!)
Please count me in for the giveaway

Didactique et TICs pour Univers social said...

The Temari book is AMAZING. Really amazing. I own it and have made several patterns from it. It has great explanations and illustrations to help you start out.

Tawney said...

Noriko Endo's book would certainly get the juices going. And the New York Beauty - I've always wanted to do something with that pattern and need to plan a new bed quilt -- Oh, Dawn, you devil for putting that in my mind LOL.

Rebecca Grace said...

Okay, although I dig SOME Depression-era quilts, I've never been a fan of the saccharine-sweetness of Sunbonnet Sue, either. Your review piques my interest, though -- Asian Sue? Now I have to check it out for myself!

whyjudiwhy said...

I saw Noriko's work two years ago at the Houston quilt show. It is amazing! I would love to win this book to further explore her work. Thank you
Judi

Marcia W. said...

Thank you for taking the time to share your book reviews. I've wanted to attempt a quilt like in Naturescapes for some time. Please enter me into the drawing.

Linda Cooper said...

Hi Dawn,
I hope your enjoyment in this post leads you to write more and often!
Best wishes for a great year to you and Derrol. Thanks for the book reviews.
ps. My 4th grandson was born 1-11-11 (but at 2:06).

aliaslaceygreen said...

Oh, Dear, do I even want to LOOK at the Sunbonnet Sue? Over 5 years ago I started on my own a Sunbonnet Sue's Trip around the World.... I have drawn out about 30 blocks, of all different nations, have all the fabrics, and made about 6, by hand ...I keep getting sidetracked... VBG...

liniecat said...

Id love to own the confetti book......it might spur me onto actually doing something with the 100's of fabric snippets, well okayyyy, 1000's of snippets, I seem to have amassed and kept ......' in case' they'll come in handy! :)

LinH said...

Liked the book review style and info. Still not a Sue fan but definitely interested in the Hire and Noriko books. Came here today because I saw it mentioned in an article on Zentangle. Looks like fun here.