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: