Category: book reviews – quilting

Block Genius

Today, I’m happy to share insights on an excellent new book, that I believe can help you create endless possibilities of quilted items with #CreativeGoodness.

badge for books with #CreativeGoodness copy

Landauer Publishing has recently released “Block Genius” and I think the name of this book truly captures what is inside.



Block Genius: 201 Pieced Quilt Blocks With No Math Charts, by Sue Voegtlin

A block library to inspire and instruct quilters of all levels.

About the Book:

In one volume, quilters will find over 200 classic blocks that they can use to one their sewing skills, in block exchanges, or to create wonderful block sampler quilts.  In this impressive collection, the author organizes the blocks in groups of 2 x 2, 3 x 3, 4 x 4, and 6 x 6 grids with instructions and math provided for 6-, 9- and 12-inch blocks.  This book is a block library that will be quilt shops and quilters’ go-to source for reference, inspiration and instruction.

mosaic-13With the exception of a few that were designed by the author, the block designs are all nearly 100 years old.  Some designs are still sewn to this day.  Others deserve new recognition and use by today’s quiltrs.

  • A browser’s delight:  the photography provides color and fabric-choice inspiration to quilters, and each block’s evocative name recalls quilting’s rich history.
  • Clear instructions and expert advice:  exploded diagrams of each block make construction a snap without special rulers.  Tips on fabric selection, color choice, cutting, pressing, and sewing.
  • No math:  The author provides accurate dimensions for each cut so that quilters can easily size their blocks for 6- 9- or 12-inches.
  • Includes instructions on constructing half-square and quarter-square triangles, flying geese, square-in-a-squares and parallel blocks.
  • Contains No Match Charts for resizing blocks.
  • Four classic to contemporary setting suggestions


About the author:

Sue Voegtlin has been Laundauer Publishing’s photographer since 2008 and has designed several quilts for our books.  She is an avid outdoorswoman and loves outdoor photography.  She is also a wonderful sewer, who began with garments, but graduated to the world of quilting when she came to Landauer, using our books to guide her.

About the publisher:

Landauer Publishing is an independently-owned, award-winning publisher managed by people passionate about books and about bringing high-quality inspirational and creative, techniques and how-to publications to life.  We are all about excellence in content, photography, design, and service to all our customers and to our authors.



This is an amazing new quilting book, truly perfect for quilters of all levels.  With 201 pieced block designs, each in three different sizes (6″, 9″ and 12″), it is an exceptional reference tool and one that can also help you easily create your own unique quilt designs.

The optional setting designs are all lovely, but I was particularly drawn to the Asymmetrical Setting, which I think enables creating stunning designs with a Modern Quilt style.  Possibilities are endless.

You’ll also find great visuals and instructions for cutting and assembly, plus plenty of “Good to Know” tips and techniques.  I hope you get a chance to check this book out at your favorite quilt shop.

maple-leaf-2 Don’t forget that if you don’t see it, you may want to let them know about it.  It is such a new book they may simply not be aware of it yet.  Of course, you can also check it out online at Landauer Publishing, or Amazon.

You can find Landauer Publishing at:

The New Hexagon – A Book Review, A Quilt Along and a Giveaway

I’m finding #CreativeGoodness thru English Paper Piecing of Hexie designs by Katja Marek.  Thus, today I want to share insights about a book she has written, a quilt along, as well as a giveaway.

The New Hexagon: 52 Blocks to English Paper Piece, by Katja Mar has innovative designs using English Paper Piecing, based around Hexagon designs.


Unlock the possibilities within hexagons and make your own unique blocks. Learn the glue-basting method of English paper piecing and use it to create exciting designs. You’ll enjoy relaxing handwork as you incorporate hexagons into decorative projects.

