Normally, there’s just me rattling on here and a handful of quilting chums metaphorically drinking tea and eating cake (all right, me moaning on about how difficult this quilting lark is and the FairyGodmother Quilters telling me not to be such a wet hen) but today, you join me on the first stop QuiltSue’s blog hop, where Sue Abrey has asked me to review her new book, Pick Four.
I am delighted to not only be involved, but be the FIRST STOP on the hop – so come on in, take a seat – there’s tea in the pot – and let me tell you all about it…
Now, you might be forgiven for thinking that I am not going to be able to write a particularly informed piece on this as I am rather a novice quilter. In fact, I pieced my first two bits of fabric together at the beginning of this year, and to date I have completed a set of practice table mats and just one quilt from a jelly roll that my big sister Helen gave me for Christmas – called Helen’s Quilt.
Of course, I am working on Cathi & Sue's Christmas QAL Scatty Stars quilt, and then there is the Project that I have been working on for the past three weeks.
But Sue said that I was perfect to review her book, as
How I would love to tell you that I have pieced, sandwiched, quilted and bound the quilt in 3 weeks flat! I was making a pretty decent go of it, but – alas – that wasn’t quite to be, due to a hitch with the choice of thread that I was having a go with for the free machine quilting.
I’ve been banging on about the nuts and bolts of how I am getting on with it on my previous posts – if you are really keen, just go back to 5th August post, and work forward – by the way, if you have an idea for what I should call this quilt, do feel free make suggestions.
But enough ramblings – you want to know about the BOOK, and the PRIZE, don’t you?
I’m sure that the other girls will be showing you plenty of Sue’s gorgeous designs through the next ten days – there are twelve quilts in all – but the one thing that I wanted to focus on is the other bits – how is the quilter going to get on with this book?
Is it worth parting with your hard-earned cash? Having seen a design they like, are they going to be able to actually get themselves something lovely at the other end of it, or will they be throwing the book across with room with an anguished cry of ‘what do you mean!?’
Fear not – there are no nightmares here! And this is why – the book does not give you a design and say 'get on with it', it takes you through a number of important stages.
1 Fabric selection – absolutely vital for the novice, and surely considered reading for the more experienced quilter! And with just four fabrics to have to get your head around (the clue is in the book title, people) this is ideal for the ‘new quilters’ who haven’t built up wardrobes full of fabric bolts to mix and match as the fancy strikes.
Sue talks about how to choose what goes with what – brilliant and foolproof! I am sure that there are lots of people to whom matching stuff comes easily, but there are also a lot of people like me who are a bit hopeless – so I can’t tell you enough how helpful this section is.
2 Concise, no nonsense 'how to make a quilt’ section, including sections on how to cut, piece, press, sandwich, bind.
3 Designs – from beginner to quilts for the more experienced quilter – you’ll be seeing a LOT more of these, so I won’t steal the other girls’ thunder!
4 Good step by step instructions for each quilt – inc. clear shopping list, cutting list, piecing (which way to press seams so they nestle together nicely – not just the cop out of ‘oh, just press towards the darker fabric' – what if you have equally dark fabrics adjacent??). Attention to detail means that – for example – with my Stepping Stones quilt, Sue says ‘there will be a block left over’ – how long would I have pondered and worried about that if it hadn’t been said?
5 Alternative colourways – it’s always a struggle for me to differentiate between whether I like a quilt DESIGN or the designer’s FABRIC so Sue shows each quilt with a number of alternative colourways. The different colours make such a difference! In fact, the purist in me did toy with the idea of only ever making one quilt design in my whole life over and over with different fabrics, just to see how different the same quilt would look. I gave myself a bit of shake and decided against this.
6 Quilting options – as Sue says, “I got cross with patterns which said ‘quilt as desired’”, and this is quite right – how dare a pattern take you this far and drop you at the end? Surely, how you do the quilting makes a massive difference to the finished article?! In a very useful general section as well as a ‘why I did this’ section at the end of each design, Sue explains the thinking behind the quilting.
I wanted to tell you a Bit About The Author, but I’ve banged on long enough – the tea’s getting cold and you’ll want to get on.
I love this book (can you tell?) which could have been written just for me – and I’ve loved being involved with this blog hop! Thank Sue for giving me the opportunity to foist my opinions onto you all, so until next time…
…what’s that? You’ve come all this way and I haven’t told you how to win a prize? Oh!
The PRIZE to the lucky winner is – of course – a copy of Sue Abrey’s Pick Four. It’s a signed copy (which is more than my copy is, might I add). You will love it – I promise – experienced quilters will love the designs, and novice quilters will be able to achieve them too.
My pea brain gets a bit confused with the complexities of some ‘giveaways’ so this is really simple. Just leave a comment on this post and I’ll enter you into a random number draw on Saturday morning (BST). If you are ‘no-reply blogger’, you’ll have to sort your settings out and not be so darn elusive, or include your email address in your reply.
If you don’t win the prize this time, you may get lucky again – as for each day of the nine remaining days of the blog hop there is another copy being given away – AND you get to visit some entertaining and clever quilters who will be giving their take on Sue Abrey’s Pick Four. Next stop, tomorrow, is Mary at Quilt Hollow….
Otherwise, you are just going to have to put your hand in your pocket and buy your own copy from Martingales or Amazon.
I do hope that you’ve enjoyed looking at Sue’s book with me, thank you for being here – and good luck in the draw!