The one that’s going to stretch your book budget

Last night was the second meeting of the Des Moines Modern Quilt Guild–we had a few less attendees, but the weather was awesome, so I suspect some were outside enjoying family time on a pleasant Summer evening!  We are still finding our groove… and have some ideas for pumping up the next meeting already!  The sixteen of us that came shared our favorite quilting books with the group, and let me tell you, my Amazon wishlist grew a bit last night!  WARNING:  Reading this post may do the same to you!

Tricia brought along a book about creating your perfect Quilting space, because let’s face it, which one of us doesn’t have that dream studio floating around inside our heads?  I’ve seen Tricia’s sewing space, it’s big, but it’s in an unfinished basement that serves as her boys’ playroom and her work-at-home-hubby’s office as well–dream big Tricia!  I have a copy of that one in my library, too–great resource even if you only have a small corner of a room to fix up into a proper sewing area.

Crystal and Jill M. both mentioned Malka’s book as one of their newest faves, but didn’t bring a copy to share…  I have a copy gifted to me for Christmas by my friend Toni, and I can assure you it is well worth the price!  It’s so full of fun, bright colors and fresh project ideas.

Kris shared Linda Otto Lipsett’s Remember Me, a book of quilt history talking about signature or friendship quilts, like the one Victoria is collecting blocks for.  There are no patterns, just diary entries and stories of groups of girlfriends from days gone by doing the same things we are doing today via flickr and the blogosphere…  Kris also shared that she’s enjoyed everything written by this author.

Karen is a relatively new quilter and she shared this book, The Ultimate Quilters Visual Guide, given to her by the person who first introduced her to quilting.  It’s her fave because of the personal connection, but it is also a valued go-to answer book when she comes across a term she doesn’t recognize, or a method that’s new to her.  BTW, Karen writes a fun blog, you should check it out!

Our resident linen and asian fabric devotee, Veronica, brought along FIVE faves, all by Japanese designers, and we all had fun gawking over those.  Many of the intructions are in Japanese, but the photos and illustrations are amazing, and one really doesn’t need to read the instrctions, anyway, right?!?  This one is so being added to my library next week!

A book I had not heard of before, but was shared by Maria, Stash Happy Patchwork is full of super cute small projects…yeah, I’m buying this one too!  I mean, look at that adorable cactus pincushion?!?

Penny and Lisa S. both shared Elizabeth Hartman’s book, which I’ve been told by more than one person is a great basic reference book…might have to add that one to my library as well.  (Hmmm, the book budget is going to get a workout this month.)

More than a few of us mentioned that we love the Material Obsession and Material Obsession Two books… I have MO-1 and used it to make this quilt, (which is at my quilter’s house right now).  Our Guild happens to meet at a local library and I know the library has them both in their stacks.  I’ve checked MO2 out from there before.  Both fabulous books for inspiration and unique patterns.

Until I saw this book in person last night, I thought, why would I need a book on log cabins, it’s a basic pattern and so easy to interpret yourself into a new design?  Well, let me tell you, this is a fabulous book!  Modern Log Cabin Quilting is full of unique project ideas, combinations of fabrics such as cordouroy and linen, small projects as well as full quilts–worth checking out quilters!  Penny, Jill Mc and Meghan all brought copies of this to share with the group and raved about it!

The book I shared was Applique Outside the Lines, by the Piece O’ Cake Designs ladies.  They were one of the first established pattern companies to recognize the modern quilting movement by joining in, this book is a great reference for developing modern/fresh/bold color combinations; raw edge applique; and asymmetrical organic designs that are influenced by traditional applique designs and methods.  It’s great eye candy and good information all in one…

Etta brought a block reference book (one of the biggies–as did Linda) and she also brought this book on fabric manipulation.  I have looked at this book online before from the standpoint of wanting to get better at my garment sewing, but I hadn’t looked at it from the perspective of quilting before…  Anyone with any interest in art quilts would find this book to be a great addition to your library.

One thing we all agreed on, while we may not actually read all of these books, we love to collect them and great photography (read: eye candy) is essential to draw us in and satisfy our hunger for them.  I wrote a post over two years ago, about utilizing quilting books from the library.  I still stand behind each of those books as great reference for any quilter! 

Do you have a favorite quilting book we didn’t mention at last night’s meeting?  Please comment, I’d love to hear about it!

1000 Pieces, and Counting

In my last post, I showed my recent library loan reads, and mentioned the book above deserved a post of its own. This book was published in 2007 by Sue Reich. She collected 1,000+ snippets of newspaper posts spanning 100 years of “news-worthy” quilting announcements. The newspaper coverage of our craft in the 19th Century apparently spurred an un-official “contest” among quilters to create the quilt with the most pieces, referred to by the author as multitudinous quilts. You’ve probably seen one if you enjoy looking at vintage quilts, a quilt made of those meticulously small postage stamp sized squares, or triangles, or hexagons, HAND-sewn into a bed sized quilt. There are images throughout the book of these multidtuinous quilts, mostly from private collections (sorry, the photos I included here are from my collection, not from the book).My sweetie and I both enjoyed reading this book. The colorful language of the newspaper reporters and editors is delightful, sometimes rather unkind to the quilter, but always astute and thorough. I included some of my favorites here…

This one, obviosuly written by a man, will infuriate any quilter today… from the Zanesville (Ohio) Daily Courier…November 8, 1877:

“Another silly Ohio woman has just completed a quilt containing five thousand pieces. A woman who should spend her time over such worthless nonsense, when there is so much useful and beautiful work to be done in the world, ought top be ashamed of herself.”

