Friday, December 6, 2013

Review of 'The Loyal Union Sampler from Elm Creek Quilts'

Jennifer Chiaverini's 'Loyal Union Sampler from Elm Creek Quilts' is a great book containing 121-6" blocks made to form varied sampler quilts.  The blocks are based upon the book, 'Union Quilters', written by Chiaverini in 2011.  Just as in the Union Quilters' book, the Loyal Union Sampler blocks were created by 212 quilters, but using the same fabric sets, and a selected pattern for the quilt on the book cover.

All of the 121 blocks have detailed instructions on cutting and sewing.  Some of the blocks are well-known and traditional blocks, but many are newer blocks.  There are both easy blocks and some are more difficult to construct.  Fabric requirements are given for making an entire sampler quilt, which would be very helpful.  another nice thing about this book is that the 6" block size is interchangeable  with another Chiaverini book, Sylvia's Bridal Sampler.  You can design your own sampler quilt using your favorite blocks from each book.

Besides the sampler quilt on the book cover, Chiaverini made several other sampler quilts using bright fabrics, and they are very beautiful.

This is a very nice book for making a sampler quilt, and to stretch your piecing skills.  It will also become a favorite for civil war block collectors and quilters!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Review of Art Quilt Maps

'Art Quilt Maps' by Valerie S. Goodwin is an excellent book for beginning art quilters.   Art Quilt Maps, like any art quilting book, does not include direct patterns on how to produce an exact replica of the artist's work.  Goodwin lists materials and how to use them, including paints, making stencils to use, fusing fibers onto your quilt, and more.  She gives ideas for developing your ideas, using actual maps, imaginary 'virtual' quilts, and a combination of the two.  You will learn to develop a background for your map, creating lines for your map, adding stones and landscape items, and how to add a translucent layer on the top of your quilt.

Goodwin does not leave you hanging when it comes to what your finished project might look like.  In Art Quilt Maps, the author has included pictures of many art quilts that she has finished and that her students have made.

I really like this book because of all the instructions and examples that Goodwin has included, and prompts for developing your own quilt inspiration.  Given that maps are everywhere, including the ones that we see in our hearts and heads, we will never run out of quilts to make!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Book Review of ‘Modern Color’

Modern Color by Kim Eichler-Messmer is a combination between dyeing instruction, and modern quilting patterns and instruction.  Most books that I review are either dyeing books or quilting books, but Modern Color is a wonderful mix of both. 
The dyeing instructions are easy enough to follow for any beginner, starting with the very basics.  I dye on a regular basis, and there are even a couple of techniques later in the book, that I would even like to experiment with.
The quilting patterns are a wonderful addition to follow up with the dyeing instructions. The quilts are easy enough for beginners to use with their hand-dyed fabrics, and the modern designs offer many choices of style and colorations.  My favorites are the landscape quilts, which allow the quilter to use photographs or visits to nature for color inspiration, and the quilts that feature gradations of color.  While  Eichler-Messmer includes amounts of fabrics and dyes for each of her patterns, these are not ‘cookie-cutter’ quilts; ideas are included, but these quilt patterns do not provide instructions for exact replicas of her own quilts. 
Modern Color also teaches beginner quilters how to put their quilts together after they have been pieced, and how to finish them.

Very refreshing!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Review of Circle Pizzazz: 12 Vibrant Quilt Projects

I'm sorry I haven't blogged for a while; my computer crashed and you wouldn't believe all of the problems that I went through trying to get a 'new' re-furbished one.  That would take a whole other blog!  Did you ever try writing a blog with pictures on a Kindle?  Well... Here we go!

Circle Pizzazz: 12 Vibrant Quilt Projects

a.       Circle Pizzazz: 12 Vibrant Quilt Projects by Judy Sisneros is a beautiful book of quilts made from interlocking circles.  These quilts are made from Asian, batiks, scrappy, and many other types of fabrics.  I, myself, an experienced quilter tried making a block of 4 squares.  Even though the instructions are wonderful, there are still a lot of curves to sew, and in order to line up the seams, I developed a few puckers.  I have the book, 9-Patch Pizzazz, also written by Sisneros, and made a beautiful quilt from that book.  My recommendation is that you try making quilts from the 9-Patch Pizzazz and Rectangle Pizzazz before you attempt any of the blocks in Circle Pizzazz.  Even though the blocks and quilts in this book are great, there are still a lot of curves to sew, and if you are a beginner, these quilts would be very challenging for you.  I enjoy a challenge, and I will keep this book to work on at a later time.                                                 

     Later this week, I hope to have a tutorial written for one of these blocks, and I do have some dyeing projects to show you!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Product review of Color Magnet, and photo of results

New Product Review for "Color Magnet"

I dyed this scarf two days ago, using a new product, called Color Magnet.  I had purchased mine from Dharma Trading in a pen form, but there are larger sizes available. I really had doubts about whether it would perform as advertised, but I was pleasantly surprised.  I sell dyed bamboo scarves, and I'm always trying new methods to improve my products.

I used a leaf stencil over a sheet of plastic on our deck.  Color Magnet was easy to apply and was a little green or brown right after it was applied.  In the sunshine, the stenciled areas had dried in about an hour, and the stencilled leaves were invisible.  I used low-water immersion with Procion MX New Emerald Green.  After about 2 hours, I lifted the scarf out of the dye solution that held soda ash, and I could actually see leaves!

I've had several potential customers look at this scarf, and they all said they would be willing to purchase it.  How do you like the Color Magnet?

Saturday, June 15, 2013

New Book Review of "Inspired to Design" by Elizabeth Barton

I'm sorry that I've been missing so long!  Have had lots of health issues to deal with!

I've taken several online classes from Elizabeth Barton and the book "Inspired to Design, Seven Steps to Successful Art Quilts"  pulls knowledge from several of her classes into one great book.  Barton is a well-known quilt artist, that to me, seems like a landscape artist, but she makes most of her quilts into bright building landscapes.

Inspired to Design is a very comprehensive book, starting at the very basics, such as color theory, value, temperature, intensity of color, shapes, size, structure, depth, space, and more.  Later in the book, Barton offers some instructions on how to dye fabric color gradations.

Furthermore, in Inspired to Design, Barton demonstrates finishing techniques for art quilts.

I find the design issues that are discussed in Inspired to Design will apply to any art medium, not just in fabric art.  It is very well written!

Friday, April 5, 2013

I've been under the weather these past few months with operations and infections and not feeling well.  I am thankful for my readers that come back over and over again to read my blog.  I am feeling better today, so I've included a new book review for a new book!

‘Mixed-Media Master Class’ by Sherrill Kahn covers 50 or more techniques for use on paper and/or fabrics.  It is a great reference book for anyone wanting to improve or change their artwork.  ‘Mixed-Media Master Class’ is also a very good book for beginning students.  Kahn shows examples of what the project looks like and then, she lists the steps on how to do the techniques.  Kahn uses wonderful photography to aid the students’ learning. 
Some of the techniques in ‘Mixed-Media Master Class’ include using resists such as petroleum jelly, using textures, stenciling, making rubbings,  making and using handmade stamps, silk screening, how to use lutrador, Transfer Artist Paper (TAP), and computer-printed images. 
I like Kahn’s book because no matter what level you are as an artist, there will always be able to learn more from it.  It is a great book to help resolve your artist’s block!


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