Published by That Patchwork Place on 7 August 2012
Reading Challenges: 2016 TBR Pile Reading Challenge
Sometimes you just want a to make a quilt that goes together quickly but still makes an impact. Julie Herman of Jaybird Quilts fills that niche with this book. The simplicity of the designs means that they are great for the time poor and newbies.
The good bits
The quilts are visually appealing thanks to the variety of fabric choices, designs and photography. The instructions are clear so beginner and experienced quilters could tackle all the projects fairly easily and achieve success. Not all the fabric appealed to me but by showcasing a range of styles, more readers might be tempted to make one of these quilts up.
The reasons why some blocks need borders while others don’t was really interesting, especially how you can trick the eye into creating one. Some pictures would have clarified Herman’s theory a bit more.
I found the binding chapter really useful, especially the mini quilt examples with different sized bindings and flanges. I tend to rush through this part as I’m keen to get the quilt finished but I’m going to slow down and experiment a little with my next one.
Giving the finished block size as well as the finished size was a nice touch and very handy for those who trim as they go.
The not so good bits
Herman talks about making the back of the book just as fun as the front (p37) but the backs that are shown simply have two long pieces separated by a narrow strip. This was a missed opportunity as beginning quilters might not know how to make the back visually appealing and use up fabric left over from the quilt top.
There will be a bit of unused fabric. The Floating Triangles quilt, for example, says you need 27 fat eighths which are 9 x 21 inches each for the triangles but you only need three pieces of 3.5 x 3.5 inches from each fabric. It would be much cheaper to buy two charm packs to get the necessary 81 pieces. The effect would be the same as most charm packs have repeats. So if you do want to give one of the quilts a shot, I suggest that you don’t buy any backing fabric until after you have pieced the top and worked out what is left over or read through all the instructions first to see what will be used.
The log cabin quilt didn’t really match the others – it seemed very traditional to me and didn’t really offer anything new. This is a missed opportunity as it is such a versatile block. I also hoped that since Herman said she loved to play around with negative space in the white stars section that there would be suggestions on how to fill it. Unfortunately she makes it clear that if you want advice on quilting the pieces to go elsewhere.
The effect of colour pops up in nearly every project but I think it deserved the same level of attention as the excellent binding section. As the designs are simple, it falls to the fabric to do the heavy lifting. I suspect that people may miss lots of advice if they just dip in rather than reading the book cover to cover.
There are some lovely looking quilts in this book that are really easy to put together. If you do want to give one of the quilts a shot – and I will be – I suggest that you don’t buy any backing fabric until after you have pieced the top and worked out what is left over. That way you can save money and only buy the fabric that is needed.