review: Favorite Fabric Bowls, Boxes & Vases

Favorite Fabric Bowls, Boxes & Vases

Favorite Fabric Bowls, Boxes & Vases: 15 quick-to-make projects * 45 inspiring variations by Linda Johansen

Patterns for six bowls, five boxes, and four vases are included, with a few variations as part of each pattern. They use stiff interfacing (as opposed to clever engineering) to provide the structure of each item, and rely heavily on satin stitch for the seams. This uniformity of construction means that the projects all look fairly similar (the bowls especially seem just barely distinguishable from one another). The boxes would make nice vessels for gifts, but the look of these projects is just not my aesthetic.

full disclosure: I borrowed this book from the Kent District Library through the MeLCat interlibrary loan system

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review: Mixing Quilt Elements

Mixing Quilt Elements

Mixing Quilt Elements: a modern look at color, style & design by Kathy Doughty of Material Obsession

Doughty is an Australian quilt blogger, speaker, fabric designer, and so forth, and she traveled throughout Australia to photograph the quilts in this book. The resulting photos are gorgeous and though the background is often only just barely visible in the shot, the natural light and contrast of the backgrounds really works to showcase the lovely quilt work. Doughty espouses a slow approach to quilting, taking the time to hand piece and stitch and really appreciate the process. This doesn’t mean she skimps on the little things, though, as each one is highly detailed and the finished pieces have a harmonious blend of a lot of things going on. Familiar shapes and styles are found in each quilt, including log cabin, wedges, rings, octagons, and many more. Pattern pieces are included in a perforated section in the back.

full disclosure: I borrowed this book from the Baldwin Public Library through the MeLCat interlibrary loan system

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quick project: jewelry drawer liner

I continue to grab brooches and other pieces of jewelry at rummage and yard sales and the drawer I’ve been keeping them in has been a big jumble.

Quilted drawer liner

You can see that there’s a wide variety of stuff in here and that it moves around every time I open the drawer, making it hard to see what I have and find specific things. I had the idea to make a quilted drawer liner to keep things more organized.

Quilted drawer liner

This is the simplest design – it’s just two pieces of fabric with one layer of cotton batting, sewn all around the edge and then turned right side out, and a double line of stitching around the edge (closing the gap through which I turned it, as well as providing a nice detail and some stability). I thought about quilting it more than this, but decided that this was good enough. As I was able to remove the drawer to do this, it was easy to measure and make the liner the exact size of the drawer.

Quilted drawer liner

While I was at it, I did some sorting and found a number of items to get rid of (including no fewer than 6 pairs of cheapo sunglasses that were either scratched or didn’t fit very well – all in the Goodwill basket now!) So here’s the drawer with everything laid out neatly on the liner. Isn’t that so pleasing?

Quilted drawer liner

And here’s the drawer in place, from my vantage point (I’m not super tall compared to this dresser, but I can easily see everything here). I still have other jewelry in drawer organizer unit (which does not fit into this dresser – it fit into a previous one we owned, so now it’s sitting on a shelf) holding earrings, chain necklaces, and some other assorted sundries, but these are the brooches, bracelets, rings, and necklaces that I’m looking for at a moment’s notice and/or are best stored laying out. I will admit I even found a few things during this sort that I had forgotten I owned!

Tutorial:
1. measure your drawer
2. cut two pieces of fabric 1″ larger than the drawer’s measurement (1″ wider and 1″ longer)
3. cut one piece of cotton batting the same size as the fabric
4. place fabric pieces right sides together, and layer them on top of the cotton batting (doesn’t matter which way) so the three pieces are all lined up
5. sew around the perimeter with a 1/2″ seam allowance, leaving a 5″ gap on one side (or big enough to get your hand in)
6. trim the excess from the seam allowance except at the gap (especially be sure to trim around the corners)
7. reach in through the gap and turn right side out – you may wish to use a corner poker to get the corners turned out fully)
8. press well with the edges of the gap turned in tidily
9. stitch around the perimeter, being sure the gap is sealed – I used a longer stitch for a nice top-stitched look
10. stitch around the perimeter again an even distance from the first line of stitching

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review: The Quilter’s Paper-piecing Workbook

The Quilter's Paper-piecing Workbook

The Quilter’s Paper-piecing Workbook: Paper piece with confidence to create 18 gorgeous quilted projects by Elizabeth Dackson

