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Review: Little Bits Quilting Bee
Today, I'm hosting a stop of the blog tour for Little Bits Quilting Bee: 20 Quilts Using Charm Packs, Jelly Rolls, Layer Cakes, and Fat Quarters. It's the new book by Kathreen Ricketson, of Whipup fame.
In this book, Kathreen offers a group of quilt designs based on common small fabric cuts:
I've bought a lot of fat quarters for Kanzashi making, and there's always something very attractive about those color-coordinated jelly roll and charm square bundles. As a bonus, they're usually print-coordinated as well as color-coordinated, so they're an excellent starting point for simple quilts.
I love this idea especially because to me, the color/fabric-choosing part of quilting feels very daunting. I can pull a few fabrics together for a Kanzashi, but doing this at quilt-scale, yeah, not so much.
So, the book works its way through charm squares, jelly rolls, layer cakes, and fat quarters, with several quilt designs for each. These quilts are decidedly modern in design, with a balance between child-oriented and adult-oriented designs. (And for the record, I just realized that I photographed mostly the grown-up designs here. Sorry. You can see more on the blog tour page at Whipup.)
I think Little Bits Quilting Bee would be a nice gift book for a new quilter, especially one who a family to quilt for. The projects walk you through a solid mix of techniques, including chain piecing, curved piecing, applique, strip piecing, foundation piecing, block assembly, and so on.
(If you're new to quilting, this may all sound intimidating, but there's an early chapter that illustrates all these techniques in detail.)
Some of my favorite quilts in the book combine more than one technique, like this one, in which a border pieced from jelly-roll strips surrounds a bold applique center.
I think the assembly directions for each quilt design are well-illustrated, covering block assembly where needed, and showing a full-quilt diagram. The foundational techniques that are part of any quilt project, like backing, sandwiching, quilting and binding, are covered in an earlier "Anatomy of a Quilt" chapter. Each project refers you to the pages you'll need for those steps, so the whole thing is easy and logical to follow.
Here's another combo quilt - this time, with charm squares and fat quarters creating a beautiful circle-and-square pattern.
I did have one tiny disappointment with the book, and that's the fact that there are a few quilts that are displayed only in this casually-draped manner. It's a beautiful photo, to be sure, but I love the giant applique here, and would love to get a closer view in a full, flat rendition.
As with all the quilts in the book, there's a complete diagram. I guess I'm just a fan, personally, of seeing it in fabric, too. But really, that was my only issue, and it's mostly one of visual greed on my part. :-)
Inside the front cover, you'll find a thick envelope containing the patterns for all the block and applique patterns. Some will need expanding on a copier, and others are at full size.
All in all, a complete guide to simple quilting, using a really smart fabric approach - especially for those who find it challenging to choose and coordinate colors and patterns. Like me.
Based on our marketing discussion this week, I'm starting to wonder about book reviews on this blog. What information is most useful to you in these? What makes you read a book review? We've talked about this before, but as quickly as the blogosphere moves, it might be time to revisit.
(The usual disclosures: Chronicle sent me a review copy, and the title links above are affiliate links. Happy Weekend to you!)