Monday, May 2, 2011

Book review and give-away: “Fanciful Stitches, Colorful Quilts” by Laura Wasilowski

“Lighthouse” by Laura Wasilowski
 
If you’ve never had the opportunity to meet Laura Wasilowski in person, you’ve missed a lot of fun. At presentations to guilds, she sings, laughs, jokes and puns her way through her lecture, and everyone leaves feeling a lot happier. 
Her new book, Fanciful Stitches, Colorful Quilts , is filled with the same sense of joy and playfulness. It contains 11 whimsical fused art quilt projects, as well as plentiful information on her techniques for creating these cheerful little works of art. 
Step by step, Laura teaches how to:
  • choose fusible web, fabrics and batting
  • iron the fusible web to fabric
  • cut fused fabrics
  • transfer patterns using the fusible web’s release paper
  • build your quilt top
  • prepare the quilt top for stitching
  • choose the right tools and materials for hand stitching
  • pick the right size embroidery needle.
I was intrigued with Laura’s interesting method of transferring patterns onto the fused fabric. Her technique is something I’d never heard about before, and it is a very nifty trick! Here are some other things I learned:
  • Laura creates some of her curved pieces by cutting them on the bias of the fabric, then curving them gently as she fuses them down to the background.  
  • She uses a stiff interfacing (like Timtex for fast2fuse), layered with batting, in her quilts. The stitching is done only through the batting, which is fused to the quilt top before you embroider.
The quilts in the book are hand stitched with cotton embroidery thread, using simple stitches. If you’ve never done embroidery before, don’t worry. There are detailed stitch diagrams in the book. Laura also provides good basic information on how to decide what, where and how to stitch. Then she shows how to use accent and detail stitches, outline and linear stitches, and pattern stitches to really bring the composition to life.
Once you know all about fusing, constructing your quilt and stitching, there are 11 darling projects to practice on. Here is “Houseboat,” one of my favorites:

“Houseboat” by Laura Wasilowski
And at the end of the book, you’ll find all the patterns for the shapes you'll need. Laura also shares her methods for a wrapped binding. In this process, you wrap the quilt top around the pre-cut stiff interfacing, and add the backing. Laura’s method makes it possible to have fun wavy edges, a trademark of her style. 

GIVE-AWAY Details: Leave a comment on this post telling me what you like best about Laura’s work for a chance to win. I’ll draw a winner at noon on Wednesday, May 4. THE FINE PRINT: With apologies to my readers in other countries: I’m sorry, but at the request of the publisher, this giveaway is for U.S. residents only. SORRY: Comments are closed. The winner is Elaine in Olympia, Washington. Thanks, everyone!
You’ll also want to check out these blogs tomorrow and Wednesday, since they are giving away copies of Laura’s book, too:

91 comments:

  1. I love the whimsy in her designs and the attention to detail. Thanks for the chance to win a fabulous book!

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  2. I love the way the hand stitches add movement to her quilts and would love the inspiration to add more embroidery in my quilts - great combination. Thanks for the opportunity to win this book!

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  3. I love her use of color.
    rsgrandinetti@yahoo(Dot)com

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  4. What a b**mer that we again outside the US are excluded from a giveaway or winning in a competition - we could be waiting months for this publication to be available here - as with many quilting supplies, books, fabrics and notions the choice here (especially in non city areas is really really limited) - thank goodness we can get some inspiration from the internet to tide us over

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  5. This book looks list just the inspiration and guidance I need to get me out of my "patchwork" mode. Hope I win!

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  6. This book looks list just the inspiration and guidance I need to get me out of my "patchwork" mode. Hope I win!

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  7. What do I like best about Laura's work? Gee, it could be the playfulness of the works she creates; it could be the bright happy colors; or it could be the obvious joy in creating them that is apparent. Do I have to decide on just one? Okay how about I say "I like the Playful joy of color in her works"

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  8. Love Laura's Book.

    Dee
    dw7645@charter.net

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  9. Laura is a fantastic teacher and her books are awesome!

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  10. Love Laura's Book.
    Dee
    dw7645@charter.net

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  11. My favorite thing about Laura's anything was always the colors. I also like the way she uses the gradated fabrics in the background. I have a New Jersey mailing address. Thanks for counting me in, Susan!

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  12. Her fabric choices are wonderful.. but the stitching she adds.. well that is just SO much the detail that adds.. voice to the quilt. The flow and movement that a section needs. I just LOVE it!

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  13. I must say I am trying to win this book. It keeps looking better and better. I have liked all of Laura's work. The way she designs is great.

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  14. Like Debra the word whimsy comes to my mind when I think of Laura.
    She laughs in her quilts.
    She inspires us to try new things.
    Thanks for the chance to win the book.

