Category Archives: books

For Your Wish List Day #2: More Book Reviews

     I am just moving along on making those Christmas gifts one at a time. I wisely knew my sister’s quilt would take me the longest so that is what I have focused on the past few days. There is a little bit of unsewing needing to be done on a few crooked lines. Tonight I will knit though on my first gift due on Thursday.

    More book reviews on some really good picks:

     1. Ilze Aviks Workbooks #1 and #2 . Beautiful workbooks which she describes in the introduction as “not a how-to stitch book—it is an investigation into the stitched mark ” and that describes this book completely. I love them and look forward to bringing them with me to Vermont on vacation soon. A slower project will be going with me. ( Yes, you will see this too but just not ready to share yet.)

     2.  Rayna Gillman’s new book: Create Your own Freeform Quilt. This book  on improvisational quilting is a delight and really gives you the freedom to explore what you can do with all kinds of fabrics and makes good use of scraps and the undesirables you may have. It is another read from the front to back kind book. You will read it again and again! 

3. PUSH Stitchery:30 Artists Explore The Boundaries of Stitched Art  Believe it or not, I found this little book at a local outlet store for a few dollars. It looked like it had been used but for a few bucks, it was a steal. Very , very cool book of 30 textile artists who have absolutely pushed the outside limits of the textile arts. It was a current find and it sits proudly on my coffee table as I enjoy it -artist by artist. 

Any books you would like to add?

Have fun working on Christmas things this weekend, my friends.

For Your Wish List Day #1 : Book Reviews


     In case you are looking for quilty things or books to put on your wish list for Christmas, I will spend the next few days reviewing some books and notions I have put to good use over the past few months. If I spend money on anything or am a sucker for anything, it’s the books.  My book wish list is always long and I  do read the instructional books, sometimes from cover to cover.

    So, in no particular order or preference, here we go.

    1. Instinctive Quilt Art by Bethan Ash. This is a newly published book recommended on Lisa Call‘s blog a month or so ago. It is a beautiful cloth covered book that really is nice to touch. Other than the touch factor:), the contents regarding improvisational quilting really are superb. It is divided into exercises and examples from many influential art quilters: Bethan Ash, Lisa Call, Terri Jarrod-Dimond, Elizabeth Brimelow and the list goes on. It is definitely an instructional book with many , many pictures to inspire as well. Techniques are mainly fused but could easily be adapted to pieced quilts. Worth the money!

     2. Finding Your Own Visual Language by Jane Dunnewold, Claire Benn and Leslie Morgan. I purchased this book when I went to their workshop last spring and had put it away until fall. I have enjoyed some of the visual exercises (am still at the beginning of the exercises) and this is another must have for purposes of making your own mark on fabric or with fabric. It is not just a surface design technique book, but a means of digging deep and expressing yourself with your medium.  Another must have and again, worth the money.

     3. Dyes and Paints by Elin Noble. This is a book I have borrowed from a friend and one I am reading a chapter at a time. It is a thorough explanation of applying color to fabric and it is filling in the gaps of the other technique books I have on dyeing. Every “famous” fabric dyer had their own methodology even though the process is basically the same. Elin, from what I have read so far, has freely shared both the science behind why it works and how it works. I love this book and wish I would have purchased it three years ago when I first started dyeing fabric. It’s on my wish list  for Christmas.

     That’s a start for you to puruse and I ‘ll have more tomorrow. Do you have any good reads you would like to pass on?

Be creative, my friends!

Coffee and Used Bookstores

     Other than fabric, two of my other favorite things are used bookstores and independent coffee shops. First, the cup of coffee and then a trip to the bookstore . There is really nothing better than snooping around a used bookstore pretending as if I have all the time in the world to read many, many books.  I don’t at all mind that kind of dusty smell and messy piles of books on the floor or piled high to the ceiling on shelves.  Thumbing through one of the shelves last week or the week before, I found a wonderful book.

 What a beautiful cover for this hardcover book. I have a particular fondness for hardcover books and I will not sell or pass on any of them. I know many people think I am silly when you can put it on a book reader but I love my books I can hold in my hands.

These color swatches in preparation for dyeing are lovely.

Why wouldn’t I have done this before I dye?  I cut a small piece of fabric (sometimes…) after I dye but what a great resource this would be if I took the time to do it before I dye.

I ordered another book (suggested by Nellie Durand in her blog tutorials) from the huge internet place in the sky. It is a great resource book and maybe will help me in my quest to understand color better.


The older books seem to contain more art theory contained in them rather than a specific artist’s technique to approaching color. Feels like I need more of the basics at this point. Both used books were purchased at low prices even with the shipping I had to pay on the last book.

Give an old book new home, my friends and you might learn something new! Don’t forget the coffee when you sit down.

On My Summer Reading List

     A few good books from my summer beach bag:

     This is one of my favorite books: The Creative Habit by Twlya Tharp. This explains how hard you need to work and how disciplined you need to be to forge ahead. I wrote in it, marked it up and wrote things in my journal after I read each chapter. Now, I am not really good at being consistent about journal writing so it must have been convincing. If you haven’t  read it, I highly recommend it. ( I really detest self-help books because it just makes me mad I would need soo much help. 🙂 There is a difference between self-help and education, right?)

     Another good book and reasonably priced.  I didn’t move on to fabric with any of the principles in the book but I will.  Black and white paper in my sketchbook worked just fine for some of these exercises. Notan by Dorr Bothwell and Marlys Mayfield .

      The next and last book I conquered was Wild Color by Jenny Dean. THE BEST BOOK on natural dyeing.

      I found this book in Vermont and it is the new updated edition of 2010. It  has nice step by step directions, great explanations and gives you the ability  to achieve specific colors by adding different mordants.

     As lovely as other books are on natural dyeing, it has always remained a bit of a mystery. This book breaks it down into repeatable steps with the variable being your natural material. A very big variable but it made me want to keep trying small experiments of natural dyeing to add to my toolbox. And with fall coming it will be fun to try more natural dyeing.

      Very specific instructions and great pictures.  I am glad I purchased this as it will be a great reference book.  Even though I didn’t make many pieces this summer , I kept pushing along! Also read many just for fun and my favorite leisure reading book had to be : Unbroken by Laura Hilldenbrand. I read it in less than 48hours.

      So what are you reading ?

     Be creative, my friends. No word on Mom yet-thanks for all your kind words and prayers!