Top positive review
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Beautiful Quilting Book for Modern Quilters
on October 25, 2010
I happened upon Elizabeth Hartman's first book, The Practical Guide to Patchwork, through my work and was beyond thrilled with it. This book is perfect for folks who are interested in quilting, but who have a hard time finding books that appeal to contemporary tastes (I'm in my 30s and most quilting books seem to be designed for an older (or traditional) aesthetic--I don't mean that in a negative way, it's just that people in their 20s/30s/40s often have different tastes than those in their 50s/60s/70s).
There are a number of things that stand out to me with this book:
1. I love the intro chapters on the basics of quilt-making. They're very thorough and don't make assumptions about understanding terms and techniques. This makes this book a great one for folks who are interested in quilting for the first time. The publisher has done a nice job of photographing the important steps as well, which is HUGE for people like me who need to see how things are done.
2. I love, love, love that the author has details for creating a distinctive backing for each quilt design. I forgot that there are so many ways to make a backing look unique and fun. I totally forget about backing by the time I'm done piecing a quilt and these suggestions and instructions for making the back as special as the top are wonderful.
3. The instructions for changing up fabrics to create a different look for each quilt was very helpful to me--again, the photos that demonstrate how the look can change was fantastic for a visual person like me.
4. The fabric choices in the quilt projects made a big difference for me in terms of making the designs appealing. They're contemporary prints that you'll recognize if you spend a lot of time in fabric stores, which helps even the simplest patterns in the beginning of the book feel fresh.
5. The quilts themselves are absolutely beautiful. My favorite is probably the simple leaf applique quilt, but they're all lovely.
The only thing I'd change is having detachable pattern pieces for the leaf applique, rather than images to trace or copy from the book. That's one of my pet peeves for craft books, but certainly not a deal breaker. I'd also love it if the book were spiral bound, so it would lie flat on a table. But, again, not a deal breaker.
Be forewarned: While I love this book, it is definitely contemporary or modern, and the designs are relatively simple. This style appeals to me because I'm super busy and I like contemporary. However, if you're a long-time quilter who wants more complex piecing, this isn't the book for you. If you're on the fence, and want to get a feel for the author's style, her blog is Oh Fransson, and the quilts there are very representative of what is in the Practical Guide to Patchwork.