Book review tuesday for factotum of arts (+giveaway)

Before we commence our book review today, allow me to thank you for the thoughtfulness with which you responded to my unloved Friday finish. If you haven’t had a chance, you should definitely review all the comments (one of my most-commented posts to date). I really enjoyed the exercise and I’m so glad that you felt comfortable engaging in it with me. I don’t know if I’ll have a chance to respond to so many comments (packing up my family to leave on vacation Thursday!) but please know that I absolutely read and thought about each and every one.


Now let’s review a book! Michelle from Factotum of Arts asked me to write a post as part of her Book Review Tuesday series and I was more than happy to oblige, particularly because it gives me the perfect excuse to go on about one of my personal quilt idols: Sarah Fielke.

I was first introduced to Sarah Fielke’s work when a couple of bloggers mentioned enjoying her Craftsy class. I was immediately taken with the photographs of her quilts and signed up for the class. After that I became somewhat of a super-fan and bought every single one of her books.

quilting from little things

The one that holds the most special place in my heart is Quilting from Little Things, if only for this quote: “You will notice that I don’t list solids as essential in my stash. That’s because, as a rule, I don’t use them.” I can picture how my face must have looked when I read that and the thoughts that must have gone through my head.

“What? Seriously? That’s allowed? Is that why these quilts look so interesting to me?” Changed my life.

Oh, you think I’m exaggerating? I’m really not. I was rather a newbie at the time and very influenced by traditional quilting decrees like “you must include solids so the eye has a place to rest” and then by modern decrees about “graphic areas of solid color” and “expansive negative space.” As always, I don’t mean to imply that those are not valid decrees. They just didn’t click for me. When I started using prints for my background fabric it was a big step toward finding my personal quilting style – making quilts that I love.

Generally I get more inspiration from just studying every picture and word of my quilt books rather than actually making the quilts. But I have made a couple of small projects from the book and the Craftsy class.


Applique and hand quilting project from the Craftsy class

Just looking at that makes me want to do another appliqué project! I blogged about it here.


Mini quilt using tulips from Sarah’s Night Garden pattern

In this project I was testing quilting with linen and voile. You can read about it here but don’t miss the follow up here.

It might be obvious (but it’s a book review so I guess I should say it): I would definitely recommend this book for your quilting library. I’d rate the projects as intermediate to advanced in difficulty, but completely doable for someone who has made a couple of quilts. It’s perfect, really, for quilters who want to try new and more complex techniques.

As part of Book Review Tuesday Michelle always gives away a copy of the book! How generous is that? So of course I will follow her tradition and give away a brand new copy of Quilting From Little Things. This giveaway is going to stay open a little longer than usual because I’ll be out of town and without internet access. I’ll draw a winner Monday, February 24 at 9 am EST.

The giveaway is open internationally and you don’t have to be a follower to enter. Just leave a comment. You can tell me about your quilt idol(s) if you want!

I’ll be back briefly tomorrow to share my first gypsy wife block and some words of encouragement for my barn door quilt along participants!

69 thoughts on “Book review tuesday for factotum of arts (+giveaway)

  1. I think I like the concept of this book. I started recovering my couch pillows and it occurred to me to try out new quilt ideas in pillow-front size. I’d like to see what Sarah suggests in her book!

  2. I love this book, and own it already, so if my number comes up, please redraw! I am so with you on being validated by her solids comment: the only solid in my stash is white homespun, which I use for printing my labels! If the fabric doesn’t have a print or a texture, it doesn’t attract me, and when I use a ‘solid’ colour, it’s usually a tone on tone print, or white on white. And I love all the ‘little’ quilts so you can test the idea out.

  3. I’m right there with you! I’m not a fan of solids. I don’t even think I have one solid in my stash!! And I would L O V E to be picked for the owner of this book! Enjoy your vacation!!

  4. I think I fall about half way on the print vs solids thing… well, I mean, I love solids, so I’m still more over on that side of things. But I tend to love coloured solids, rather than white. So many quilters use white by the bucket load and I just don’t understand why! (I mean, I do understand why: it gives quilts a very clean, crisp look. But I just don’t want it for my quilts.) I like it all though, really, all prints, no prints, a mix of prints and solids.

    Anyway, I’ve got that Craftsy class, but haven’t listened ot any of it yet. One of these days…

  5. this book is on my wish list already, I’m sold. I find your blog is a thoughtful source of inspiration, always. That’s why I follow you. Thank you for the chance.

  6. Great review. I started out in quilting back in high school when I made one all solids quilt. It is what we had. That was my last quilt like that and I never made or used much of any kind of solids again until I got back into quilting and started blogging a year or so ago. I am not loving using solids but don’t feel I have to, I just like it. I am going to check out the craftsy class.
    I think one of my quilting idols will always be my mom as she was able to put things together that I can’t even dream about.

