Friday, May 09, 2008

Book Review: Last Minute Quilted and Patchwork Gifts

If you've seen Last Minute Knitted Gifts, you have an inkling of what Last Minute Patchwork and Quilted Gifts is like. It's by the same author, Joelle Hoverson, owner of Purl, which now has a quilting division, Purl Patchwork. There are some great patterns in here, but what really makes most of these items is the fabric choice. You have to have an eye for color, copy exactly, or have a fabric store owner who can really help you if you want your things to come out half as cute. Just a warning. Fortunately for you, the book opens with an extensive lesson on color choice. Maybe there's hope.

The book is divided into chapters by the amount of time each project will take to complete. While I completely believe that the projects listed as taking 2-4 hours and 4-8 hours will take that long to complete, the 12 hour projects I am skeptical about. Mostly because some of them involve hand quilting. Every stitcher worth her salt knows any stitching takes about nine times longer than you think it will!

In under 2 hours, you could make a felt needlebook, quilted coaster (or is it the whole set?), a bird ornament (on the cover), a pillowcase, scrapbooks--is there anything you can do to screw up a Moleskine?--or a "made by" patch. Let's face it; that last one's a bit of a cheat. Would you really give a quilt patch without a quilt? Would a quilt take you less than two hours?

In 2-4 hours, you could make a whole cloth baby quilt with tiny bits of embroidery, a colored pencil holder (adorable and designed by Kathy Mack), a flannel baby blanket (hardly worth the effort), a simple bag (made all the better by the Amy Butler fabrics), pieced pillows, or a pin cushion. I bought this book for the pin cushions; they're so cheerful. And before the accident, I had planned on making a bunch as gifts. We'll see how that goes...

In 4-8 hours, you could make a puzzle ball. This is based on a ball she picked up in Lancaster County. Frankly, in 2 hours, I could drive to Lancaster and pick one up too; so that is right out. You could also make an embroidered pillow, a patchwork tablecloth and napkins, a duvet cover (though I hate duvet covers, this one has a pinwheel done in an interesting scale), a sailboat quilted wall hanging (very cute!), or an elephant--a pattern by Wee Wonderfuls.

In 8-12 hours, you could make any of a number of quilts--one that has six large panels on either side (Six of one...); one called "Just Sweet Enough" that features a lot of white with some pale yellows and pinks; One called "Cutting Corners" that is centered around one of the corners; one called "Little Bits" that is done in browns and blues and would add that je ne sais quois to our bedroom; one called "Summer Breeze" that I would never use as a picnic blanket; and one called "Stacked Coins" that I would do in a heartbeat because the colors are fabulous!

In more than 12 hours--are we still talking "last minute" at this point?--you can make a gorgeous color wheel quilt, a whole cloth quilt where you follow the lines of the fabric's pattern to quilt, a washed silk quilt, a crazy quilt of sorts, a log cabin quilt with an interesting layout, and a wall hanging that features an owl that is perhaps more complicated than it needs to be.

Hoverson, who worked as a stylist for Martha Stewart, is a natural fiber snob, especially when it comes to batting and thread. She has her reasons, so I checked with my mom, you know, the one who owned a quilt store. Mom said that you might want to use polyester batting to get a higher loft, but she over the years she quilted, she grew to love the look of quilts featuring cotton batting.

The last section of the book covers all sorts of quilting techniques; in my notes I've labeled that ++. She offers a thorough glossary that explains everything about sewing from finger pressing to blind stitching.

The photos are fabulous, and I think you can see the Stewart influence in some of the photos featuring children sleeping under quilts.

Coming soon, more reviews including Softies: Simple Instructions for 25 Plush Pals.


Stephanie said...

I can't find an email address for you, so instead I am posting a reply - hope okay! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!! I absolutely love what you stitched and sewed for me for my birthday - it's perfect for me, and my god you're bloody talented aren't you?!?! You've just made my day (a trick and a half, as it was going downhill fast in my attempts to actually retrieve the parcel from the Post Office! Another story...) Did you make the beaded scissor fob as well? What a fantastic birthday surprise for me, me, me :) Makes 34 suddenly seem not such a bad thing after all!

Jenna said...

Sounds like a good book. Too bad I don't feel like I could quilt to save my life. I have trouble cutting and sewing in straight lines. I'd be too afraid to get partway in and screw things up pretty badly...