Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Every Trick in the Book: Book Review

I got a new quilt book!  Okay, this is not that unusual for me.  As a former librarian and just plain book lover, I get books from everywhere--new book stores, used book stores, flea markets, libraries, friends, and even some free ones online.  Last week I bought a book at a quilt group meeting, and this is it.
The book is called The 3 1/2, 4 1/2, and 5 1/2 Block System, or just The Scrap Template System for short.  The author is Judy Gauthier, and she came to our group and showed us her system for using scraps.  Unlike Bonnie Hunter's Scrap Users System, Judy's is based on squares instead of strips.  As the book title would indicate, she uses 3 sizes:  3.5 in., 4.5 in., and 5.5 in., to make a variety of quilt blocks.

Her presentation was so much fun.  Judy is down to earth, and has a great sense of humor.  Plus her quilts were terrific!  And this is just the kind of thing I like, neat ways to use up the scraps and make quilts.
Judy is a local quilt shop owner.  Below is a link to her store, Bungalow Quilting and Yarn.  There are pictures there of her quilts made from this system.
Bungalow Quilting and Yarn

So I bought the book and the templates (they come with the book), and when I got home I thought I might try a block or two.  I ended up trying them all!  Just a warning, these are addictive.
There are 9 patterns in the book, which is more like a booklet or a workbook.  This little thing is packed with ideas.

1.  House Block
So much fun!  Very easy, but you have to follow the directions (duh) and sew the roof on the house before you add the sky triangles.  It finishes 5 in. x 7.5 in.  I had a little trouble with the points.

2.  Sunshine and Shadows
Cutting the square for this block is a neat trick! 

3.  Square in a Square
I had a little trouble getting this one to come out right.  Can you see all my margin notes?  I want to be able to remember what I did.

4.  Autograph Block
Not a new idea, but I like how she uses this simple block (check the pictures on her web page).

5.  Broken Dishes
These were easy and fun, and squared up perfectly.  And no darn lines to draw!

6.  Cross Roads

I can't decide which of these blocks is my favorite, but this one is definitely in the running.  It would look great in reproduction fabrics too.

7.  Treasure Box
I've seen similar patterns on the internet, but not done in this way.  Fun, easy, and scrappy!

8.  Dutchman's Puzzle
Another one of my favorites!  You could make a great quilt with this block using fussy cut centers.  If the blocks are set side by side, the red and yellow triangles make pinwheels as a secondary design.

9. Crown Block

Isn't this cute?  I didn't cut this perfectly, but I was able to trim it and fix it.  It seems to be fool proof.

I guess you can tell I am enjoying this book.  It works especially well for me because I have boxes of 3.5 and 4.5 in. squares and strips, and some 5.5 in. strips too.

Judy explained that she is often cutting from scraps that are irregularly shaped, since she makes garments and other things like umbrellas.  (Really!  She has a class.)  That's why she would rather use the templates than any other rotary cutting ruler.  You can also see through the templates, so fussy cutting is simple.
You will still need a ruler, however, in addition to the templates, because several of the directions include cutting the squares in halves or in quarters.  And naturally you would want a larger square for squaring up most of the blocks.
A couple of minor problems with the book--Judy often forgets to tell us what the block will measure when finished (or even unfinished).  I wrote those measurements down after I made the blocks, but they should probably be included.  Also, some of the really critical directions are written in a very small font.
Four of the quilts are pictured on the front cover.  There are no color pictures in the book, but there are lots of them on the web site.  This holds down costs of printing, and allows Judy to put up more photos as time goes on.
When I buy or borrow a quilt book, I'm always hoping I can get at least one good idea from it.  If I do, I consider the cost and the use of my time worth it.  This little book is more than worth it.  I am excited about using these ideas with my scraps.
Just call me a satisfied customer.
Here's hoping all your ideas work out for you today.
Happy Quilting!

1 comment:

  1. Just to clarify (I can't find this information anywhere), the templates are included IN the book you don't have to make a separate purchase. True?


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