Thursday, November 20, 2008

Phenomenal Fat Quarter Quilts by M'Liss Rae Hawley: A book review

If you are a quilter, then there is one thing that I know about you instantly. You have a thing for fabric. And you probably really have a thing for fat quarters. Now, the problem is, what to do with all of those wonderful fat quarters, that can be done quickly? The logical thing to do is to look for quilting books which specialize in the use of fat quarters. Phenomenal Fat Quarter Quilts: New Projects and Tips to Inspire and Enhance Your Quiltmaking by M’Liss Rae Hawley is one such book.

Quilting books which are not written for fat quarter collections are problematic for those who want to use their fat quarter collections. Since the unique dimensions of a fat quarter–usually 18 inches by 22 inches–are not taken into account, the cuts of fabric which are required may take an inordinate amount of piecing to complete the quilt top, let alone the borders. Quilting books dedicated to fat quarter quilts solve this dilemma, and Phenomenal Fat Quarter Quilts does an exceptional job.

M’Liss Rae Hawley lends her quilting expertise once again in this publication. Hawley has authored several books on this topic already, so she is certainly not a newbie in this field. This is, of course, a major advantage for you, because she is able to steer you successfully through the fat quarter quilting waters. If you are a beginner quilter, you will appreciate the extraordinary detail she gives in the opening chapters of this and all of her books. Hawley advises you on everything from what presser foot to use on your sewing machine, how to make good color and fabric selections, and how to square up your fabric in preparation for cutting.

Yet this is an equally valuable book for those who are intermediate and advanced quilters, as well. Something that will be greatly appreciated is the ability to see actual finished quilts in each of the projects in the book, and to see several variations on each project. Thus, if one color/fabric variation of a quilt does not appeal to you, then perhaps one of the others in the same pattern, but different colors and fabrics might make the quilt come alive for you. The instructions are clearly written, with precise measurements and accompanying illustrations for each step of the project. One of my favorites is the Quilt Interrupted pattern on page 32.

Phenomenal Fat Quarter Quilts is a book that you may consider adding to your collection of quilting books. I think you will find yourself referring to it again, whether as a reference in brushing up on basic quilting techniques, or following a specific pattern, or using suggestions for color/fabric combinations. Who knows–maybe it will be an answer to your ever-growing fat quarter stash!

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