Book Review: Creative Quilting with Beads

Creative Quilting with Beads: 20+ Projects with Dimension, Sparkle & ShineCreative Quilting with Beads: 20+ Projects with Dimension, Sparkle & Shine by Valerie Van Arsdale Shrader

Beads must be in vogue, because I received this book from Lark Crafts yesterday. I was immediately drawn to the pomegranate on the front cover. The beads on that piece are perfect.”

The book has 24 pages of “The Basics”, which includes everything from Beads (pg.8) to Hanging an Art Quilt (pg.24). The book follows The Basics up with Projects, a gallery and templates. There are also bios of the designers and (YAY!!!) an index.

The introduction includes a line, which I think is a good reminder for working with beads on quilts “…the many ways beads can work with their fabric background, either as part of a pattern on as a dramatic focal point (pg.6).” In Kissy Fish, I used the beads to enhance the overall design while the fish was the focal point. Both thoughts are represented in this book.

“The Basics” talks about beads including the purchasing of beads and a reminder to the reader that anything with a hole in it can become a bead. “Creating with Beads (pg. 10-11) talks about supplies the maker will need to work when using beads including beading needles. The chart of different types of beads from A Bounty of Bead + Wire Earrings would not be out of place in this section.

The following 10 or so pages gives the reader the rudiments of quiltmaking. There is a section on pressing, which I don’t remember seeing in other books. “A portable padded pressing board is helpful when pressing partially completed quilts with the beaded side down. The padded board will cushion the beads to help you avoid dimples and other imprints on the quilt (pg.15),” which is good to know. Free motion quilting, fusible applique’ and hand techniques are all covered. There is also a small section on embroidery stitches.

This book is a compilation of various designers’ work, which means that there is a lot of variety in the projects. The projects are laid out in the Quilting Arts magazine style. There is only a small paragraph or sentence about the inspiration or reason for the work and then the materials needed and instructions start. I would have liked to have seen more thoughts from the artist.

I really couldn’t pick a favorite project as several of them were appealing. By The Sea by Kathy Daniels (pg. 26), the first project in the book was appealing for its line of white sashiko like stitches and machine quilting. Jewels of Our Past by Larkin Van Horn (pg. 68-71) also had interesting machine quilting, but I also like the blue dots for their varied repetition. The pomegranate book cover  by Sarah Ann Smith (pg. 98-101) is quite special. The machine quilting is very effective and the pomegranates, as I mentioned, sparkle. The group of projects also included an apron, magnets, a handbag and a purse.

The gallery gives the reader an idea of the style of the various artists and provides inspiration. I wish the photos had been larger in that section.

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Author: Jaye

Quiltmaker who enjoys writing and frozen chocolate covered bananas.

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