It has been quite a while since I have done a book review. When I saw an email from C&T Pubs in my in-box a couple of months ago, I was delighted. I really enjoy working with them as they publish so many high quality books. This set of books is a bit different though.
When I read that these books, the Quilting Cozy series, were described by the author, Carol Dean Jones, as a Cozy series of books, I didn’t know what that referred to. Of course Wikipedia answered all my questions. Per Wikipedia, ‘Cozy mysteries, also referred to as “cozies”, are a subgenre of crime fiction in which sex and violence are downplayed or treated humorously, and the crime and detection take place in a small, socially intimate community.’ This is new to me. (I don’t generally read mysteries). C&T Pubs provided me with a copy of a book in the series. Titled Tie Died, it is the first book in the series. About a woman who has recently moved into a senior living village, she takes up quilting (among other hobbies) to meet other people. The story is sweet and short and of course there is both a love interest and a murder mystery to be solved. I will say the twist at the end took me by surprise.
Each book includes the full pattern for the quilt shown on the cover.
There is a reader’s guide available too. Ms. Jones put together a collection of discussion points and questions that go with the books. Some of the questions do contain spoilers so you may want to read the book before looking through the reader’s guide.
I found it interesting to learn that the author, Carol Dean Jones, wrote her first book at the age of 73. She was a geriatric social worker prior to retiring. This gives her a realistic perspective on the issues with aging and all that comes with this stage of life. This insight adds a very genuine touch to her books. Carol is also an experienced quilter which adds greatly to the stories. Having the stories built around the lives of several women in this retirement village, Carol brings up thought-provoking questions about friendship, crime, responsibility, aging, and marriage. The books would be fun to read and chat about at your next small group quilt club meeting. You can read more about this author on her website.
The release of the Quilting Cozy series is being celebrated this week with a blog hop. There is a very generous giveaway on each blog in the hop. C&T Pubs has given each of us one full e-book set to give to a lucky reader.
Check out these posts for more on this set of books as well as more chances to win.
To enter the giveaway for the series of Quilting cozy e-books, leave me a comment. Tell me if you are a reader and what genres do you enjoy? Do you like mysteries? Did you know what a cozy was?? Have you read any of the books in this series? I love to read and would love to chat with you about what you enjoy! Good luck everyone! Giveaway is open until Sunday. I will announce the winner Monday.
In the excitement of the holiday weekend, Black Friday sales activities and other distractions, I forgot to draw the winner of the Make Wall Quilts e-book. This morning, using my scientifically random system of drawing names ( Hey Julia, what is a number between 1 and 42?), Nancy was selected as the winner of the book. Nancy, I hope you enjoy it and make some fun projects with it! Remember, if you want a copy of the book – it is a bargain on Amazon. Truly – only $2.56 for the hard copy of the book. Great gift for yourself or your quilty friends!
Now that business has been taken care of, want a peak at the quilt I am making? Sarah Goer is a talented quilter, pattern designer, and blogger. We both started our blogs at roughly the same time and became friends at that time. This is the second time I have pattern tested for her and I really enjoy it. Before having children she was a math teacher at the junior high school level. I think this gives her a great background for pattern writing. An affinity for math and puzzles gives her the skills to write a clean, well understood pattern. For now though, this is all I am going to say! Here is a look at what I am working on.
I asked for opinions on color choices on Facebook and Instagram about a week ago and got lots of feedback. This blue and yellow combo was quite popular and I am very happy with the look so far!
Finally, I was reading the news this morning and saw an article about Facebook that caught my eye. Facebook gets a bad reputation from the way fake news is often generated, hysteria builds based on ridiculous, irresponsible posting, the cyber-bullying that occurs etc. Much of this is due to poor decision making on the part of the Facebook user community as well as lack of parental monitoring of the youth that use social media. When Facebook introduced live video options last year some really disturbing videos were posted. In response to this, Facebook hired a large team (3,000+ employees) to monitor the videos for harmful content or intent. For quite a while now, they have monitored text for any disturbing conversation that may indicate children and potentially abusive adults (sexual predators) They will notify authorities when suspicious text is found.
Now Facebook has expanded their use of Artificial Intelligence to scan posts for text that indicates possible suicidal tendencies. When such information is picked up, there is a team of interventionists ready to contact the person posting as well as persons who may have responded to the posts with supportive information such as suicide hot line phone numbers and other resources which may be able to assist. Realizing that this sort of intervention has to happen quickly, Facebook has trained employees available at any hour to speak with authorities in the language of their country if something suspect is found.
