Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Book Review - Exploring Embellishments and Sew Embellished!

Hi everyone:

Do you ever have those days weeks when you are less than inspired and can't seem to find the get-up-and-go to do anything? Oh yes, the meals get made, the laundry is done, but when it comes to quilting... I've been having one of those days weeks. I have so many patterns and projects on the go and deadlines to meet that I don't know where to start. I guess you would say that I'm overwhelmed. At least this is the excuse that I am currently using! What to do? Anything! Once the first step is taken, everything seems to flow along and obligations don't seem quite so burdensome.

So, in keeping with this philosophy, I am starting to catch up on some of my book reviews. Today I'm looking at two books, both dealing with embellishing your projects. I'm not really an art quilter, but I do love collecting embellishments - buttons, trims, lace, doilies - and never quite know what to do with them. These books have given me many ideas.
Photo courtesy of Martingale
First, let's look at Exploring Embellishments: More Artful Quilts with Fast-Piece Appliqué by Rose Hughes. The six projects in this book use various types of embellishments and use Rose's "fast-piece appliqué" technique in constructing the background. This method is similar to reverse appliqué in that you layer the fabrics and then cut out certain areas to let the base fabric show through. This method can be applied on any size project. In addition, Rose uses couched yarn to delineate the cut out portions. See, you need to collect more fabric and yarn for projects like these!

Excerpt from Exploring Embellishments
Photo courtesy of Martingale
Rose includes information about setting the mood through the colour choice of your fabrics and embellishments, as well as discussing various types of embellishments beyond the usual buttons and beads (which she talks about too). 
The Truth about Cats and Dogs
Photo courtesy of Martingale
I found the fast-piece appliqué technique intriguing and liked how you could create a complex background with only two fabrics. Each project uses different embellishments, so you can try something new, such as lutradur or wool roving. This book has lots of photos so it's easy to understand Rose's process.The section on creating your own design from your personal photos was also informative.
Photo courtesy of Martingale
Another book, Sew Embellished! Artistic Little Quilts, Personalized with Easy Techniques by Cheryl Lynch, has smaller projects, loaded with embellishments. Cheryl's projects are more personal and would make great mementoes to celebrate special occasions. The projects are a combination of machine and handwork and would be great "take along" pieces due to their small size. 
UFO Fun! from Sew Embellished!
Photo courtesy of Martingale
Cheryl provides information on using polymer clay decorations, which I found interesting as my son is big into polymer clay and I've often thought these would be perfect additions to wall hangings. She also deals with buttons and beads, and, like Rose, declares that "if it has a hole, you can put it on your quilt". Now, the hardware section will be as appealing as the fabric store when searching for embellishments! A section on various methods to put words on quilts and fancy ways to finish the project edges are covered. 
Wearable adornments from Sew Embellished!
Photo courtesy of Martingale
Both of these books provide inspiration for creating your own art quilt, whether you want a wall hanging based on a holiday photo or a smaller personalized remembrance. 

Do you consider yourself an art quilter, and if so, what are your favourite embellishments?


SewCalGal said...

Great reviews Kim. These books look like fun.
I'm more of a traditional quilter, but have acquired a good appreciation of art quilts and enjoy making them too.


Chatterbox Quilts said...

Thanks, Darlene, I don't consider myself an art quilter either, but just like to stick extra things on my quilts sometimes. I'm thinking that the buttons, doilies, yo-yos, etc. might work well with hand embroidery projects.