I love paper piecing, so when the opportunity arose to review Paper Pieced Modern by Amy Garro (@13spools) I jumped at the chance! I have been following AMy for a while, and the tantalizing sneak peeks were driving me crazy. Then the blog hop for the book happened and I was rewarded with a visual buffet of gorgeous quilts. I can’t help myself from gushing, because there isn’t a quilt in this book that I wouldn’t make. It was hard to narrow down my favorites. Luckily my top three were hanging at Quiltcon, and I got to meet the lovely Amy in person. She is modest, talented, and an all around great person to be with!
Now, I have been paper piecing a very, very long time. Almost everything I do is foundation pieced. I own 5 or 6 titles of paper piecing patterns and techniques.
Amy’s book is the most straightforward, comprehensive, and informative book I have read on paper piecing. I learned quite a few things to bring my piecing up a few notches.
Amy covers everything in a concise manner, from choosing fabrics and creating an ombre effect to her piecing techniques and helpful tips. She even covers what to do for each kind of paper you might try and use for piecing, from commercially available foundation paper to regular old printer paper.
The technique she uses is well illustrated and easy to follow. Her writing is very easy to read and understand, making this book perfect for a beginner piecer. She explains the why as well as the hows, so an experienced quilter can make an informed choice when it comes to choosing a technique to use or adding to an already developed skill set. It also makes the patterns easier to understand and follow. Each pattern had a close up of her fabric choices and a blurb about why she chose them. There is even a small section on how to fussy cut your favorite prints for maximum effect, or what to do with a fabric that has an irregular distribution of the print, like the background of Apple Stars.
Each quilt also comes with multiple quilting suggestions to highlight different parts of the quilt or blend in. I love this small detail, it shows her careful attention to each quilt and I know I always balk when I get to the “Quilt as Desired” stage of a pattern. Her suggestions help take the fear out of this stage.
Her instructions include pre cutting the pieces for each section, so you know that the fabric will cover the entire section. She also outlines how to place fabrics for extreme angles and odd shapes, as well as stitching tips to keep the seams from separating when you pull out the threads.
Some of the quilts even have alternate layouts and color suggestions. For the designs that use an ombre effect she makes sure to outline exactly how to construct the blocks and the fabric placement for each to achieve the same effect, instead of leaving you guessing. I find that really helpful when choosing fabrics.
The cover quilt is also a huge hit with me. Icy Waters looks exactly how icy water feels ( I have first hand experience with that). It was sneak peeks of this quilt that led me to Amy’s blog and book in the first place. Again in person, it is stunning. This particular beauty was quilted by the esteemed Angela Walters, and she really captured that watery feel and softened all the straight edges with swirls.
Overall, I would rate the book as Excellent. The instructions are easy to read and comprehend, the diagrams are clear and easy to follow, and there is a range of patterns for every skill set. Her tips on fabric choice, sourcing, color, sewing, finishing and teaching the technique are clear and well written. I would recommend Paper Pieced Modern to any skill level, from complete beginner to experienced. I cannot wait to start sewing!