Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Book review - Simple Charm by Kim Diehl

Hi everyone:

I've been cocooning more with the cooler weather. You know, staying at home and reading my quilting books in front of the fireplace with a cup of tea. In your dreams! It's more like rush off to work, get home, eat and then try to work on as many pattern designs as I can before the kids arrive home. Somewhere in between, usually while I'm grabbing a bit to eat, I have the opportunity to review some of the books that I've recently purchased or that I've received as review copies (thank you, Martingale!). I recently received one of Kim Diehl's books, Simple Charm - 12 Scrappy Patchwork and Appliqué Quilt Patterns. 
Photo courtesy of Martingale
Okay, first let me say that this review will be a bit prejudiced as I love all of Kim's designs (and we share the same name, how great is that?!). I have all of her books and have even made some of her patterns. If you know me, you'll know how rare it is that I actually make a pattern from a book as the project I'm working on is usually a new pattern design for Chatterbox Quilts. I don't know if it's the combination of her fabric or the designs themselves, but Kim's books always appeal to me (or it could be that same name thing again).
Four and Twenty Blackbirds from Simple Charm by Kim Diehl
Photo courtesy of Martingale
In this book, Kim uses scrap fabrics in her designs, using what I would call a controlled approach. The fabric in her scrappy quilts all blend together very well due to her recognition that "regardless of their specific hue, there are basically two categories that colors fall into: clear and bright, or muted and muddy. Making this distinction as you consider your fabric selections will make it possible for you to blend nearly any prints together into a single quilt..." This makes sense: just choose clear, bright colors and they'll work together or choose muted shades, but don't mix the two fabric types together. Maybe I'll  have to start sorting my scraps into bright, clear fabrics and muted, muddy tones and then I can just choose from the appropriate pile when making scrap quilts. Learned something new already. But back to the book...
Short and Sweet from Simple Charm by Kim Diehl
Photo courtesy of Martingale
The projects in this book are mostly large wall hangings with a few smaller and larger projects. I would call Kim's designs traditional, but she uses a more modern fabric palette to give her patterns a unique look. The designs are simple, yet elegant, with the appliqués evoking a contemporary primitive look. These projects work very well with scraps and Kim even uses these in her binding and in a small pillow project. 
Gathering Garden from Simple Charm by Kim Diehl
Photo courtesy of Martingale
In addition to the wonderful patterns, Kim includes detailed information on assembling the quilt top and creating the appliqués in cotton and in wool. Kim likes to use invisible machine appliqué in her books and includes instructions on how to do this technique. Kim's "Pin Points" offer extra information to help you achieve success in creating her designs. I especially enjoy the fact that she includes information on finishing the quilt top, from quilting suggestions to binding information. 
Snow in Summer from Simple Charm by Kim Diehl
Photo courtesy of Martingale
If you enjoyed Kim's previous books, you will definitely want to add Simple Charm to your collection.


Lee D said...

Oh those look like some lovely patterns and ideas. I love her thoughts on bright and clear or muddy and muted when dealing with scraps!

Chatterbox Quilts said...

Yes, a good way to help you choose fabrics for projects. Maybe one of the patterns in Kim's book would look nice over the mantel :)