Facebook is a powerful social media platform with over two billion users. Many would say Facebook noses around where they shouldn’t. That they push annoying ads targeted at users and monitor conversations to be able to do so. However, it is my belief that people using Facebook are making a decision to be posting on a highly monitored platform and thus making their lives somewhat public. I think it is a good thing to know that the company uses the tools they have to try to protect the safety of the users. I am curious to hear your thoughts on this. To me it shows a very responsible use of the incredibly powerful technology developed by Facebook.
Off to the sewing room! I want to make some good progress on the baby quilt I am making with Sarah’s pattern. Hope everyone is carving out a little creative time in their day.
Note: This post contains affiliate links meaning if a reader clicks a link on my page and makes a purchase, I will be paid a small amount. This payment does not increase the price of the sale to the customer.
Today I would like to share a book review with you. C & T Publishing asked me to review one of their new books, Make Wall Quilts: 11 Little Projects to Sew (Make Series). In a nutshell, I would say I love everything about the book except for the title. The title didn’t grab me and as I clicked on the link to the book, I was going in with a negative attitude. Luckily the actual book is wonderful. I suppose this means one shouldn’t judge a book by its title!
This book is a compilation of eleven different wall, or mini, quilts. Each is from a different, well known quilt designer. There are projects from Camille Roskelly, Kim Schaefer, Rebecca Bryan and Heidi Staples in the book as well as several others. Taking projects from books previously published by the designers is a genius idea as it provides a variety of styles in one book. You probably know just from reading the names above that the book contains modern and traditional projects made with a variety off techniques. I am a fan of reading quilt books (no surprise there!) but each one usually has a particular theme or style to it. With this book, the quilter can try a variety of styles and techniques. The projects are not large which means they are easily accomplished.
Well, all except one! For me the Huckleberry Quilt designed by Rebecca Bryan looks challenging and maybe out of my skill range. But this is a good thing – it further affirms the book has something for everyone from the beginner to the more experienced quilter. The fact that this riff on a color wheel requires 72 different color fabrics is enough to intimidate me. I have enough difficulty choosing color and if I had to choose 72 different solids I might go right over the edge. But while you are here, take a look at the quilting on this piece. Stunning!
The reader might choose to make a modern applique project or a traditional one. I really like the look of this quilt designed by Jennifer Dick, appropriately called Mod. Again just take a look at the quilting here. Gorgeous!
Quilters who favor traditional applique might enjoy this one. Called Outside In, this project was designed by Becky Goldsmith. It is a larger piece, finishing at 30″ x 36″ but very doable. I love the cat at the top. She has attitude.
Quilters without improv piecing experience might like to learn from the Lazy Log Cabin project designed by Laura Wasilowski. The blocks in the piece are six inches with the total quilt finishing at 17″ square. It is Laura’s use of bold color which makes this project stand out to me.
Most of the projects in this book could easily be expanded to a larger size quilt if the reader wanted to make a baby or lap size quilt with the project. This further exemplifies the flexibility of the book. I really give high praise to C & T for curating this great selection of projects and publishing them in one book.
C&T has generously offered a copy of the e-book to give away to one lucky reader. But if you are not the winner, I do recommend purchasing this book, either for your library or as a gift. It is a lovely collection of a variety of projects, truly a something-for-everyone kind of book.
To enter to win a copy, please leave a comment on this post. Tell me what your favorite quilting technique is at the moment. Is it EPP, paper piecing, improv piecing, traditional block piecing, applique? What do you enjoy most? Giveaway will be open until Friday and I will pick a winner on Saturday.
If you would like to purchase the hard copy of the book, it is on sale at Amazon for a steal of a price! (Affiliate Link)
I doubt I will post again this week so let me wish you a Happy Thanksgiving. I do love this time of year. Celebrating gratitude for all we are blessed with feels good and reminds us that even if we are enduring difficulty, we still have much to be thankful for.
Note: Needle & Foot is an Amazon Affiliate meaning if you were to click through and purchase the book, I will receive a small stipend for the purchase.
Today is my day to post a review and host a giveaway of a fun new quilt book. If you are here for the first time via the blog hop, welcome! The book of the day is Angie Wilson’s Fussy Cutter’s Club published by C&T Publishing. You may know Angie as she is the queen of online quilt alongs and swaps. She thrives on leading large groups of quilters through complicated projects such as her current QAL making Jen Kingwell’s Gypsy Wife Quilt – not for the faint of heart for sure. For more info on the events she is currently leading and has done in the past, click here.
It was about two months ago when I was invited by C&T Pubs to review Angie’s upcoming book. Right away I was intrigued by the title of the book and the gorgeous cover. I know we aren’t supposed to judge a book by its cover, but come on. Look at this cover! It just pulls the reader in at the get go. Angie’s reputation for mad skills with fabric play and use of color assured me the book would be worth the time to read, review and create with.
