Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Utility Quilting a review and giveaway!

When Carolyn Forster first asked me to be part of the blog tour promoting her book on Utility Stitching I was inwardly jumping for joy and so honoured.

So whether you are here for the first time or not you are most welcome!

I hope you have been following the bloghop tour and have been enjoying each bloggers sightly different take on this great book.  Here is the list of links if you have missed out....

21st February, Elizabeth at Broderie
22nd February, Lucy or Jen at Amitie Textiles or Amitie Girl
23rd February, Lori at Humble Quilts
24th February, Kathie at Inspired by Antique Quilts
27th February, Mary at Molly Flanders
28th February, Nicky at Mrs Sew and Sow
29th February, Jane at  Sew Create it 

You may also have listened to Carolyn managing to get a word in with Mark Lipinski - worth listening to.  I have never heard anyone talk so fast in my life - that's Mark ok!  You need the link to Creative MoJo 2/22/2012 ( US date)  You may need to lie down and rest after listening...hehe!

Now to the important bit Carolyn's book :  

Utility Quilting Simple Solutions for Quick Hand Quilting: An Uncomplicated, Stress Free Way to Quickly and Easily Hand Quilt Your Quilts

Carolyn teaches in my local quilt shop so I have been extremely fortunate in learning directly from her and being encouraged by her.  I have been on several of her workshops including the one she teaches on Utility Stitching.  

Yes there is a workshop to accompany the book ....or vice versa!

First of all this is a beautiful book - lots of photos with quilts in idyllic garden, park and household settings.  But it is so much more than that!   

This is a technical book - it shows you the what and the how, the basics which most books leave you to work out on your own.   

Carolyn's voice comes across in her writing loud and clear.  She explains everything so well in a quiet reassuring tone so it becomes easy...no need to panic here!   She did say stress free!

Want to know how to baste?  She shows you several different methods!  And the construction of a quilt is explained for beginners.

Want to fan quilt?  Well look no further  - the answer is in Carolyn's book with diagrams, instructions, photos and templates.  No guess work required!  And the same is true of thumb, elbow, wine glass, clamshell and cable quilting  - and several other quilting designs.

Most people assume that utility stitching is just what it says: enough to get the job done and move on; but Carolyn shows us that it has a beauty of it's own and is well worth getting acquainted with.  

She shows us the hand stitches to quickly hand quilt - and the diagrams are clear and simple.  There are several different knots to try, and variations on sewing on buttons  - I never knew there was more than one way!

And then there are several projects to try out your new found techniques ....

My own sample is the little lapquilt quilt I made during and after her workshop - it's in the book called Sampler Strippy Quilt....  [ Linking up with Rhonda!]

My favourite - fan quilting!

Buttons tied on with bows

Top down - clamshell, crows foot, tying, Mennonite tacks (not in the book) and big stitch quiting

Top left to bottom right - big stitch, Decatur Knot, running cross stitch,  clamshell and crows foot

You may think this is just for traditional quilters but think again - these techniques would look stunning with solids and bold patterns.

I loved the different ways she has shown us how to sew a button on to your quilt and having some lovely buttons I couldn't pass up the chance to try some out.  This little pouch was the result - featuring four different ways to sew on a  beautiful vintage button!

The project I need to make from this book is the stretched hexagon one!  I love Carolyn's simple colour palette in grey but with those flashes of colour in the print.  This quilt is tied - but what you may not see from the book is that Carolyn has used a couple of threads to make her ties - a bit of yellow or red thread and grey wool together!  It adds another design element to a fabulous quilt I was lucky enough to see at the Ardingly Spring Quilt Show!

Carolyn researches her subject, she gets the facts, she shows us the techniques and inspires us!  If you wander through my archive you will understand that I am a big fan - just search my blog on Carolyn's name and you will see...

Landauer the publisher have made a little slide show showing you lots of pages inside the book which will give you a good idea of what is inside just in case I haven't covered it all...just click here and on Look inside the book!!

The Giveaway is now closed!
Now before I forget, this is the giveaway partyou have the chance to win this gorgeous book,  some Valdani cotton perle, Bohin needles and Makower fabric - all you need to do is leave a comment on Carolyn's blog and cross those fingers.......... or you could just buy your own book here!


  1. Thank you for this review Nicky, this book seem to be for me...but comments are closed on Carolyn's blog :(

  2. Sounds like a really good book.

  3. Fabulous book review N! And I love the button pouch too! Jxo

  4. Interesting Book and I have just ordered my copy and hope it will arrive soon

  5. Looks like a really useful book, and congrats on your feature :o)

  6. Great review. Whereabouts in West Sussex are you? I'm a West Sussex girl, though now living in SW France.

  7. Great review! Thanks for sharing it with us. I love hand work, but sometimes I'm just not willing to spend the time. I think I need to revisit that?
    Enjoy your week,

  8. Great review and neat examples. Thanks. Di xo

  9. Great review and I love your sample! The pouch (and buttons!) is great!

  10. I was excited to read your review! I remember reading your posts after you took Carolyn's class. Nicely done Nicky!!

  11. On my way to her blog, and then to add the book to my wish list! Thanks for the inspiration

  12. great review nicky - makes me want to run out and buy the book now :) and great stitching in that quilt - I have some tops that I'd like to handstitch but they're still sitting, waiting - maybe I should send them to you !

  13. Well done Nicky on a great review. I am preparing everything ready to make good my intentions of making ALL of those projects. Starting with quilt no1, bought a metre of a focus fabric yesterday. I am pleased to see yours and how it has turned out and that will spur me on. Love the book.

  14. Hi Nicky - just wanted to know I've given you a Liebster Award !

  15. The book sounds great.
    They are my kind of stitches too.
    I hope you don't mind but I'm giving you the Liebster Blog Award.

  16. This book sounds fab..... and I am loving the different ways to sew on buttons, especially with the bows.... definately going to give that a go - I have a big tin of vintage buttons.... thanks for the review x


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