Finals The New Hexagon B1235.indd

  • Select from 52 patterns for 6″ blocks
  • Divide the shapes within the hexagon outline and discover new shapes
  • Stitch projects ranging from a mug rug and candle mat to a bed-sized quilt



Katja Marek was born in Moers, Germany. At the age of eight, she immigrated with her family to Canada. Her mother was a tailor by trade and took in alterations as a way to stay home with her children. Katja grew up under her mother’s sewing machine, and spent many childhood hours crafting, sewing, crocheting, and cross-stitching. Unlike most teenage girls, Katja spent her money not on makeup and music, but on fabric. When she was 14, the family moved to a camp/resort, where many of the cabin beds featured handmade quilts. Katja fell in love with an old version of a Grandmother’s Fan design. Without any knowledge of quilting, but with a vast knowledge of sewing, she proceeded to make templates and cut pieces from old clothing–and thus her quilting journey began. Winning the award for art achievement in high school convinced her that she wanted to pursue a career with a creative outlet. In 1999, with years of banking behind her and her children in their teens, the time had come for Katja to realize that dream. She fulfilled her vision by opening her own quilt shop in Kamloops, British Columbia.


For hexie lovers and those that have not yet discovered the fun of creativity with Hexies, this book is the roadmap for unlimited creativity with hexies.  Not famililar with English Paper Piecing (EPP)?  No problem.  Katja has included information for all the basics, including tool selection, EPP techniques, quiltmaking basics, as well as working with patterns to help you create your own designs.

Finals The New Hexagon B1235.indd

Projects in range from a 8 1/4″ x 9 1/4″ Candle Mat to a   19 1/2″ x 46″ table runner to a 60″ x 78″ quilt and all of the projects come with easy to follow instructions and great visuals.

Finals The New Hexagon B1235.indd

The 52 blocks of amazing hexie designs for English Paper Piecing, all include templates to create 6″ blocks.  There are endless possibilities of creating your own unique quilts using the EPP block designs provided in this book.



Katja is hosting a free Quilt Along called “Blocks on the Go, Quilts on the Grow”, with info on this event available on her website:   But all the fun is being shared in a facebook group she created for sharing with those participating in this event:



One lucky follower of QuiltShopGal will receive a copy of “The New Hexagon” book, by Katja Marek.  This giveaway is open to WW followers, but I do ask you to read the rules below and if you are interested, claim one or more entries using the Rafflecopter form below. To clarify, it only takes one entry to win, but there a variety of ways to enter. And, for those that like to increase their odds you can claim as many entries that you qualify for.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I also want to recognize and thank Elizabeth (Libby) Hemming, as a Postage Angel who has donated money to help supplement postage expenses for prizes that QuiltShopGal needs to  ship directly to winners in 2016.  Thanks to Libby for covering 100% of the shipment of this prize to an US winner.  I also want to clarify, Postage Angels are still eligible to enter any giveaway/contest hosted by QuiltShopGal and have the same odds of randomly being selected to win, as non-Postage Angel participants.

I do want to clarify, as announced earlier this year, due to continuing postage rate increases, International winners will not receive free shipping in 2016.  If they wish to enter a giveaway and claim their prize they will need to donate $20 US, as a Postage Angel.  If actual postage is greater QuiltShopGal will pay the difference and if it is less, the extra funds will go into a postage expense account, to help supplement expenses for future shipping of prizes.   Sadly, the US Post Office just raised rates 5% AGAIN this week.

You can find Martingale at:


Here is a list of recent giveaways, hosted by QuiltShopGal, that may still have time to enter:

If you have a giveaway that you’d like to increase awareness of, feel free to post a direct link with giveaway description in the comments below.  For those on Facebook, feel free to share on my page:

Easy-Sew Quilts For Urban Living

Today, I’m delighted to share insights on a fun new book, that I believe is packed with #CreativeGoodness.  I do want to disclose that I was given a copy of this book, in exchange for my honest review, as well as the ability to use it as a Giveaway or Prize, for an event hosted by QuiltShopGal.

.badge for books with #CreativeGoodness copy

Easy-Sew Quilts for Urban Living: 9 Fresh, Fun Designs, by Joanie Holton & Melaniee Greseth for TailorMade by Design, published by Landauer Publishing is a refreshing new book, with designs that have a modern flare, that would help you make stunning quilts for your home, or for gifts.



The dynamic duo of TailorMade by Design have created 9 new, contemporary bed quilts to attract the millennial and fabric-addict alike.  The stylish quilts in Easy-Sew Quilts for Urban Living utilize fresh, modern fabric to create breath-taking bed quilts.  This new pattern book places an emphasis on fabric to find inspiration for piecing and quilting.


