Most of the blogs I read these days happen to be authored by women who label themselves as “modern” quilters. When this latest ‘modern’ movement began, I really did not care for the quilts being produced. To me, they seemed altogether too gray and bland, or they were simply traditional quilts made in gray and other neutral colors and then quilted with straight lines, or they were made with what I considered garish fabric, (see samples here and here.) However, as the styles have evolved, I have found myself drawn more and more to the new bright colors and unique settings.
I recently purchased the book No Scrap Left Behind by Amanda Jean Nyberg of crazymomquilts. I enjoy Amanda’s blog, and had been considering buying the book, but had hesitated because I really don’t need another pattern book! But, of course, needs rarely matter when it comes to quilting supplies, so eventually I broke down and bought a copy off of Amazon. I thought it might be fun to offer a little review for you all.
First of all, Amanda is a fairly new quilter. She says she started in 2000. I’ve been quilting since the 80’s, so that makes me an ancient quilter! She started blogging in 2006, and then began wondering what her “style” was, and worrying that she didn’t have a style. Then she discovered scrap quilting and found her style. Her version in the introduction is much more fun to read, but you get the main idea.
I can understand her frustration in finding her own, personal style. I have often pondered what my own style might be. When my husband and I were newlyweds back in the dark ages, I called our decorating style “starving student eclectic.” After many years of angst, I’ve finally become comfortable with what I now call our “we’d rather spend money on books and fabric’ style. Here’s a photo of the bookshelves in my front hall. Keep in mind that this is just one wall. We have more wall to wall shelves in our library, and every room has at least one large bookshelf. And all of them look like this, more or less! (And my husband knows where to find almost any book on this shelf!)
And this is one wall in my sewing room:
Anyway, back to the book. This is a totally fun book to leaf through, but it’s also one to sit down and actually read. It is not just a pattern book. Amanda writes to the beginning quilter, but in such a way that even a long-timer like me can enjoy it. She explains how she collects her scraps, (from friends most often), how she organizes her scraps, and how she uses her scraps. She gives a few paragraphs to value and color, and then jumps into showing her quilts and methods of making them. I especially enjoyed the pages on what to do when it’s not working! Here she shows off some of her early efforts of the quilts in the book. She didn’t just power through and make an ugly quilt, nor did she toss it in the UFO/never to be finished pile. She played around and changed things until she got the look she wanted. These were fun instructions for me because I often have one thing in my head, but when I start working with the fabric, it looks nothing like what’s in my head!
Most of the projects in the books are larger quilts made of many tiny pieces. She stresses that it’s not important to whiz through to a finished product in a matter of days. Slow down and enjoy the process! Still, towards the end of the book, because she knows that no matter how many times we are told to slow down, we all still want hurry up and finish it type projects, she gives us some of those, too, just so we can have that immediate gratification we all crave. Oh, and none of these quilts are hard. I would put them all on a beginner or advanced beginner level.
So, will I actually make any of these quilts? Maybe. There are one or two of them that really appeal to me. But I already have a million and one unfinished projects, (if you look closely at the picture of my shelf, you can see a few of the skinny boxes. They hold works in progress!)
If you enjoy process and project books, this book is a good one. For me, it’s definitely a keeper, and worth the price!