  7. I love watching her Craftsy class, but I don’t have any of her books. I would love to add Quilting from Little Things to my library. Thanks for the giveaway and review.

  8. I am not sure about the no use of solids, because I love quilts that use them, but I also like quilts that don’t use them, so I need this book to study it 😉

    Thanks for this giveaway

  9. I have the book as well (you can redraw). Sarah Fielke is definitely one of my quilting idols her quilts are gorgeous! Funny thing in material obsession I was always drawn to her quilts more than her partners 🙂 her craftsy class definitely gave me the coverage to try hand appliqué. Haven’t finished yet but love where the projects going.

  10. What a great review and giveaway, thanks Sarah! I have Material Obsession but wasn’t familiar with this title. Sarah Fielke is definitely one of my quilting heroes as I get more and more interested in hand quilting. I’ve also been looking a lot at the work of Maura Ambrose, Carrie Strine, Cortney Heimerl, and Sarah Nishiura – so much good work happening these days! Have a great time on your vacation! I’ll stay put and keep working on my Barn Door!

  11. Pingback: Book Review Tuesday | Factotum of Arts

  12. You do write a good book review! The publishers should employ you 🙂 Good luck with getting the family ready for hols and have a good time. I’m off to Kent for a few days on Saturday, so I have to take some hand sewing with me 🙂

  13. This is an interesting idea and I would like to learn more about her reasons. I don’t think I have any idols, but there are certain designers I like. Thanks for the review and for the giveaway.

  14. I liked the review of her book and would really like to try it. I use prints a lot and find it hard to use solids sometimes. I have to make myself think in solids in order to use them LOL!

  15. Always amazes me and I often wonder, why are we expected or visually tricked into solids?. To be honest I used up all my solids a month or so ago and Ive not really struggled not having a rainbow of colours to work with, mind you some may disagree given the end results on some items ahhahahaha 😉

  16. I just purchased Material Obsession II recently and have added her other books to my list of quilting books to buy someday. It would be fantastic to win one! I love super scrappy but controlled style (something I’m still working on getting right). Some of my idols are Fig Tree Quilts (fabric), Bonnie & Camille (fabric), and bloggers like Red Pepper Quilts, Crazy Mom Quilts, and Leah Day.

  17. I love Becky Goldsmith for the way she logically thinks through every step of the process. I’ve never read one of Sarah’s books so I’d like to give this a shot.

  18. I discovered my quilting idol in a similar manner to you. I took Camille Roskelley’s Craftsy class, and just fell head over heels with her work. Her designs are generally fairly simple. She tends not to use tricky things like partials seams or paper piecing (great for very beginning quilter me), and her fabrics are always bright and fresh. Her newest book “Simply Retro” was a Christmas present this year – I read the whole book at least 3 times and have plans to start quilting from it soon!

  19. I have so many inspirational quilting books and I’ve NEVER made a thing for them. I “ooh” and “ahh” at the projects and it’s almost like if I make one, then they won’t be “ooh” and “ahh” worthy any more – silly really, but up on that pedestal they stay … Hope you enjoy your break and thanks for the opportunity to win a book to “ohh” and “ahh” at 🙂

  20. That looks like a fun book! And yes, she makes awesome quilts! I think my quilting idol at the moment would have to be…. Denyse Schmidt. She’s actually been an idol since the beginning, she was one of the first quilters I felt I could identify with stylewise, no-rules aproach, and a loft studio (dream of mine). But there are so many!!! Thanks for the giveaway!

  21. I use a lot of white on white patterns for quilt backings. I’ve also used prints and other colors. I just made my first “modern” quilt. My husbands niece sent me a pin from pinterest for the baby quilt she wanted. I traced the pin back to flikr, and it was 11×17. Tried to contact the poster, but she didn’t answer, so I enlarged the quilt. It turned out really well.

  22. Thanks for sharing this lovely book! I love Sarah’s designs. And thanks for sharing your thoughts about choosing what you love. Good advice for every quilter!

  23. Mary Lou Wideman was one of the first quilters who made me comfortable diving into quilting. The idea that something could be wonky and still okay just blew my mind. I’m working on the precision now, but if it hadn’t been for the wild abandon of her quilts and one of her workshops five years ago, I might never have had the right introduction to this craft!

  24. My Grandmother was my quilt idol. She had this beautiful white quilt with baskets of appliqued flowers on it that I loved. It was lost in a fire many years after she died, and I’ve never quite forgiven my mother, who never used it — not even once, for not giving it to me.

Say something! I love comments.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s