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The Joy Of Quilting

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Book Name: The Joy of Quilting

Author: Laurie Swim

Publisher: Viking

ISBN: 0915590921

Cover: Hardcover

# of Pages: 95

Illustrations: Color photos and B & W photos and drawings

Experience Required: Projects requiring varying levels of experience

Book Review

For a small book, The Joy of Quilting is jam-packed with ideas and information beginning with the intro by Alex Colville.  Photos of quilts begin on the front cover and continue on subsequent pages before any instructions how to make quilts are given.  It is very important to read the preface of the book because in it, two chapters are referred to specifically.  Chapter four and six are respectively about basic techniques and projects to start off with slowly, moving gradually from simple to more difficult pieces.  Also in the preface "If you can sew, you can use this book", the author speaks about how she intends this book to be an inspiration and provide incentive for all quilters (novice to seasoned quilters and sewers). 

Laurie Swim, the author, gives common sense advice, recommending the reader start off slow, not to be too ambitions so you don't get discouraged and abandon your project.  This advice sets the tone for the rest of the book because the common sense approach continues with hints and tips throughout the rest of the quilt projects.  The author also takes a do what feels comfortable approach to quilting because everyone has their own way of doing things that makes sense and works well for them.

Portions of the chapters following the preface are very important to read because they may affect the outcome of your quilt project.  Chapter 1, The Quilt - The textile sandwich and its history, covers the origins and history of the quilt but also mentions the techniques of quilting that you might want to consider.  The author uses her own quilts as examples to demonstrate the techniques she uses and the process of quilting in which she engages.  What I like is that she isn't telling you whether to hand-stitch or machine stitch, just what each method offers you and how it will affect your quilt.  Chapter 2, Imagery & Inspiration - From the tradition of quilting to individual interpretation has a section on Fabrics and how to collect them that educates you on the properties of various materials you can use in quilts and where to find great pieces of material from retail stores to thrift shops and garage sales.  This chapter also covers the design aspect of the quilt and the author's "rule of thumb is, "Simple is best?"  You can also get design ideas in the subsequent pages from examples of her artwork in the section on Inspiration.

I like the chapter called Playtime in which the author demonstrates that quilting isn't only for blankets and creates dolls and clothing that are very colorful and interesting.  It is also important to read up on the Materials and Tools section of the final chapter, Projects - Step-by-step Instructions because you will learn about what is necessary to make your quilt and various methods you should consider before you begin to quilt.  The author also includes various quilt making tips to help you make a successful quilt, (i.e. tools and threads to use that will work with your project).  She also suggests saving up decorative materials such as buttons, beads, trim and ribbons for future projects so you always have something on hand when you are designing and making your own quilt.

This book is a great resource for all quilters whether they require patterns, ideas and inspiration for designing their own quilts or instruction on how to make quilts.  As the author says, "It is up to you to decide whether you use this as a pattern book or as a guide for developing techniques to execute your own ideas."
Other important sections to read are how to hang and care for a quilt and the process of creating a pattern from your own design if you are that ambitious and creative.


  • Seascape
  • Twofold
  • The Calico Gingerbread Man
  • Fruit Placemats
  • (The) Pillow Cat
  • Sugar Plum

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