The premise of the book is to learn to look at your stash with a new perspective – Angie teaches the reader to use your fabric by cutting into it and emphasizing the bits you love the most. The book is well written and the instructions for each of the 14 projects are precise and easy to understand. Angie takes the reader through the design process, how to best use your fabrics, color theory and more, prior to introducing projects. She really did a great job with this book. The projects range from the very simple to quite complex (again, look at the cover!)
For my project, I chose to make the tote bag. Angie rated it as an Intermediate project but with her clearly written instructions, I didn’t have any trouble. Following Angie’s thoughts on color for this project, I chose a limited palette.
My bag is built around a piece of vintage fabric I have from the 1950’s. It is a kitschy print featuring red, brown and black kitchen appliances, clocks and coffee cups. I loved the idea of using vinyl for the bottom of the bag (looks great and gives durability) and found this textured vinyl at Ben Franklin. Once I had my focus fabric and the vinyl, the rest of the fabric was pulled from my scrap bins.
Since the red coffee cup was the primary focus, I decided to use mainly black, brown and white with the occasional pop of red. Most of my fabrics had a vintage look to them except the coffee themed text prints. Those are clearly current and modern but I liked the idea of including the coffee text with the other fabrics, to further the coffee theme of the bag. The main fabrics I fussy cut were the coffee cups and saucers, the text prints, and the tiny black coffee pots on the vintage fabric.
Making the slabs for the outside of the bag was really fun – I have improv pieced in the past, but it has been a long while. Putting these scraps together was very satisfying. I did reduce the size of the bag by a few inches in width and length. I am fairly short and the bag seemed like it would be too big for me at the original size but breaking it down to reduce it was easy.
The two main slabs and the vinyl bottom are assembled here
I learned quite a bit about fussy cutting. Like anything, the more you do it, the better it becomes. Looking back, I feel I should have trimmed the bits I fussy cut closer in. I left too much peripheral pattern and that detracts from the focal point. Note the cup and saucer below. I think if I would have trimmed it down a bit and removed the little bits of coffee pots, it would have been much cleaner. In the picture above, take a look at the text print. Were I to do this again, I would not allow the other words to appear. I really only wanted the word “coffee” to be the focus. But live and learn (or sew and learn?). Next time I will remember these bits and pieces that really make a difference in a project.
When assembling the bag, Angie’s instructions called for me to line the outer pieces with fusible interfacing and then to apply fusible batting. I was skeptical at first but it really makes the structure of the bag a nice combination of crisp and soft (does that make sense?) The addition of the fusible interfacing gave it a nice shape. Once I had those layers assembled, I used simple straight line quilting to hold all three pieces in place.
Her pattern calls for fabric straps but I had plenty of the vinyl so I decided to make the straps with that instead. I like the look of it and was pleasantly surprised that my machine had no issue stitching through several layers of vinyl. (I did use a heavy duty jeans needle.)
My model shows just how cute this tote bag is!
Overall, it was a great project and I felt the book was a great inspiration to look at my fabric with a different perspective. The tote is really fun (as you can see with my always available bag model.) It traveled with me to Vermont last week and when combined with the cross body bag I made, it was the perfect set up.
This is just one example of the projects that Angie designed for her book. There are thirteen others though, including pillows, coasters, minis and zip pouches. To take a look at some of the projects, here is a list of the bloggers celebrating this new book. Check them out for lots of inspiration as well as several chances to win a copy of the Fussy Cutters Club book! As with most book giveaways, if the winner is international, an e-book will be provided. If in the states, you will receive a hard copy of the book.
To enter to win, please leave a comment telling me your current go-to quilt book (I guarantee if you purchase or receive this book, it will be right up there on the list!) I will leave the giveaway open through Saturday, October 28th and will announce a winner on Sunday.
Linking up with lots of my favorites – most are listed at the top of the page, under Link Ups. Also linking to Elm Street Quilts annual Bag It event. Check that out here!
I was recently given the opportunity to review a newly released book by Tricia Maloney. Having already published two quilting books, Maloney just authored her third, I Love Precut Quilts. Like many other quilters, I enjoy the ease of creating with precuts. Using a bundle of fat quarters or fat eighths, a set of charm squares or mini charms, or maybe a jelly roll makes fabric choice a quick decision. Using the bundle means you will have scale and color variation as the designer of that line meant it to be. Sometimes I do add a few solids or prints to the bundle and sometimes I use it as is. Precuts can be a lot of fun. Just take a look in my closet and you will find a large stack of charm squares, several fat quarter bundles, one fat eighth bundle and (just) one jelly roll.
Since I have never published a book, I posed a few questions to Tricia. I thought it might be interesting to hear about her experiences with the three books she has penned.
