Thursday, January 5, 2012

A Quilted Table Runner (and a book review)

One of my 2011 Creative Goals was to make some kind of quilt and between wrapping, shipping, baking, doing laundry, editing, grading, meeting and coughing, I have somehow managed to finish not only a quilted table runner, but a book review as well (I sleep well these days)!

When the opportunity arose to do a book review for the new One Yard Wonders: Fabric by Fabric book, I was eager to check it out. It's significantly larger than its predecessor, as you can see, so I was intrigued. It also opens up nice and flat, a new feature that really helps. These might be little things, but they do make a difference when I think about how a publisher assembles a book...and whether they truly have their audience in mind.
I received their first book a couple of years ago for Christmas and raved about it so much that my sister ended up buying the book for herself. We both made several projects but, like many, got frustrated when several patterns ended up having errors. The publishers were great about quickly posting solutions and updates on their website, but I have to say it made my sister and I hesitate when we heard there was as sequel of sorts coming out. In fact, it's made me hesitate to buy any sewing book hot off the press because this has happened with many books in the last few years; the Sew Mama Sew blog actually made a public appeal about this trend last January.

This is why it was so important for me to have a chance to at least try out a project before reviewing the book. Of course, I'm only reviewing one project, but if you scroll down you'll see posts from other reviews on this blog tour and additional projects have been discussed as well. I'm really pleased with the Kaleidescope Table Runner project and found it to be a great first step into quilting. OYW's instructions were clear and concise and the illustrations and photos were helpful without being too many.
Personally, I think I need to morph into solid fabrics when it comes to patchwork. I think I'm just spatially challenged or something when it comes to visualizing patterned fabrics and how they will best fit together before I take the plunge and actually cut the fabric and stitch the pieces together for good. It totally stresses me out. Perhaps I just need to work with more non-directional patterns...??? I knew I was pushing it with stripes, but I had so much of the Joel Dewberry leftover that I just had to use it for this project; it was too perfect!
The way OYW has you cut the fabric for this table runner ended up being perfect for me. Since I clearly can't handle spontaneous patchwork designs, I was able to create a nice symmetrical arrangement of the pieces, phew! =) I would definitely make this again with solids or non-directional fabrics as well. It's a smaller project that is fairly quick to put together, yet it's also a statement piece.
Many of the projects in this book seem to be of the 'quick statement' category and I think that makes them fun and approachable. After all, the reason I usually have a 1 yard cutting of fabric is usually because I fell in love with it but don't know what to make w/that little bit. A statement project is a fun way to highlight a fabric I already like. I have about 4 other projects from this book that are already on my to-make list!
What I like most about this book is that it goes above and beyond quilting cotton. With this book I feel enabled to explore working with other fabrics like oilcloth (Waschtuch),  heavier canvases, plush fabrics and fleece. I also have ideas of what to make with those fabrics other than the standard table cloths/slipcovers/plush toy/blanket. I love the projects they list such as the garden bucket caddy (perfect for our little balcony gardening equipment), the oilcloth bike panniers (adorable and practical!), the wool cape is adorable, and I'm pretty sure I need a pair of fleece boots for Saturday mornings!

Drawbacks about this book could be the following, depending on your situation: there are a lot of clothing items in this book, especially for small children; if you're outside of the US, some of the items needed for a project can be expensive/hard to find; about 5% of the projects are just really random (e.g., umbrella, pig & piglets, sewing machine-shaped plush).

There were many other blogs on this tour, but the majority of them didn't feature a pattern. I kind of think that's what makes it, so check out these blogs that reviewed not only the book, but one of its patterns (and a few more blogs to come):
12/17/2011 Two Brown Birds 
12/21/2011 Emily Steffen
12/26/11 Sharon Sews
12/27/2011 One Inch World
January ‘12 Lu Lu Carter
January ’12 Fiberosity
January ’12 Obsessively Stiching
January ’12 No Bad Days
January ’12 Craft & Cackle  
January ’12 AfricanKelli
*Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of the book, but this post reflects my honest opinion. There are no affiliate links.

What do you think? Would you be interested in this book? Any projects stick out to you? Are you interested in more book reviews on occasion?


9 comments :

Mimixu said...

please keep up with the book reviews, they are great for those of us that don't have time to google for new books. really cool! I love the pink jacket for the kids. thanks

sarsm said...

Wow, your runner looks great!!

Anonymous said...

I would definitely be interested in this book. I have tons of fabric that I bought just one yard of and I'd love to be able to find projects so I can use it up!! You can only make so many scrappy quilts!

Katina
kjkoukla(at hotmail ...com

Allison said...

The table runner turned out really nice. No... don't give up on print fabrics just yet. I have to say that it really was a bold move to work with stripes... to much matching for me.

I had heard a little about the first book and had seen others showing projects on blogs, but I have to admit that I actually do not have very many craft/sewing books myself. I guess I often don't buy them because I would actually only make a few of the patterns in it, I look for specific patterns for specific projects, or it is something that I feel like I can come up with my own version.

I probably would not purchase this book simply based on the fact that there are a lot of "little girl" projects that I can't really make work for my "little guy". (however, the soldier costumer looks really cute) But then again, I would have to flip through the whole book to get a better idea.

I would like to see book reviews in the future, and I really like your honest input on the review.

Kelly said...

What a great review, Juliette! And I love the way your runner turned out. Stripes make me nervous, but you pulled them off beautifully.

Carolyn said...

Whoa...your table runner is awesome!

Krista said...

My first time to your blog, thanks for the review! I also have a copy of the first book and wondered about the quality of the projects in the second. Your runner looks great! Also, one of my closest friends is an American married to a German, and they're about to split the US and move over there. Boo for me! But anyway, just thought it was a neat coincidence to come across your blog today, as I'm spending the evening working on a going-away present for her. (When I'm not reading blogs, of course.) :)

Sue at nobaddays said...

Great post! I talked about my pattern but did not give a book away! Love your table runner! - Sue

http://nobaddays.wordpress.com/2012/01/06/fabric-by-fabric-one-yard-wonders-on-the-strap-camera-case/

gill said...

I love the runner you made and I like the look of the bags too! I have the first book - would you say this was as good?

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