Three Books Reviewed

Saturday morning.  Husband took the three year old with him.  Baby Girl is playing {sort of} happily.  The house is {sort of} cleaned up.  So now we will have the book reviews that I've been planning.

This year for Christmas I had quite a few quilting books on my list.  Think 10 or so!  Now I didn't expect to get them all, but I had never seen any of them in real life, so couldn't decide which I wanted most.  My sis-in-law bought me Liberated Quiltmaking ll by Gwen Marston, and I was given money from my aunt with the instructions to pick out a couple more.  FuN!!  So that began the research.  I found a few reviews on blogs and some Flickr discussions, and in the end I decided to go with The Modern Quilt Workshop, and Denyse Schmidt Quilts.

Because I found these reviews helpful and interesting, and there wasn't any too many of them, I decided I'd do my own little comparison thingie.  This isn't going to be any in-depth analysis, but rather my impressions and overall likes and dislikes of each book.  I think to keep it simple for my wording challenged brain, I'm going to do pros and cons of each one.

Let's start off with Gwen Marston's Liberated Quiltmaking ll

Pros:  Just read that little blurb above and you'll understand why I absolutely LOVE this book.  I read it through from cover to cover, and I've since found myself looking at it again and again.  There are lots and lots of quilts in this book, and some serious inspiration.  Cheryl wrote a review of one of Gwen's other books, and what she found is SO true of this book as well.  It's plain fun to read.  It made me more enthused about quilting than I was before (if that's possible)  There's not a single template in this book, (Yaaay!!)  There is lots of encouragement to have fun and make it up as you go.

(my favorite quilt in this book)

Cons:  I honestly have a hard time finding any downsides, so the one I do have seems really nitpicky and inconsequential.  I'm not a huge fan of her fabric and color choices.  She seems to make her quilts totally in solids (which I like better, since most of her quilts are quite "busy" design-wise)  or else they have many different patterned fabrics with few solids to rest the eye.  OK, so that's completely my personal opinion, and really doesn't affect the awesomeness that is this book.

If you don't have this book, please get it!  I think that Gwen must have FUN quilting, because that's what totally reads through in this book.

Next up:  Modern Quilt Workshop

Pros:  When I found the FunQuilts website, I knew I had to have this book.  They have designed so many wonderful and original quilts.  I had seen this Love Beads quilt (pictured above) on Flickr, but never realized that it came from this book.  Same with the Plain Spoken pattern.  I think finding out that both these patterns came from this book tipped me over the edge and MADE me buy it.  And yes, I'm definitely making both of these quilts!  So this book has quite a few patterns that I love and will definitely make some time.  With each quilt they show small computer-generated images of the quilt in quite a few different color schemes.  They also have charts on how to make each quilt in everthing from wall hanging to king-sized.  For me, this isn't a major bonus since I tend to look at the picture and then figure it out on my own anyways, but I think quite a few people would find this helpful.  Overall, there are some seriously great quilts in this book, and I'd buy it for that fact alone.

(I'm thinking this would be great in different shades of green)

Cons:  This book definitely has a more "serious" tone.  An inexperienced quilter might find it a bit intimidating. Although there is lots of good instructions and some good diagrams, it doesn't have quite the "go for it, you can do it!" that Gwen Marston's book has.

Lastly:  Denyse Schmidt Quilts

Of all three books, this one has the hippest, coolest, (I told you I'm no writer so I can use words like that) anyways, the hippest, coolest layout.  The overall design of the book and the selection of projects as well as the colors and fabrics used give for an overall modern and unique vibe.   Although I would never follow these instructions to make the projects, many of these patterns are the basis for a lot of the quilts I make, so somehow it just feels right to own this book.  If nothing else, it makes me happy just seeing it sitting on the shelf!

Cons:  I'll have to admit I was a teensy bit disappointed in this one.  Although if I had first seen this book three years ago, I would have been entranced.  I've seen so many of these patterns or versions of these patterns all over Flickr and blogland, so I didn't feel like I found anything new.  I've read and heard this before, but it is interesting that Denyse's patterns all use complicated templates (OK, I call all templates complicated) when the quilt could be easily made in a more free form manner.  I suppose though, that there are enough people out there who want to make that 'exact' quilt, so if that's what you want to do, then the instructions here are perfect for you.

So there's my little review.  I'm sure I'll think of more later that I wanted to add, but Baby Girl has decided to empty out the bottom shelf in the pantry. (the middle drawer in the bathroom got a little boring since all the contents are on the floor)

Furthermore, these are all my OPINIONS, and I would definitely recommend all three books to anyone wanting to expand their quilt book library in a more modernish direction.  I'd love to hear your thoughts on these books, or any others you think I should be getting!


  1. Thank you so much for the reviews, it's always great to hear other's opinions on books. I have been looking at Liberated Quiltmaking and thinking of buying it, and that has just confirmed that it is a great book to own.

  2. I have all three. I've had the Modern Quilt Workshop since it came out, then got Gwen Marton's book, and finally Denyse Schmidt. I agree with every one of your opinions. And it was so weird to me when I finally got Denyse Schmidt's book, who for some reason I considered some kind of "modern quilting" guru, and then find out she used templates. HUH? If I didn't alerady own them, I would buy Modern Quilt and Liberated Quilting lickety split, and then check out the other one from the library.

  3. I totally agree about the DS templates. I made my sister a king size "stacking the odds" and I swore I'd never make another one with those templates! Thanks for the great reviews!

  4. Thanks for the insightful book reviews......that really helps :)

  5. Hi, I'm here by way of Nichi. I'm a complete Gwen Marston fan - so woohoo, so glad you got LQII to play with! I didn't realize DS had templates like those. Holy cow, so much more work...

  6. I agree--these books have the coolest designs. But I am also frequently disappointed with the instructions because the technique is often more complicated and more prone to chancy sewing (unnecessary bias edges, etc.) than required (with the exception of Gwen Marsten). So fun to look at though!

  7. Thanks for the reviews. The only one I have so far is Liberated Quiltmaking II. I've been on the fence about the Ringle/Kerr book, but I think your words have tipped me into a "buy" decision.

  8. Hello! I've only been a follower a short while, but I wanted to share with you a little award that was given to me. I just wanted to share the love with some blogs that I've really enjoyed over the last few months!

  9. I agree with you about Denyse Schmidt's book. The quilts that she creates are amazing, however I dislike the use of templates. I think the use of templates is constraining and does not allow any room for your own modifications. I am currently working on her Single Girl quilt, and while I love the quilt design, I kind of feel like I am creating a giant Denyse Schmidt puzzle.

  10. I heard Denyse Schmidt say in an interview one time that the publisher pushed her into templates - it would be interesting to see what a book that had the material from one of her improv workshops would look like. I did buy that book after having it from the library, though, as one of my first quilt books.

  11. I am unfamiliar with the first two books, however Denyse Schmidt's book was my first quilting book when I decided that I really wanted to figure this process out. Now that I am more comfortable with how to put a quilt top together I believe I can leave the templates behind, but starting out it was great as a hand holder throughout the learning process!

  12. totally agree with you about Denyse Schmidt's book... soooo complicate but full of beautiful quilts and inspiration.
    My favorite is Modern Quilt Workshop, love the patterns and the options of colors and size of the quilts.
    thanks for share!

  13. Thanks for the reviews! I have a huge book addiction, I could spend all day reading and my entire food budget on books every month if I though my family wouldn't get mad at me. It's great to get to "see" a little before buying online.