Each quilt pattern includes piecing and applique’ instructions, as well as alternate color options.  Bold colors and prints attract a new audience to the quilting arena-the advanced beginner looking for an inspiring quilt pattern.  The larger fabric pieces and geometric designs make these patterns easy to cut, stitch and quilt!


Joanie Holton of Farmington, MN and Melanie Greseth of Peoria, IL inherited their love of sewing from their mother.  Their company, TailorMade by Design, focuses on creating designs and projects to highlight their textile clients’ newest fabric collections and offer quilt shops and consumeers patterns that inspire and challenge.  Many of their quilt and project designs have been featured in the top quilt and sewing magazines.



The nine patterns in this book all come with easy to follow instructions to make bed-size projects.  But I think a confident quilter could also easily adapt these designs to make table runners, that would also look spectacular (or wallhangings, pillows, etc).

The designs work well in a variety of prints and solids, for any color palette combination. And, they have negative space that would also work well to show off your free-motion quilting skills, or use your walking foot for straight line echo quilting.

I hope you will like this book and have a chance to check it out in your local quiltshop, or from Landauer Publishing’s online store, or thru Amazon (using my Affiliate Link)..

Note:  This book was given away as a prize in the 2015 Free-Motion Quilting Challenge, where Landauer was recognized as a sponsor.

You can find the Landauer Publishing at:

You can find TailorMade by Design at:


A Flair For Fabric and Insights on a Fun Blog Hop And Giveaways

Have fun quilting, while also helping to raise funds for the Red Cross!


A Flair for Fabric: Creative Sewing Projects from the Designers at Henry Glass“, compiled by Linda Lum DeBono, published by Martingale, is a fun new quilting book packed with a variety of fun projects, perfect for sewing enthusiasts of all levels. There are 15 projects in this book, each with great visuals and easy to follow instructions.  And, the designers are donating the royalties from the sale of this book to the Red Cross!

Publisher’s Insights on this book:

Presenting an outstanding collection of projects from the talented fabric designers at Henry Glass & Co., Inc. Immerse yourself in designs by Leanne Anderson; Dana Brooks; Linda Lum DeBono; Kim Diehl; Anni Downs; Jill Finley; Amy Hamberlin; Liz Hawkins and Beth Hawkins of Lizzie B Cre8ive; Margot Languedoc; Janet Nesbitt and Pam Soliday of Buggy Barn; Vicki Oehlke; Heather Mulder Peterson; Jacquelynne Steves; and Mary Ellen Von Holt, Alice Berg, and Sylvia Johnson of Little Quilts.
  • Learn the secrets designers use to create fabric lines; apply their tips to successfully mix and match your own fabrics
  • Have fun making 15 projects from pillows to place mats and quilts—with a mix of patchwork and applique
  • Support a worthy cause while you create; the designers are donating the royalties from the sale of this book to the Red Cross

SewCalGal’s perspective on this book:

With 15 projects that range from pillows to place mats to quilts, with a mix of patchwork and applique’, this book is excellent for beginners through advanced quilters and sewing enthusiasts who want to create some fun projects for your home decor, as well as for gifts, making this book an exceptional value!   And you can know you are supporting a worthy cause.

Projects in this book, which include step by step instructions, incorporate piecing and many have machine applique’. 

SewCalGal truly loves the designs in this book and highly recommends “A Flair For Fabric”.  
There is also a blog hop that is going on to celebrate the release of this new book, with many great tips, inspiration and giveaways being shared along the way.  Here is the line up for this hop:

Tuesday, November 18: Launch at Martingale’s Stitch This! blog
Wednesday, November 19: Dana Brooks
Thursday, November 20: Leanne Anderson
Friday, November 21: (It’s us!)
Saturday, November 22: Janet Nesbitt
Monday, November 24: Linda Lum DeBono
Tuesday, November 25: Anni Downs
Wednesday, November 26: Kim Diehl
Friday, November 28: Jill Finley
Saturday, November 29: Amy Hamberlin
Monday, December 1: Margo Languedoc
Tuesday, December 2: Little Quilts
Wednesday, December 3: Lizzie B Cre8ive
Thursday, December 4: Heather Mulder Peterson
Friday, December 5: Jacquelynne Steves
Saturday, December 6: Wrap up at the Henry Glass blog


You can find Martingale at:

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You Can Quilt It, by Deborah M. Poole


Deborah M. Poole is a talented quilter from Idaho, who has won many  awards from regional and national shows. And, she is also the author of “You Can Quilt It!: Stunning Free-Motion Quilting Designs Made Easy“,  published by Martingale.
The focus of this book is on free-motion quilting (FMQ) for longarmers, but many insights can be applied to those doing FMQ on a domestic machine too!  Either way, SewCalGal believes this is an exceptional book for anyone interested in free-motion quilting.  While it shows how to stitch a variety of designs, it may be one of the best books written that shares insights on how to layout designs for overall quilting that would certainly create stunning quilts. 


