Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Claire’s Blogging First….

My quilting buddy, Claire has been talking about this book for the past month…so I told her if this book is as good as she says it is then she had better tell the whole quilting world about it….  So here is Claire…giving her first ever Blogging Book Review….


Have you heard about this great new quilter's reference book? It is called The Quilter's Album of Patchwork Patterns by Jinny Beyer. It is a collection of more than 4050 pieced blocks for quilters.

Now it isn't a pattern to make a quilt, it is a reference that you can use to design your own quilts or to find out about some of the quilts you already have. There are coloured photos of all the blocks and each one has a name and a few details about the origin of the design and what year it was first made.



Each block has a small line drawing on a grid to show how to draft it and Jinny has included a whole section on how to use the grids to draft the designs. They range from the really simple ones based on 4x4 grids right up to the complicated circular ones like the mariner's compass and other star shaped circular blocks that look like they were drawn with one of those Spirograph toys from the 1960s (Does anyone but me remember playing with those?).

Jinny gives us a geometry lesson and uses great diagrams to help us draw our own if we wish. The beauty of drawing your own is being able to make the blocks any size you want. Jinny, you would have been a great Math teacher! You make it sound so easy to do.
image Even if you never intend to draft a block yourself, you will find plenty of uses for this book. The blocks are divided into categories according to the base grid pattern. For example, there are patterns based on a 3x3 grid, like the Ohio star, 4x4 like the pinwheel, 7x7 like the bear's paw, etc. There are floral designs, hexagons, feathered stars, baskets...probably every traditional block you have ever seen and thousands that you haven't are in this book! She also shows us how to use special fabrics like border prints to give special effects in blocks.

There are even two transparencies printed with all the grids that are tucked into a special little pocket in the lining of the back of the book. (I have had this book for 2 months and I just discovered these!).

Jinny has been researching quilt blocks since the 1970s and this 488 page book has come from 40 years of hard work. It is not only a useful and beautiful book, it is a record of our quilting history. At least one person in your quilting circle should own this book and it is a must for libraries and quilters' guilds. It was published in 2009 by Breckling Press and is available in bookstores and online.

THANKS CLAIRE!!  And Jinny thanks you too, I’m sure!

So there you have it in a nutshell!!  (I have a feeling Claire was  an over achiever in school and always got an A+, don’t you?)  When I get home, Claire and I are going to use this book to make two Christmas Quilts.  We will each select 6 or 7 blocks, make two of each and then share…presto…instant Quilt!  Does sound easy, doesn’t it?  I’ll keep you posted!

Have a wickedly wonderful Wednesday and Happy Quilting!


  1. Nice Job, Claire! Can't wait to see y'all's finished Christmas quilts!

  2. I've been looking at that book for awhile, just haven't decided to spend the money to get it yet! Maybe I'll request it for my birthday or just get it then and wish myself happy birthday. Tell Claire I loved her review and learned alot from it. I will be checking back to see what blocks you decide to make. Hey, Claire, when are you going to join us with your own blog? (just an idea!lol)

  3. I have a few block books, love having them for when I need ideas.


  4. Looks like a must have book. Is there anywhere we can buy time?

  5. Quite brilliant! A definite must have for your bookcase,

  6. I have had my eye on this book and now I think that I might need to add it to my collection.

    Thanks for sharing & drive safely!

  7. You are right about that book. How wonderful to have a book of that quality.. I saw her on the Quilt Show and she spoke of how long it took her to do and all the really great pictures and information. Good review and anyone would be lucky to have it.

  8. Paulette,
    A very good friend gave me it for Christmas- it was on my Christmas list and I was thrilled to receive it from her.
    I like some of the historical info. as well as all the block references and templates. There are many hours of interesting reading.
    Nicely done Claire..

  9. Well done Claire - that's something else to go on my wishlist. I think your Christmas swap idea sounds good too, and I'll be really interested to see the results.

  10. 40 years working on this book is a looooong time. I am sure it is great.