I am frequently asked to review new books (and occasionally sent hard copies) in the quilting genre. Since I can’t review them all, I tend to only share books that are exceptionally well done, really speak to me, or that I feel have a fresh perspective on looking at quilting in general. Both of these books Wise Craft Quits by Blair Stocker and Improv Paper-Piecing by Amy Friend fit all of the above criteria.
The subheading to Wise Craft Quilts is: A Guide to Turning Beloved Fabrics into Meaningful Patchwork. That is what really grabbed my attention when I first saw this book. I frequently get emails from people who are not necessarily quilters, but want to make a quilt to preserve memories whether they be t-shirts, baby clothes, clothes from a loved one who has passed away, etc. I’m going to admit that I do not have a lot of experience when it comes to those kinds of quilts, so I’m so excited to have a resource with good information about using a wide variety of reclaimed fabrics.
Throughout the book, Blair shows different forms of fabrics as well as different techniques for quilt assembly. This quilt is made from wool swatches from a traveling salesman selling custom suits. In this pattern, she offers great tips and techniques for piecing abnormally sized squares and rectangles as well as working with thicker fabrics like wool and corduroy.
This Sensory quilt is made with the idea of a quilt made for aging loved ones, constructed from favorite personal belongings. It’s a memory quilt, but by adding 3 dimensional aspects like yo-yos, lace, and fabric embellishments, the quilt also becomes a form of tactile stimulation. Such a thoughtful and useful quilt all in one.
Blair has a variety of ideas for quilts made from unconventional materials including t-shirts, baby clothes, men’s cotton shirts, a vintage tablecloth, and vintage handkerchiefs. This quilt is made using Tyvek race numbers from a variety of biking and running events. Such a creative idea that also creates a really durable and functional quilt for using at future events!
This is Blair’s twist on a traditional denim quilt. A perfect example of how she takes the well-known concept of making a sturdy quilt from worn-out jeans and gives it an upgrade with a classic Delectable Mountain-inspired design. The monochromatic denim gives the tradition patchwork a modern feel. As with each of the other vintage and reclaimed fabric choices throughout the book, there are lots of very helpful notes for working with and best preserving these fabrics.
Wise Craft Quilts contains 21 different quilt patterns, some traditionally-inspired, and others with an inspiring modern twist. All 21 projects are made up of different concepts and materials with lots of helpful information in each pattern. In addition to being chock-full of quilt designs and useful information, Wise Craft Quilts is also a gorgeous, hardcover book, full of inspiring photography and images worthy of a coffee table display.
Another book full of gorgeous images and inspiring photography is Amy Friend’s latest book, Improv Paper Piecing.
This is an awesome book for someone who is looking to try new things: whether it’s testing your paper-piecing skills in a slightly-less-precise environment (the improv side of things leaves more room for imperfection) or for someone who’s mastered traditional paper-piecing and traditional blocks and is wanting to try their hand at modern quilting or improv piecing in a somewhat more structured environment.
Amy provides 9 patterns in 3 categories: Inspired by Tradition – taking traditional blocks and making them ‘wonky’ or improvisational, such as these slightly off-kilter stars.
Shape-Based Designs – taking a traditional or symmetrical shape and breaking it up with randomly placed lines to give the design more of an edge as with this ‘wonky’ log-cabin block.
and Object Based Designs – taking a traditional shape or object and breaking it into a more simple, graphic form such as with this Kite Tails quilt. I think this one is my favorite. I’m dying to play with it and push myself in an Improv direction. It’s also such a great one for playing with color and contrast.
In addition to the patterns outlined in Improv Paper Piecing, Amy then gives you exercises to take her patterns and try something new to make an original design of your own. She provides a lot of structure and encouragement to help you stretch your improv-wings. 20 pages of templates are provided at the back of the book (some will need to be enlarged with a copy machine) to get you started. They could also serve as inspiration for you to draft your own.
Look for Wise Craft Quilts and Improv Paper-Piecing in your favorite quilt shop or local book store. Both of these books have inspired me to try new things and push myself beyond my comfort zone.
And I have a giveaways to share too!
First of all, Amy Friend is giving away a copy of EQ7 on her blog! You can read more about Improv Paper Piecing and how to enter the EQ7 giveaway here!
Second, I have a copy of Wise Craft Quilts to give away to one of you! Just leave me a comment telling me about a sentimental quilt you’d like to make someday. (To leave a comment, click on the ‘word-bubble’ icon at the top of the post with the number in it.) Giveaway open until Monday, April 3 at midnight MST. GIVEAWAY CLOSED
KAREN SEITZ March 28, 2017 at 5:43 pm
I’ve never made a Tshirt quilt, but I’ve been saving Tshirts to make one since I was young. I’d like to get to that project some day and have also been putting some thought into a quilt for my mom who has Alzheimer’s Disease. She isn’t to the point where she does not recognize things, but I hope to come up with something that provides familiarity as well as comfort for when that time comes.
*FTC Disclaimer: this post contains affiliate links