Saturday, December 19, 2009

Fabric Embellishing: Book Review

Somehow we managed, this afternoon, to squeeze in a trip to the bookstore after a holiday lunch with colleagues (the company paid; I should have gotten the salmon, but that’s a different story) and before attending a holiday open house tonight, then meeting friends for our annual Christmas dinner out.

I had been looking forward all afternoon to a hot, creamy latte and a new quilting magazine. You know, just a little treat to help with all the holiday stress and anxiety. Once at the bookstore, I picked out my quilting magazine, ordered my coffee, and caved in to irresistible temptation of a red velvet cupcake in the display case.

All of that was lovely, but then I REALLY got a treat. While checking out the craft & quilting books, I ran across one I hadn’t seen before. Fabric Embellishing: the Basics & Beyond: More Than 50 Techniques With Step-by-step Photos (what is it with gargantuan titles these days?) by Ruth Chandler, Liz Kettle, Heather Thomas, and Lauren Vlcek is a fun, fun book. It’s pretty much what it sounds like: a compilation of techniques for manipulating, joining, and decorating fabric and other things we’re pretending are fabric these days: Tyvek, Lutradur, paper, etc.

I’m familiar with quite a few of these techniques: beading, printing images on fabric, and using materials such as Angelina fibers, for example. In fact, I think it’s safe to say that I’ve been around the block a time or two when it comes to embellishing fabric. So I was surprised to find some techniques in this book I had never even heard of. Even those techniques and materials I’m familiar with are used in ways I hadn’t thought about. The step-by-step instructions are excellent, and the book includes tons of photos, both to accompany the directions and to show off the finished techniques in all their lusciousness. Works by the artists that incorporate the various techniques are shown throughout the book in “gallery” photos, as well, to illustrate ways to combine the techniques to create art quilts.

Fabric Embellishing: the Basics & Beyond: More Than 50 Techniques With Step-by-step Photos is not a book that I really needed. It’s probably not even a book that I should have bought when I was supposed to be shopping for others’ gifts. But this book sure does make me happy. I love both the techniques and the photos of them, and I’m inspired to jump in and start working through all of the techniques—even the ones I’m familiar with!

The authors suggest that you make a journal quilt for each of the techniques, then bind them together in book format. They’ve included instructions for doing that, as well.

Once my year of creating weekly 6x6 quilted journal squares is up in February, I may create a new challenge for myself to work through this book and practice every technique in it. There’s certainly plenty of material in Fabric Embellishing to keep me busy for a while!


linda stokes said...

Thanks for the book review - sounds like one to look out for.
Hope you have a happy & healthy Christmas & 2010.

Anonymous said...

A friend directed me to your blog and I am delighted to see your comments about our book! I am sure you will have as much fun making your technique workbook as we did writing the book. When it comes to embellishing fabric always remember, more is NEVER enough! Lauren Vlcek

Robin said...

The silk piece is much texture. I look forward to seeing the mate you need to make.

tiedyejudy said...

Michelle, I just got my copy of this book, and it looks like a real treasure! I can't wait to start experimenting! Thanks for reviewing it...