The Complete Guide to Quilting Techniques: Essential Techniques and Step-by-Step Projects for Making Beautiful Quilts by Pauline Brown
|The Complete Guide to Quilting Techniques: Essential Techniques and Step-by-Step Projects for Making Beautiful Quilts by Pauline Brown|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: A rare craft book which has something for the expert as well as a very good grounding for the complete beginner. I loved it!|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 256||Date: September 2014|
|Publisher: Ivy Press|
Quilting is a generic term covering patchwork, quilting itself and appliqué. All three require different skills and you'll find them all covered to a greater or lesser extent in this gorgeous book. There's an introduction covering the origin of the skills - patchwork developing amongst the pioneer women of early America for whom it was an essential way of keeping their families warm, as did quilting and for much the same reason. Appliqué is rather more decorative and luxurious and the original appliqué quilts were made to commemorate special occasions. Don't think that quilting is a craft mired in the past though - over my lifetime I've seen numerous developments and tried many of them for myself.
I've a confession to make. Every minute when I'm not here in Bookbag Towers, I'm quilting. I make lap quilts, cot quilts and larger quilts which can be used as wall hangings or on a bed. They're surprisingly popular with people, even though I explain to them that most of the materials are upcycled but spotlessly clean. You see, I started making quilts at a time when money was extremely tight and they did provide much-needed warmth. In those days I used old towels as the batting layer and outgrown or worn out clothes made the toppers. If you're an assiduous collector of fabric (I have boxes in all sorts of strange places) then it can be a reasonably inexpensive and very rewarding craft.
The equipment needed is really quite modest. If you do normal household sewing them you may well find that you have at least enough to get you started and the suggestions given in the book are all reasonable, practical and won't involve you in a great deal of expense. Do take note of the advice about getting a thimble and some finger protection or you can end up with a very sore couple of digits. (That was the voice of experience speaking!) There are suggestions for design equipment, but you would probably be best acquiring this as you become more experienced and see what you need. Do take heed of the advice on fabric though - it could save you a lot of time and effort. It's always worth remembering with quilting that the major investment is your own time and you don't want to get halfway through a major project only to realise that it really doesn't work.
I particularly appreciated the instructions on techniques. It's almost fifty years since I first quilted and times and equipment have changed. I'm self-taught with a rotary cutter and the book opened up all sorts of possibilities which I hadn't considered. I sew my quilts by hand but you might be surprised by how quickly you could build a quilt using machine piecing and there are some excellent pages on the subject which show you how to create some of the traditional and well-known designs. Many of these use small amounts of any one fabric and would make good projects for the beginner.
Within patchwork there are many different techniques: quilters tend to develop expertise in their favoured technique (I swear by English paper piecing) and stick to it, but it's not a bad thing to branch out a little. You want to know about the projects though, don't you? It would be easy to make quilts from the traditional designs shown, but there are several specific projects through which you're guided. A good starting point would be the pillow shown on the cover, which uses patchwork, quilting and appliqué. I'm determined to try some curved patchwork. In half a century I've never plucked up the courage but the instructions are clear and there are all the templates I need (for this and the other projects) in the back of the book.
I have tried cathedral window patchwork in the past, but without success. There's a stunning table cover which does tempt me. I think I need to put some time aside! On reflection though, I might try Japanese folded patchwork first which has a similar look but you include the batting as you go along. Applied patchwork is great for using up pieces of material - I have a dog blanket for the car which is now on its third dog and it still looks good. There's a gorgeous machined quilt in autumnal colours which seriously tempts me. I wouldn't have thought that red and brown went together, but they look glorious.
In the section on quilting (as a specific skill, rather than the generic term) there are some brilliant tips. I'd never thought of using masking tape to produce straight lines! Doh! There are even instructions on how to cut your own stencils and some very sensible advice on sewing the actual quilt. I felt more confident than I have with any other book - if I'm completely honest I have to admit that my quilting is not up to the standard of my patchwork, but I might be able to remedy this now.
My other weakness has been appliqué, but I feel confident enough having read the basic instructions to have a go. Brown is very sound on how to deal with curves, corners and points, which have always confounded me!
There's enough in this book to keep me going for years. In addition it's a beautiful book - they always are when Ivy Press publish them. It stays open when you put it on the table. The production values are top class and it's a pleasure to look at. I'd like to thank the publishers or sending a copy to the Bookbag.
If this book appeals then we think that you might also enjoy Lucky Spool's Essential Guide to Modern Quilt Making by Susanne Woods (Editor) if you have a little more experience. If you'd like to try your hand with some woolen fabrics then do have a look at Hand-Stitched Home: Projects to Sew with Pendleton and Other Wools by Susan Beal.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Complete Guide to Quilting Techniques: Essential Techniques and Step-by-Step Projects for Making Beautiful Quilts by Pauline Brown at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Complete Guide to Quilting Techniques: Essential Techniques and Step-by-Step Projects for Making Beautiful Quilts by Pauline Brown at Amazon.com.
Like to comment on this review?
Just send us an email and we'll put the best up on the site.