I recently got the opportunity via the nice folks at C&T Publishing to explore a copy of the new book, “75 Fun Fat Quarter Quilts,” and share my thoughts with you.
The full title seems to have caused a bit of a kerfuffle with some of the reviews on Amazon. But – check the subtitle. 13 quilts – 62 variations. While a few people claimed that they were disappointed by this, I find it to be a strength of the book. Having someone take a design, and then spin it 4 different ways, is more inspiring for me than 75 entirely different designs would be. In addition, the variations are all different sizes. This is helpful in resizing any of the quilts in the book, as desired. There is at least one variation of each design that I’d like to make, at some point. Though “Pucker Power,” “Starboard,” and “Au Contraire” were particular standouts.
So much so, that I decided I couldn’t really offer a full review without trying out at least one pattern. I dug through my stash and found the primary colorway of Pam Kitty Garden – about the only part of my stash that is both uncommitted to another project and lacking sufficient emotional attachment to prevent use.
The cutting instructions were nice and clear. Although the directions often called for 1 fat quarter, the quilt uses quite a bit less in places. It’s more “fat quarter friendly” than anything else. However, I don’t mind generating a few scraps for later use.
I did REALLY like the fact that the directions call for the half square triangle units to be made 8 at a time, from larger squares. This is my favorite technique for HST’s, and I love that I got to use it, here.
It called for 2 FQ’s of “dark red, and two of “white.” I opted to use different prints, just to give my quilt a little liveliness. It might have been overkill, I’ll let you decide.
Two things I really love for HST’s: The rotating cutting board that Dad made for me, and my Bloc-Loc ruler. The 6-1/2″ HST Bloc Loc is probably my best purchase for AQS Quilt Week last Fall. I use it all the time. I also bought a set of the smaller Flying Geese – I like them, but they’re less versatile. The Drunkard’s Path set is on my “wish list.” But this is a book review, not a ruler review. So I’ll give you a quick look, and then it’s on we go!
Au Contraire is really just the Contrary Wife block, with a very clever color arrangement. Which is why I like this book so much – I’m a big fan of simple blocks made into glorious wonders by color choice and placement. I followed the color design of the author pretty closely (though I like my fabrics better. Hee!)
Here, I ran into a single hiccup. The diagrams for these two blocks, themselves, are incorrect. They have the light and dark yellows reverse. Since my yellows are pretty close in value, I just cut 4 more squares of the other fabric, and continued on. If your color selection makes this an issue – make sure you check the book errata and correct your copy.
I’m pretty happy with how it turned out. There are a couple “wobbly spots” as I call them. Mostly because, when you’re making these blocks up in quantity, it doesn’t lend itself well to pressing things for later matching. So, sewing the blocks together meant sewing seams where ALL the seam allowances are going the same way. This through off a few of my points by a couple threads. I opted to ignore it. Luckily, the block seams can be pressed in alternating directions, so the rows go together so easily. Here’s the pieced top, sans borders.
I’m really quite taken with it. I do wonder if it would flow better if the two “dark reds” were closer in value – the daisies might be too much white. And the jury is still out on which color I’m going to use for the narrow border. I may go with the suggestion and use the lighter blue. I am planning a scrappy binding, since I had enough fabric left over to make use of.
In all, I think this is an excellent book to have in my quilting library. The designs are striking, varied, and fun. I anticipate this being a “go-to” when I need a quick baby gift.