Q. How did you come up with the precut theme? What inspired this?
A. I originally pitched a slightly different idea, but with some give and take with C&T, we tweaked my original concept and came up with I Love Precut Quilts!. I did have to rework several designs, but it was definitely worth it because I am very proud of the final product. It wasn’t really a hard transition for me though because I was already in love with precuts.
Q. What is your writing process? Do you design the quilts first? How much direction does the publisher give you?
A. Once I have my design direction (basically my idea or focus) then I sit down in front of my computer and rev up my Electric Quilt 7 software because most of the time I start with a design first, add fabrics, make the project (taking notes as I make it), and then write the full instructions. Of course, there are times that my approach can vary like when I find an awesome fabric collection that really inspires me and I just have to create a quilt around the fabric (like Cocktail Party in my book).
I don’t know how my experiences translate to other designers as a whole, but by the time I’m working actively with a publisher I have already designed all of the quilts, selected the fabrics, probably already started making quilts and possibly writing basic instructions.
Q. How long does it take to write a book, from first pitching it to the publisher to release? You’ve got three under your belt so I bet you have a good idea here.
A. I would estimate about a year or so from beginning to end, more if there are any bumps along the way. Writing a quilt book is not for the feint of heart because you really have to be committed 100% to the project for a long period of time. It can be very stressful when you’re trying to balance your book project with family, work, and everything else.
Q. What is the best and worst part of a project like this?
A. The best part of writing a book is sharing your love of quilting with a broad spectrum of people. I also really love creating the concept and the designs, picking out the fabrics (who wouldn’t love that part?), and making the quilts. The “worst” part of the process is how long it takes from beginning to end.
Q. Any words of wisdom to a wanna-be writer out there?
A. If you think you’d like to be a writer, I would suggest you try out working with magazines and smaller publications before tackling “the book.” Find out if working within deadlines is for you. Can you write instructions that others can understand? Do you enjoy the whole process?
Once you’ve determined that YES! you want to write your own quilt book, find something that you’re passionate about that hasn’t been done before or a different way of doing something and then start researching possible publishers. When researching publishers, the first place to start is your own bookshelf — who publishes your favorite books? Once you have some publishers in mind, visit their websites to learn more about them. If they have submission guidelines available, follow them to create your book proposal.
I think Tricia provides valuable insight into the process of authoring a book. It gives me a solid appreciation for the designers out there who take the time to write books and patterns for us, the quilty consumers.
When I was reviewing the book, I decided I would make something with a set of Basic Grey mini-charms by Moda. They have been languishing on the shelf for a while now. Placemats or a tablecloth are used at our house each night. I chose to make the placemats from the Serenity Table Set. Rather than making two placemats and a table runner as the pattern suggests, I made four placemats. I think I will use them more often if I have more placemats. Actually, I have enough fabric for two more placemats so hopefully, I will get those done at some point for a total of six mats.
I think they are so pretty. This simple project took me very little time at all and gives the table a fresh look.
I did try something different. I wanted a thinner placemat so rather than batting, I chose to use a fusible interfacing which I fused to the top of the placemat. Next, I sewed the top and bottom with rights sides together, leaving a small (approximately three inch) opening to turn it right side out. After making sure the corners were crisp and everything was nicely pressed, I topstitched around the edge with a generous 1/8″ allowance. Using a narrow seam allowance ensured I caught both sides of the opening at the bottom of the mat. I also topstitched along both sides of the column of pieced mini charms. I think this gave the placemat a very polished look.
I Love Precut Quilts has a number of projects to be enjoyed by both the beginner and intermediate quilter. The instructions are clear enough for a novice and the designs are such that an intermediate quilter could build on them, making the quilt uniquely her own. Finally, I appreciate that Tricia shows her designs not only in the colorway she used but also in one or two other palettes that provide inspiration to the reader.
C&T Publishing and Tricia Maloney have generously provided a copy of this book as a giveaway! To enter the giveaway, please tell me about a certain precut you have been hoarding (we all do it!). Maybe now is the time to create something with it! The giveaway will remain open through Sunday, February 5th with the winner announced on Monday, February 6th. Domestic winner will receive a hard copy book, while international winners will receive an e-book. So, this is open to all!
Remember that all Needle and Foot readers are invited to shop for fabric, yardage orprecuts, at my shop. Use the code NANDFREADERS15 and receive 15% off your purchase of $5.00 or more. This code expires on February 13, 2017.
Here is the schedule for the blog hop. If you hop over to some of the other sites, you will find not only quilty inspiration, but also more chances to win a copy of Tricia’s new book.
Note: I was provided a copy of the book, I Love Precut Quilts, for this review. The opinions stated are my own. I am an affiliate of C&T Publishing which means if you make a purchase after clicking over to their site from my blog, I will receive a small compensation for purchases made.