Apparently in his eyes, the quilt that kept her and her husband or her children warm on a cold Ohio night wasn’t considered beautiful, nor was it useful.
Many of them are much more favorable than that and often tout the stitching prowess of the very young (8-9 years old) or the very old (80 years plus!) I love when they counted everything, like this one, because it reminds me of notes left behind by my grandparents noting details and counts of mundane daily facts.

“Miss Eliza Kidd, of Keene, KY, is only twenty years of age, but has immortalized herself by finishing a crazy quilt containing 58,841 pieces, 562,897 stitches, 21 spools of threads abd 30 yards of cloth.” –from the Defiance (Ohio) Democrat, January 1, 1885.

And this one just makes me laugh! From the Stevens Point (Wisconsin) Journal, August 9, 1884:

“The girl with soft gray eyes and rippling brown hair who walked all over your poor fluttering heart at the charity ball, has just finished a crazy quilt containing 1,064 pieces of neckties and hat-linings, put together with 21,390 stitches. And her poor old father fastens on his suspenders with a long nail, a piece of twine, a sharp stick, and one regularly ordained button.” HA!

and should you feel your modern day schedule is too busy or full to get any of your crafting done, to say nothing of your household duties, consider this grand old gal’s accomplishments from the winter of 1854/1855. From the Bangor (Maine) Daily Whig & Courier…June 23, 1855:

“ONE ‘OF THE OLDEN TIME’ A lady of Plainsfield, Mass., aged 80 years, has this past winter, made with her own hands, 17 quilts, consisting of 4300 pieces cut by pattern, worked 978 scallops, cut and made 8 dresses, knit 3 pairs of striped mittens, made butter from two cows, besides the general housework for a family. She has also written over nearly a quare of paper.”

Just reading her list of finishes makes me feel like I want a nap! This is a book I recommend any quilt admirer and history buff track down. It is a very quick read, extremely insightful and entertaining, and the photos of vintage quilts are truly inspiring!

So…have you ever counted the number of pieces in any of your quilts?

Library Love

Do you utilize your public library? If you aren’t using it, you are seriously missing out. This was my haul from this week…

The two on the top are my non-quilting “reads”, a novel on CD to listen to while I sew, and a nutrition book to read before bed each night. The rest of these babies…all quilting…all the time! And some brand-new, very recently published titles! I mean seriously, these are still on the “new” shelf at the Barnes & Noble stores!


I spend a lot of money on books. I used to work for Barnes & Noble and took full advantage of my employee discount. My sister once said to me, while helping me move to a new apartment, “Seriously, Doris, more time at the library, less time at the booktore.” Apparently the number of boxes labeled “books” seemed excessive in her opinion. But, I’ve always used my library, everytime I moved to a new community/city/state, one of my first stops would be the library to apply for a card. But sometimes, I try a book on for size from the library and go buy a copy for my own bookshelf anyway. Like this one…

This book is actually ten years old, but the info is still extremely relevant. The author, Lee Cleland, made 15 different quilt patterns up into quilts, making five identical quilts of each one (yes, 75 quilts for this book, alone!) Then she quilted each one completely differently to demonstrate how “quilting makes the quilt”. You can kind of see on the cover there three different versions of the same quilt design. I have a used copy on its way to my mailbox already! The patterns for making the 15 quilts are in the book as well.

I’m recently obsessed with string quilts, so this book is thrilling me to tears! And speaking of obsessions…
Ruth B. McDowell is my FAVORITE quilter of all time, my ultimate dream is to take a workshop with this woman…I own every book she has published, except this one….which is as awesome as all the others…

And my sweetie and I have both been enjoying this one…it is a compilation of quilt related newspaper clippings from the early 1800s through the early-20th century. I will have to do a separate post highlighting some of the gems from this book! It has kept us in stitches…no pun intended!

And finally, I am mastering free-motion quilting!!!!!!! Don’t look too close (if you enlarge this pic) ’cause it is my true effort, meaning not on a practice sandwich. It’s a small scale meander on my French Roses quilt. There are definitely a few ugly spots in there, but most importantly, my machine is finally fixed and I am able to do this!!!! YEAH!

Maggy is there to provide assistance, as always… Thanks, Mags.

A Fabulous Find

I found this book at an Antique Store not long ago, for the exorbitant price of $4. It could have been marked $40 for all the information it holds! It’s titled The New Encyclopedia of Modern Sewing, and my copy is a second “new” edition printed in 1946. It’s in great shape other than a little shelf wear on the beautifully embossed cover.
I love the little image on the front cover. And the image that really sold me was this title page photo of the smart war-time woman with her wool hat, jacket and adorable wool handbag (pattern included in this book!)There are instructions (and patterns!) for making just about anything for you, your family and your 1940s home in this book. It covers curtains, table linens, upholstery,
embroidery, clothing for the lady of the house,
Clothing for the kiddies, Tools of the trade, including what you will need in your sewing room and how to best set it up, And, how to be a thrifty recycler in those post war years. The caption under this photo reads “First quality material such as Government issues should not be wasted. The adorable coat for the little girl is made from a tar’s jumper, while the small boy’s suit was once his sailor-daddy’s ‘bell bottom trousers’. See the chapters on tailoring and Repeat Performance for helpful hints in accomplishing a make over project of this kind.”
You know I love a good recycling project!

The illustrations are awesome throughout this book. One of my favorites was this royal pair:
Touting the importance of a dainty, elegant bridge cloth. I recently acquired two bridge cloths with matching luncheon napkins in my vintage linen haul in June. Here is one of them and a deatil shot of the clever embroidery:
The napkins (I don’t have a photo of these yet) are equally adorable.
I think every 21st Century sewer/quilter/seamstress/crafter should have a volume like this in their library. I’ve seen others, and they amaze me at what a wealth of information they are; covering a multitude of topics in one binding. Our contemporary publications tend to focus on one topic or technique. This one will be a treasure in my library for the rest of my days, no doubt.