Book Reviews, Inc

Having bought a few books thus far, I thought I’d share my quick impressions of them to help guide anyone seeking help toward the good stuff and away from the drek.

Learn to Embroider in 12 Easy Stitches –  Carol Wilson Mansfield & Trice Boerens – $15.95: This is a very clear, concise book for learning basic embroidery stitches. After the instructions on stitchery, which include very clear instructions, diagrams and photos, there are 26 projects. Most of them are don’t suit my tastes, and I’ll likely only make one or two of them. Still, worth the price for the guidance if one is seeking knowledge on the embroidery process itself. General thumbs-up.

Sew Special Fat Quarter Gifts –  Julie Johnson – $19.95: This was hugely disappointing. I was looking for simple projects that didn’t require a bunch of fabric and picked this up after only flipping through it a bit. I should have spent more time. The projects are kitschy, the designs lack ingenuity and the instructions are vague.  There are only two or three items in the entire book I’d consider making – and it’s got 64 of them. Thumbs way down.

Basic Guide to Rotary Cut QuiltsMarianne Fons & Liz Porter: $12.95 – This book starts out covering basic skills, such as measuring and cutting fabric. It’s a great tutorial for people just getting into quilting. There are tutorials covering pressing, machine piecing, machine quilting and binding, as well as 11 block patterns and 5 projects.  Thumbs-up.

Machine Quilting – Alex Anderson – $17.95: This is the book I picked up the first day, a newborn foal on her stumbly, wobbly legs, looking for someone to teach me Everything About Quilting, and not realizing I first needed to know Something About Sewing. I was really disappointed with this book on Day One, and I put it away and haven’t looked at it since, turning instead to online sources. She focuses almost entirely on the quilting process itself, not covering much about sewing, piecing or any other aspect. However, going over it again, the quilt projects are pretty good and the instructions for them are reasonable. They’re attractive, not tacky. Overall, a thumbs-up for the quilting part of the process only.

The New Handmade – Cassie Barden – $24.95: This is perhaps the best book so far. The instructions are occasionally a bit murky, but the projects are generally useful and not tacky. She includes a glossary of terms and some hand-stitching instructions. I’m enjoying it thus far. There’s a Flickr Pool for the end products made by readers, too. Big thumbs up.


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