04 December 2013

Wish-worthy Quilting Books

The family I just married into is really into Christmas.


This is a big change for me.  The family I grew up in was only ever passingly interested in Christmas---there was never a huge build-up, a lot of Church-time, or a monstrous pile of presents.  As I grew up and lost interest in both conspicuous consumption and most aspects of religion, I stopped celebrating the holiday.  I would just have a quiet day at home, making myself a nicer meal than usual and catching up on television.

I'm a little reluctant to give up my blissful holiday of solitude and crappy television, but that's part of the deal now that I've married Jon.  And it's actually really splendid that Christmas is his side of the family's big holiday, because it means that I can always have my Thanksgivings in Wisconsin with my side of the family.  And oh do I love Thanksgiving.  That's my kind of holiday--we just hang out and watch football and do puzzles and go for walks and eat lots of delicious food.

One thing that I have found interesting is making a "Christmas List" for Jon's family to use while shopping for me.  This is not something I've had to do at any point in my life!  It is kind of fun to make a list of things that would make my life easier.  My list is mostly things that need replacing...my winter coat is looking a little too worn and my favorite slippers are falling apart at the seams. And of course, I put some books on my list.

It occurred to me that while I haven't taken the time to review many books this year, it might be fun to put together a quick list of quilt books that have come out this year that you might like to buy for a friend or add to your own lists (be they for Christmas, a birthday, or even for treating yourself!)

Wishworthy Quilt Books 2013


For a beginning quilter, Beginner's Guide to Quilting by Elizabeth Betts, is worth a look!  When I was planning my first "intro to quilting class" I looked at a number of beginner books to see if I wanted to have my students work from a book.  This was my favorite of the intro books I examined.  The techniques recommended are the same as what I recommend.  The instructions are clear and the projects are pretty.
Wishworthy Quilt Books 2013


First Steps to Free-Motion Quilting by Christina Cameli is a real gem of a book.  The basic premise is that while most of us know that we need to practice our free-motion quilting in order to improve our skills, we may not be willing to risk our precious quilt tops to the learning curve.  Cameli's solution is to provide 24 projects from bags and placemats to simple quilts that are good-looking but also simple enough that we won't mind subjecting them to our mistakes as we sharpen our skills.  This book is full of awesome information on all aspects of free-motion quilting on a domestic machine--it is an excellent resource for beginners and beyond.

Wishworthy Quilt Books 2013


For the improv quilter, Quilt Improv by Lucie Summers is highly recommended! I've always loved the glimpses of Lucie Summers's quilts that I've seen online.  Her book takes the reader through thirteen of her favorite improv blocks.  Most of these blocks are things that quilters will have seen before; however, Summers does a good job explaining how to construct them, does a decent job explaining the tradition behind the blocks, and she provides enough variety in her work that there's a lot of value in the book.  The blocks can be used in infinite ways and Summers walks the reader through the creation of twelve quilts that combine the blocks--from inspiration to basic layout.  This book would make a great gift for any improv quilter or any sewist looking to venture into improvisationally piecing their quilt tops.
Wishworthy Quilt Books 2013

Modern Color by Kim Eichler-Messmer is so exciting to me that I can hardly even express it!

Eichler-Messmer is has an MFA in textiles and in this book, she teaches her readers how to use Procion MX dyes to make fabric for use in quilts.  (That's the same permanent dye that is used by the apparell industry and that I use when doing itajime and batik).

This is a really approachable and beautiful book.  Most of the quilts are shown in two colorways (love that!) and should be equally appealing to modern and traditional quilters.  This book would make an excellent gift for any quilter or sewist interested in dyeing their own fabric.


Wishworthy Quilt Books 2013



A few more new books more that may be of interest, but which I don't know much about as I haven't read them yet!  Clicking on the cover image should take you to Amazon.com












And some books that are coming soon...











And for good measure, here are some books I think most quilters would benefit from owning!






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Disclosure of Material Connection: The links to Amazon above are an “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase an item, I will receive an affiliate commission.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising” and because I think it is the right thing to do.  

10 comments:

  1. My family is also big on Christmas and I am spoiled for life because of it! Christmas must be BIG! I also love it, though we've cut back on gifts in recent years. Thanks for the book recs- some of those I had not seen before!

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    1. I'm trying to just go with the Christmas flow! Glad to hear it can be fun!!

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  2. My husbands family is big on Christmas and I only discovered Christmas lists since joining them. I write my list but have this need to buy them things, which aren't on their list. Weird, I know.

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    1. I think that you're not alone! I used to try to do handmade holidays, but that was when I only had about 5 people to give gifts!

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  3. I like your take on Christmas! Christmas for me was always spent just with mum and dad and my brother. Some nice food, a stocking and a few presents and the tree (almost forgot) and helping mum cook and prepare food. This year will be the same with the addition of my parents in law, husband and son, with m & d at their house, taking it easy! I'm loving present buying this year as it's only for the kids, who are so much fun to buy for. Wishing you a very chilled time over Christmas with your new family :) PS) Great to read your take on the books too.

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  4. For me, Christmas is all about the reason it's celebrated in the first place. I can give up most of it - the cards, presents, and decorating, but not the sacred aspects of it. We haven't put up a tree (must be a real one since my parents owned a Christmas tree farm) for seven years now, but that doesn't change the meaning of this time of year.

    It's nice to see your book list. I'm presuming you must have checked out the beginner quilting book I wrote back in 2006 - "First Time Quiltmaking." It contains all the ways I like to share quilting with new quilters. I teach everything in the book, but they don't have to buy it. It's so rewarding teaching newbies, isn't it? I'm trying to revamp a couple of my basic designs, to give them a more modern look. The beginner book you've recommended looks like it does just that (at least from the cover). Thanks for all the good information!

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    1. I love teaching newbies and will look for your book (it wasn't in the libraries or book shops I perused!)

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  5. I've been looking at Steal Like an Artist today and then I see this recommendation.
    Also, thanks for the mention!

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