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Three Great Books for Avid Quilters & Sewists–Our Readers Weigh In

You might remember we sent out an invitation to our SHWS readers for volunteer book reviewers. Well, the results are in and their reviews are ready.  Take a bow Tana, Lynn, and Mary:

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The very first chapter of Making Fabric Jewelry is filled with vital information that every crafter will find useful. Marthe Le Van gives a fabulous overview of the tools and skills that are used for a jewelry designer’s projects. She begins with the basics, or what she calls the first pleasure, the fabric. If you don’t know your tulle from your duck, this book is the place to start. The first 36 pages cover fabric, stitches, and a jewelry primer on findings, wires, and beads. I am sure I will refer to this information often. I am delighted with the variety of projects in this book and the inspirational photos of similar pieces made by other designers. All the full-color photos are large and include the artist’s name and materials used. I can hardly turn the page without new ideas popping into my head. The techniques for assembling the jewelry are well written and easy to follow. Ms. Le Van even includes tips that range from selecting colors to threading needles. (I was surprised to see five ways to thread a needle.) My shopping list is made and I can’t wait to start the next project.

Tana's wonderful rendition of a project from the fabric jewelry book.

Tana’s wonderful rendition of a project from the fabric jewelry book.

 ♥          ♥          ♥          ♥          ♥          ♥          ♥          ♥          ♥

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I was excited to review Patchwork Please! because I saw so many pretty projects during the Zakka Along 2.0 last fall. I am a novice at sewing, and while the projects I saw floating around the Internet last fall were pretty and caught my eye, I was not sure that they were things I could make. I am a visual learner, so I also have been skeptical about sewing books, but let me tell you–Ayumi’s book is full of tips, and the tutorials are simple and very easy to follow. The book contains 140 pages, and the first 30 pages are dedicated to tips, tools, and techniques which cover the basics used for all the projects. There are beautiful photos of the 19 projects, each made with the cutest and prettiest fabrics. You’ll want to do every one! Each tutorial is rated for difficulty and broken down, step by step, with figures to help visual learners like me. I decided to jump all in and tackle the triangle patchwork box pouch, one of the more difficult projects (rated three stars), because I have always wanted to try making a bag with a zipper. The tutorial was very easy to follow and I completed the project quickly and without having to use my seam ripper, which is a plus for me! If a novice like me can make this zipper pouch, then I think anyone could easily do this project. I love all the projects; the photos are beautiful, the tutorials easy, and the projects come together quickly. I can see myself doing all of them and giving them as homemade gifts. Another plus: you can use scraps for many of the projects. Ayumi’s easy-to-follow tutorials and beautiful fabric choices are inspiring to me and have made me a believer in sewing books! Now to see what I will add next to my sewing-book collection!

Lynn Lee

Lynn bravely tries a project from Patchwork Please! and succeeds.

Lynn bravely tries a project from Patchwork Please! and succeeds.

♥          ♥          ♥          ♥          ♥          ♥          ♥          ♥          ♥

Pretty in Patchwork Doll Quilts by Cathy Gaubert   •   Lark Crafts

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Cathy had two reasons for writing this book: one is that our busy lives often don’t allow us time to sew a bed-sized quilt and therefore try new techniques and blocks. The second is to show  that doll quilts are the perfect avenue to use up the many scraps that we accumulate. For both reasons, I wanted to learn more about this book.

The first section of the book gives us the basics:  the materials, the tools, putting it all together, and the finishing touches.  The sections on materials and tools are a bit brief for beginners, but are perfect for anyone with a little experience.  The section on putting it all together gives information on patchwork piecing, English paper piecing, foundation piecing, free-form + improvisational piecing, applique, embroidery, and quilting. Each technique is used somewhere on the quilts in this book. The section on the finishing touches includes information on binding, labels, washing, and display.

From here, Cathy and 19 top designers give detailed instruction for the 24 doll quilts.  Each one include materials, measurements, illustrations and, if necessary, patterns.

As I read through the book, I found that I wanted to start on many of the quilts  right on the spot!  Too bad I am away from home, my stash, and my sewing machine or I would do just that.

There’s nothing an editor likes more than a prompt, well-composed submission, so many thanks to our three contributors. We at SHWS hope you’ll consider the merits of these fun crafting titles.

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