Barb Adams and Alma Allen of Blackbird Designs continue to give all of us wonderful, creative books for our viewing and quilting pleasure. WEEKEND, published by Blackbird Designs, is visually pleasing to just look at all of the projects. One of the things I enjoy about their books is that it isn’t just quilting projects but they also incorporate rug hooking, cross stitch, a “treasure box” and a pin keep. All of the projects are done in blues, tans and browns but I know all of the projects would be great in any color way. As always, the quilts are beautiful and range from the pieced quilts named Country Road and Lazy Morning to the appliqué quilts named Southern Lily and Blueberry Crumbcake. Breakfast in Bed is an appliqué project that can be used as either a bed runner or table runner. I absolutely love the Sleepy Head pillow. They look stunning on the Lazy Morning quilt! I recently visited my sister-in-law and her husband and became enchanted with the two cross stitch samplers that were hanging the guest room. They are large so as I get back into cross stitching Early Morning Read would be perfect the perfect size sampler for me to do. The Treasure Box, Weekend Lights, Pinkeep and Tip Toe are all fun projects to try. These women just continue to amaze me with all of their ideas and the quality of their books.
MORE WILLIAM MORRIS APPLIQUE is written by Michele Hill and published by Country Bumpkin Publications of Australia. Michele previously wrote WILLIAM MORRIS IN APPLIQUE which is a marvelous book one could use as a “coffee table” book because the photography is excellent there is solid information about William Morris. This book continues in the same manner. Michele sets the tone of the book with a quote from William Morris “If I were asked to say what is at once the most important production of Art and the thing most to be longed for; I should answer; A Beautiful House.” She goes on to demonstrate what “a beautiful house” is through a short history of the homes of William Morris as well as a home in Adelaide that contained many fine examples of William Morris’ work. This book is a real treat because it contains many pictures of the work of William Morris. There are ten projects in this book that range in size from very small and simple to large and fairly complex in my view but I do like them all. The key to the projects is that they demonstrate what a beautiful house is. Portiere is a gorgeous wall hanging while Morning Glory is a bed topper or lap quilt. Poppy and In Conversation are a table runner and table cloth. There are even nursery quilts. The pictures are some of the best I have seen as they show the detail of the work done so it isn’t as difficult as it may seem. Michele also has 30 pages of detailed information on how you will accomplish the construction of these quilts. This is another great book for you to consider adding to your quilting library.
Karen Mowery is the author of A BOUNTIFUL LIFE which is an adaptation of the Bird of Paradise quilt top in the American Folk Art Museum. The book is published by Kansas City Star Quilts. Karen basically chronicles the history of the Bird of Paradise quilt that an anonymous quilter completed more than 150 years ago. It is thought the quilter lived somewhere near Albany, New York. Karen’s version is similar to the original quilt but there is one block in particular that is different. In reading about the quilt it appears it may have been a wedding quilt but in the original the block where the groom should be doesn’t include him. Although the paper templates found with the quilt clearly have a male appliqué template it does create part of the mystery of the quilt. In Karen’s version of the quilt, the man is included. It is interesting to see both the original and the adaptation of the Bird of Paradise quilt and then to compare the two of them. If you attended the Des Moines AQS Quilt Show last October, you would have seen a version of the Bird of Paradise quilt that replicates the original. It is truly a beautiful quilt. Great color photography is used to show each completed block so that you can see the detail of the appliqué. The last section of the book contains full-size designs that are ready to use which is a huge time saver.
One of the techniques of quilting that I enjoy is English paper piecing so I was pleased to see that Vicki Bellino of Bloom Creek has written a book titled ENGLISH PAPER PIECING or as she says EPP which is much easier. Martingale and Company is the publisher of this book. For those of you who have never tried English paper piecing, Vicki takes the time to give you an excellent tutorial on the technique. What I especially liked is that she included the use of more than just the hexagon shape which is what most people think of when they think of English paper piecing. The book contains quilts, wall hangings and table runners using hexagons, diamonds, dresdens and pentagons in varying sizes. I really liked Black and Red and Gold All Over as well as Spinagons using the hexagon shape. Starflowers, using the diamond shape, is just the perfect small frame-able quilt. Two other gorgeous quilts using the diamond shape to create a star are Cabin Flowers and Just Judie. I love both of these quilts. A Dresden Delight and Dresdens on the Vine are both small projects that would be perfect for you to try this technique. A Dresden Delight can be framed, used as a table topper and used as a small wall hanging. Dresdens on the Vine is just the cutest table runner. This is a great book that may get you started on a new technique that is very portable.
STORY TIME is about “picture quilts to stir a child’s imagination”. Kim Gaddy is the author and Kansas City Star Quilts is the publisher of the book. If you have a child in your life, I think they would enjoy these quilts. The possibilities are endless as to the stories each quilt could generate just based on what is depicted on each quilt. Beau’s Busy Day and Baby Bunny’s Bedtime show all of the many activities of a two very cute animals. Old MacDonald has all of the farm animals and the big red barn. Worth the Wait and Birds and Bubble Gum are a hoot! I really liked Turtle Tree with the very determined turtles. These are but a few of the quilts included in the book along with the full size templates. Kim gives you directions on three options for doing the appliqué so that is quite helpful. STORY TIME has wonderful, well done pictures of the quilts that really show the detail of the quilting as well. The quilting definitely enhance all of the projects.
JUST SPOOLING AROUND is the latest book from Terri Degenkolb of Whimsicals. Play Me a Melody is not a quilt that you would associate Terri with but she made it for her musical son as he started college. The quilt uses music themed fabric in red, black, white and gray – definitely not what you think of for a Whimsical quilt. However, I like this quilt and the piano key top and bottom borders are very effective and “make” the quilt. Three Bags Full got its name from the bags of fabric scraps that Terri’s mom rescued and used to make this quilt. I love diagonals and this quilt does a great job with the diagonal. It is just so pretty. Strings of Stars has more diagonals but they are totally different from Three Bags Full. It is another pretty quilt. The book also has a cute table runner, pillow, spool themed quilt and two wool projects. One wool project is a uniquely shaped pin cushion and the other is a very useable project bag. Both are well done. This is another very nice book by Terri.
There are literally hundreds of books and patterns out there to choose from - Jean does an excellent job of finding the best for us to use in our quilting adventures!