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Monday, March 19, 2007


Book Review: Paper Piece the Quick Strip Way

Paper Piece the Quick-Strip Way
By Peggy Martin
C&T Publishing, 2007
112 pages, suggested retail $28.95

A couple of weeks ago Lynn and I did the Atlanta Shop Hop on a tour bus with 30 other quilters. It was an interesting and entertaining weekend (Lynn will be posting an account of the trip at Planet Patchwork), and one of the things we learned was the perennial appeal of a well-done book on paper piecing. One of the women on the bus bought this book on an early stop of the 13-store hop, and it was soon being passed around the bus and garnering a lot of “ooh”s and “ah”s. I saw the title as it passed by my seat, and wondered what all the fuss was about. At the next stop, two other quilters bought the book and the discussions and exclamations continued.

A week later, we received a review copy in the mail from C&T, and I got a good look at what the bus crowd was admiring. It is indeed worthy of admiration. Instead of simply publishing a new collection of paper-pieced blocks, Peggy Martin has extended the range of paper piecing in a couple of ways. One is that she has adapted the technique to quick machine chain-piecing, considerably speeding up the somewhat tedious paper-piecing technique. Her blocks are assembled from strips rather than individual pieces. If this sounds impossible, she provides detailed instructions in the book, and the result is every bit as precise as a painstakingly hand-sewn block. Her second innovation is that she has revolutionized the way paper-pieced blocks can be used as design elements. She splits them, staggers them, explodes them, and otherwise deconstructs the traditional block-based design to get dramatic new effects.

The book contains instructions for 12 complete projects, plus ideas for designing your own quilts using these techniques. By building on a traditional quilting method, Martin takes a lot of the intimidation factor out of doing your own designs. The projects and sample designs in the book are bold and dramatic. It’s a really fun book with a lot of great new ideas. It’s no wonder the ladies on the bus were impressed.

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