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  15. Personally, I relate mostly to the hand embroidery Laura uses as embellishment....love that!

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  16. Well it's difficult to say just one thing I like about Laura's work! I'm sorry I can't just limit it! Love the colors, love the stitches! They really add a lot of depth and movement. Her work is so fresh and fun! There is so much to admire and inspire! And thanks for the give-away too!

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  17. Everything is bright and cheerful!

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  18. I love her whimsical style and dyed fabrics. I hadn't see the two pieces you showed, would love to do those for summer pieces.

    Debbie

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  19. I love that simple embroidery can add so much emotionally to piecing.

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  20. I love the fun designs in Laura's books and am able to create my own version of a quilt from the book because of her great directions. I love Laura's hand-dyed fabrics and threads and stock up whenever I have the opportunity to see her at a show. The hand stitching is the most fun as it's funky, fun and anything goes. Thanks for the opportunity to win this great book.

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  21. Laura's books are fun-filled with great ideas and directions. I am able to adapt the quilt to my own style so it's not a copycat. I enjoy working with her hand-dyed fabrics and threads. I think the thing I like the most is the handwork. It's fun, funky, and anything goes. Thanks for the opportunity.

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  22. I love Laura's bright colors and the movement added to the quilts by her hand stitching. An example is the swirl around the moon on her "Lighthouse" quilt.
    ~ Karen

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  23. I love the handyed colored fabrics that Laura uses as well as her whimsical designs.

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  24. It looks like sooo much fun! I love the bright colors and fun designs. It sounds like there are lots of tips in the book.

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  25. I love the lighthouse!! and would love the book

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  26. Her quilts are so whimsical. I am glad you have given me the opportunity to win her book.

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  27. I love the brightness and lightheartedness of Laura's quilts. So many art quilts are dark and dreary but not Laura's!

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  28. Laura's stitches are awesome, but it's the color use that catches my eye.

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  29. I love her use of simple stitches and the detail she achieves with them. Her work is cheerful!
    Susan jdprkr@pacbell.net

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  30. I love her use of bright colors and all of her hand stitching

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  31. I love her color and am excited to see how the hand stitching adds to the design.

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  32. Laura's designs are just so cheerful that they bring a smile to your face! I'd love to see the whole book.
    thanks!

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  33. I would love, love to have a copy of Laura's book. I follow her blog and love the way she uses hand stitches to enhance her fun art quilts.

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  34. The two utmost reasons I love Laura's distinctive works:
    Color !
    Whimsy!
    I'd love to have her book at the tip of my fingers while attempting to create.
    Hugs,
    Gerry

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  35. I love the look of the designs in this book - they are clean and they remind me of the hand stitching I learned as a child. This book is just the inspiration I have been looking for.
    Thanks for the opportunity.
    Jan

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  36. Would love to win Laura's book!

    Marti M

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  37. Besides the wonderful use of color I like moving out of the straight borders.

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  38. Laura is so inspiring in her use of line, color, and whimsey! I would love to have this book for those very reasons! Thanks for the chance!

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  39. I love the colors, so bright and beautiful!!

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  40. laura is such a hoot! i read her blog and she is such a character, and also so generous with her art.

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  41. I had the privilege of taking a class with Laura at the Quilt Festival in Birmingham UK. She was totally inspirational and I learned so much. I would love a copy of her book to help with the embroidery on my pictorial quilts. Thanks so much for the opportunity to win a copy of this book
    Louisa Lawson

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  42. Favorite thing about Laura's work? That has to be the way the embroidery makes the piece come alive!

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  43. I love the brilliant colors she chooses. Her pieces always make me smile.

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  44. My favorite thing that I've seen in her blog and posted throughout the land are the leaves. I love what she does with them and it makes me want to make large leaf shapes with everything!

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  45. I'd love to own Laura's book as it would insure me lots of giggles and smiles. The style makes me feel that I could learn even if I fumbled a bit. It's the giggle,smile factor that has me hooked. BarbR =!=

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  46. I love Laura's use of color. She could make a quilt of a trash can and because of her use of color, it would make me smile.

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  47. What lovely designs. I usually only put together squares. Great works of art.
    Ann
    cozyintexas@yahoo.com

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  48. Love, love Laura's senses of color and humor!

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  49. Laura inspires me to do free-form applique work. I leave my worries at the door of my sewing room and just have fun!

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  50. Such a funny lady and her book looks awesome. So inspirational!

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  51. I have to agree with many others..color and whimsy are what draw me to Laura's work. Thanks for the chance to win:)

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  52. I love the fact that Laura's work is whimsical. I met Laura last year in Paducah. Her hand-dyed threads are so beautiful I can never pick just a few!

