The Weekend Quilter by Rosemary Wilkinson

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The Weekend Quilter by Rosemary Wilkinson

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Category: Crafts
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: A collection of sumptuous quilts to make in the course of a weekend. Whilst the possibility of making some of these quilts in a weekend would mean doing nothing else, they are projects which can be completed reasonably quickly and give a good result. There's something there for the beginner or the experienced needleworker.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 144 Date: May 2002
Publisher: Reader's Digest Association
ISBN: 0762103906

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I hoard material. I can't help it. Stray and orphaned pieces of material find their way into my workroom and find it difficult to leave, so there might well have been an ulterior motive when my husband bought me "The Weekend Quilter" edited by Rosemary Wilkinson when it first came out in hardback in 1997.

One look at the cover will tell you that these are sumptuous quilts, rich both in colour and design. Some are designed to be used on a bed and some are wall-hangings. All are presented so that they can be made in a weekend.

The book starts with the basics of cutting material accurately (most important if the quilt is to be successful) and the techniques used to piece the quilt top together. Provided that you are reasonably competent with a sewing machine (capable of sewing a straight seam without ending up in casualty) you will not find the techniques difficult to master and they are explained simply but with sufficient detail. Methods of quilting and making up the finished article are covered in the same, no-nonsense format. Once you've read this section you'll find yourself surprisingly confident about your abilities to produce a quilt.

The beauty of the book, though, is in the sections to come. Five designers each present five or six designs for quilts. You see the completed quilt, sometimes with alternative colour ways, and then there are step-by-step instructions to enable you to complete the quilt with a detailed list of the materials you'll need. There's even an estimate of the number of hours which it will take to complete each project. I think some are perhaps over-ambitious for completion in a weekend, but these are not the sort of projects which drag on for years and are stored in a bin bag behind the sofa.

The first quilt which I made was Gill Turley's "Winter Wall". "Bricks" of tweed and suiting material are built into a wall of subtle greys and blues and used to drape an ottoman in the design. In reality mine was made from autumnal shades and is not infrequently used by the dogs. The estimate of the time to complete the project (20 hours) was pretty close. I did most of the work over a long Bank Holiday weekend and finished it in the coming week. Perhaps the greatest compliment paid to the quilt was when I took it to be cleaned, only to be told that it would have been better if I'd left the label with the cleaning instructions attached to the quilt!

I'm accumulating the material to do Pauline Adams' "Weave Pattern" for my granddaughter when she graduates to a 'proper bed'. This is one of the quicker projects in the book, with a lap quilt taking about eleven hours, so I would imagine that the single bed quilt would take about twenty hours. The effect is of strips of striped material being woven together. A common theme throughout the book is of simple techniques producing a stunning result.

I would doubt that I will ever undertake any of the projects presented by Jenni Dobson or Carol Dowsett as they use techniques that I don't enjoy - appliqué and dying. I find the first too fiddly and the second too messy, but the designs are beautiful, particularly if you are looking for a wall hanging or a rather unusual sofa throw and it does mean that there is something there for just about everyone, whatever your favoured techniques.

My favourite quilts are by Anne Walker who also wrote the "Quick Quilt Techniques" at the beginning of the book. Her designs are all based on pioneer blankets. My teenage Godson refuses to be parted from his Navajo Blanket and a friend uses "Covered Fire" as a picnic blanket.

Currently I'm working on a Gill Turley quilt called "Bracken" as a wall hanging for the spare bedroom. It's an ingenious design using a variation of the traditional "Courthouse Steps" patchwork and it's tied using wooden or leather buttons. As always the material has been acquired gradually and some of it is actually cast-off clothing.

I've had exceptionally good value from this book. The techniques and designs have never let me down and I have a hobby which I find rewarding and which produces a very useful finished product. A beginner would find inspiration and confidence, but the more-experienced patchworker would still find some challenging projects.

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emmott said:

I bought the book after reading the review, I was really pleased with it when it arrived. Unfortunately not had time to start on the quilts yet!!