I have not done much paper-piecing yet myself, but though I usually like to freehand things as I go, I’m interested to learn more about this technique to expand my repertoire. This book starts with practice mini-projects and moves from there to rookie, adventurous, and daring levels of projects. Each project comes with cutting charts that show exactly how to cut the fabric and piece it together. As a newb, this seems the most intimidating part so these charts are reassuring. The rookie level projects include blocks that could easily be created without using paper-piecing, which is a nice way for someone like me to see the differences in construction between methods. A CD is included with printable templates.

full disclosure: I borrowed this book from the Bay County Library System through the MeLCat ILL system

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review: Quilter’s Academy vol. 5 Master’s Year

Quilter's Academy vol.5

Quilter’s Academy vol. 5 – Master’s Year: A Skill-Building Course in Quiltmaking by Harriet Hargrave & Carrie Hargrave-Jones

This book, the fifth in the series, is intended to offer as inspiration more than instruction (the previous four volumes are more traditional pattern books), and focuses on medallion quilts. A history of medallion quilts is provided and includes some full color photographs of stunning quilts from as early as the 18th century. The authors then give instruction on planning a medallion quilt, making beginner-, intermediate-, and advanced-level medallion quilts, and recreating antique medallion quilts. Finally, there is an extensive section on borders which will be useful to makers of all types of quilts. Plenty of patterns are included throughout for those who wish to create the examples used in the book.

full disclosure: I borrowed this book from the Capital Area District Library through the MeLCat ILL system

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review: Quilting from Every Angle

Quilting from Every Angle

Quilting from Every Angle: 16 Geometric Designs by Nancy Purvis

Geometry is a part of quilting (whether one recognizes it as such or not) and Purvis takes inspiration from the building blocks of squares, rectangles, and triangles. She looks for these shapes all around her in everyday life and then translates those images into quilts (in a non-literal way) and here provides some instruction to the reader on how to do the same. Some aged and slightly broken pavers can inform the design of a quilt block, as can a photograph of a landscape, for example. Some introductory quilting techniques are included. Purvis started writing about quilts on her blog and throughout the book encourages readers to engage others using social media, such as sharing their creations using hashtags. Each pattern includes all the information needed to make it with diagrams for piecing and assembly. I just wish she’d included photos of her inspiration for each one – it would have been really neat to see the inspiration side by side with the resulting quilt.

full disclosure: I borrowed this book from the St. Charles District Library through the MeLCat ILL system

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review: On the Go Bags

On the Go Bags

On the Go Bags: 15 handmade purses, totes & organizers – unique projects to sew from today’s modern designers by Lindsay Conner and Janelle MacKay

This book contains instructions for making a variety of types of handbags by sewing and related construction techniques. Most include dimensions for cutting fabric and use minimal computer-generated diagrams to illustrate the how-to of constructing the item. Pattern pieces for a few items are included in a perforated section at the back. While these instructions are fairly detailed, I have been spoiled by the excellent bag patterns created by Erin of Dog Under My Desk, and these just do not measure up. I prefer Erin’s actual photographs to the diagrams here, and her patterns never skim over the little details that make a handmade bag look perfect. The instructions here are fine, just not the level I’m accustomed to.

full disclosure: I borrowed this book from the East Lansing Public Library through the MeLCat ILL system

Sources-
www.sewingmachine.today

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review: The Art of Whimsical Stitching

The Art of Whimsical Stitching

The Art of Whimsical Stitching: Creative stitch techniques and inspiring projects by Joanne Sharpe

This book covers a range of stitching techniques including machine and hand sewing, quilting, and embroidery. Sharpe’s goal is to enable the maker to create unique art using the artist’s preferred choice and combination of methods. The pieces shown also use fabric painting, dye, art markers, and more. Some basic information about using these tools and techniques is provided, along with inspiration pieces created by the author. The bulk of the book consists of projects that showcase one or more techniques and include utilitarian items like bags and pillows as well as pieces created purely to be art. Fans of mixed media collage will find lots of inspiration and useful information here.

full disclosure: I borrowed this book from the Capital Area District Library through the MeLCat ILL system

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review: Handmade Heirlooms

Handmade Heirlooms

Handmade Heirlooms: Crafting with intention, making things that matter, and connecting to family & tradition by Jennifer Casa

This book embraces the idea of family heirlooms being special keepsakes that are, more often than not, handmade by someone in the family. One doesn’t often think of creating new heirlooms, but this book challenges the reader to do just that – instead of simply making a gift for a family member, make something that will be loved by that person and handed down over the years. These projects are made using a variety of techniques including knitting, crochet, sewing, and more. They range from traditional baby items like booties and caps to more unique objects like a knitted airplane toy. Some are more utilitarian, like a knitting needle roll and a monogrammed bulletin board.

full disclosure: I borrowed this book from the East Lansing Public Library through the MeLCat ILL system

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