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  53. I love her bright cheerful colors and would love to win her book!

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  54. I love the whimsical feel and look of Laura's work.

    Kathy
    kathyangellee@gmail.com

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  55. Kwilter9@aol.comMay 2, 2011 at 5:20 PM

    Here's to winning a book on a craft I love!! Katie in AK

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  56. I love the cheerful colors and every time I look at them they make me happy. It feels good to be happy. Thank-you for the opportunity to win a copy of this book. Hugs. Diane

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  57. I love the whimsical aspect of Laura's designs and also the colors.
    Her design ideas are doable.

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  58. Susan, I really like the running stitches Laura uses in her quilts for accents. She creates such adorable designs! Thanks for the chance to win a copy of her book.

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  59. I love that she uses lots and lots of saturated color. Her quilts make me happy!

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  60. I love the way her books are written. Easy to follow and inspirational!!

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  61. The best part is you can't make an error of any type any where in the piece. Thanks and please throw me into the pot.

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  62. I'd be thrilled to win Laura's book. I so admire her whimsical style and bright colors.

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  63. Blog hop is a great idea. I'm enjoying meeting the artists.

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  64. I like that Laura's work is bright and cheery.

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  65. I like her colors, hand stitching and themes. As a coastal girl in a colorful community like Santa Cruz, I am drawn ro her work!

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  66. her COLORS...her DESIGNS and her cute songs too!

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  67. I can't wait to get my hands on this book! This blog hop is fantastic...now, if I could only win a copy!

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  68. I love the look of these projects. Sounds like this is a total book, that twill step you through doing her projects.

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  69. I love whimsical things and that's what her quilts remind me of- I'd love to win!

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  70. I love the colors and designs of the blocks. How does she come up with so many great ideas? After seeing her introduction series of some of the projects, would enjoy winning this great book. It would help me with my first venture into fusible applique.

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  71. I love Laura's hand dyed fabrics and her whimsical style! Thanks for the opportunity!

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  72. Laura's work is inspiring! Would love to have her new book.

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  73. I took a class with Laura and she was wonderful. I loved her quilts. She is very encouraging and it is so fun to finish her class with a project that is close to complete!

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  74. I love Laura's whimsical sense of style, subject and composition and would love to win this book!

    kristin

    kalfarwig at bellsouth dot net

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  75. Love the houseboat! Thanks for a chance to win her book.

    crowkeeper924@yahoo.com

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  76. I was going to say I love how whimsical her designs are but I see that is redundant! I love the colors too!

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  77. I love how whimsical Laura's quilts are. They make me happy to look at them.

    jane1 at cp-tel dot net

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  78. I like her work, and the part I like the most is the simple shapes she use!But also her colors and stitches! greetings from Liesbeth from the Netherlands.

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  79. I love all your wonderfull art quilts - the colors are so beautifull and your motivs. I have bougt some of your wonderfull books.
    Yours sincerely
    Kirsten Grymer from Denmark.

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  80. I haven't met Laura, but her personality certainly comes through in her work. Would be very happy to win this book with it's many techniques.

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  81. I haven't met Laura, but her personality certainly comes through in her art. Would love to win a copy of this book with all of its techniques explained.

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  82. I love the details on the quilts...they remind me of my husbands grandmothers quilts for the grandkids...I have wanted to learn this method for awhile now...glad to see a book that will help me do this.
    Jackie
    myjackcrafts@yahoo.com

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  83. I love that her lines are curved and flowing, makes her work come alive. Thanks for the chance to win the book!!

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  84. I love Laura's work. This book looks like the perfect thing to help me with my new foray into hand stitching.
    Barb
    bsherwood(at)cox(dot)net

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  85. I love Laura's whimsical designs, her use of cheerful colors, and her excellent stitches. All inspirational.

    SewCalGal
    www.sewcalgal.blogspot.com

    PS - I posted about this giveaway on my page where I share insights on contests & giveaways:http://sewcalgal.blogspot.com/p/giveaways.html

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  86. id love to have this book. i really love her stuff! I love the colors...i have lots of hand dyes yipee, the best for this stuff.

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  87. i dont know where my comment went. I really like Lauras work. Love the bold bright colors, miss them here in the northwoods of the UP. Going back to Kauai for 6 weeks and will get lots of bright saturated colors with lots of bright natural light. would love to have this book :-)

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  88. whimsical & delightful:))))

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  89. this is my first exposure to Laura but I love her color and the storybook quality of her pieces.

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  90. I love her use of color, and the whimsical nature of her work. Lovely!

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  91. I especially like the colors in Laura's work and of course the playfulness of all her work.

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