This book is well organized with all sorts of tips from marking tools, registration lines, stencils, templates, rulers, and more!


Deborah shows how to stitch a variety of feathers, wreath feathers, heirloom feathers, multiple plumes, curving feathers, how to stitch feathers around corners such as a border, feathered cables, and much, much, much more!


She also shows how to create grids, pearls, echo quilting, various fill stitch designs, basket weave, etc..




There are step-by-step instructions to make various designs shared in this book, but SewCalGal believes this book is better suited for those that are confident with free-motion quilting vs those that may just beginning to learn FMQ techniques.  But, for those that are confident, I wouldn’t be surprised if an absolute beginner quilter used this book to top stitch a quilt that wins a major award at a quilt show. It really is that good of a book!


SewCalGal hopes you have a chance to check out this book at your favorite local quilt shop or online shop.  Of course, you can also find it in Martingale’s online store, as well as on Amazon.

You can find Martingale at:

Jelly Roll Quilt Magic

Jelly Roll Quilt Magic, by Kimberly Einmo and published by American Quilter’s Society is a “must have” quilt book for quilters that enjoy making strip quilts, or those wanting to learn to make beautiful quilts using pre-cuts, such as 2.5″ strip Jelly Rolls, Layer Cakes  (or fabric you might want to cut from your stash).

This book as 12 magical projects using precuts or fabrics from your own stash.

There is also a unique twist to this book in that Kimberly shows you how to create 11 basic block units from 7 basic sub-units, to create quilts that are absolutely Brilliant.

All of the projects have easy to follow instructions with great visuals. Each design is also rated for skill level:  Beginner, Confident Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced.    The book is also packed with oodles of Kimberly’s Top Tips that are all very helpful.

Designs included in this book are:

Lone Starburst a 65″x65″ design that where blocks can be layed out to create a number of completely different designs.  It was this particular quilt design that SewCalGal fell in love with, when she first met Kimberly when she was teaching at Road to California.  And, this design is what inspired me to buy this book, as well as take any and every class I can take with Kimberly Einmo. She is very talented and an excellent teacher. And, of course, I’m planning on making this beautiful Lone Starburst quilt very soon.

jelly roll quilt magic by kimberly einmo

Checkerboarder Rainbow Star 


checkerboard rainbow star, by Kimberly Einmo

Radiant Geese Crossing, 56″x56″

rainbow geese crossing by kimberly einmo

Spinning Spools 64″x82″

Spring Fling 48″X48

spring fling by kimberly einmo

Summer Sparklers 54″x70

Leaves in the Pumpkin Patch 54″x54″


Starry Pines 64″x64″

Just Dotty 58″ x72″


Faux Cathedral Windows 34″x34″ 

Sticks and Stones 78″x86″

Shooting Stars 80″x80″

There is also an amazing section “Lovely Little Leftovers” that share insights on using left over strips and bits to make beautiful projects too. This alone could be worth the price of the book for many quilters.  It certainly provides excellent insights on how you can save money creating projects from these leftovers. 

And, Kimberly included a section on “How to Host a Jelly Roll Round Robin” with would be great fun for a Quilt Guild, quilting friends and even bloggers that might want to host such an activity in our growing virtual quilting world.

I hope you get a chance to check out this wonderful book soon, at your local quilt shop or favorite online store.  It really is an amazing book.

You can also find Kimberly at Craftsy.  On Crafty, she teaches super fun classes where you can create amazing quilts and learn oodles of tips and techniques. 

Kimberly is an amazing designer and teacher. If you do not yet have her on your quilting radar, you should add her quickly.  Let your quilt guilds and quilt show coordinators know you want to have her come teach.  She is amazing!


Insights on Quilting & Sewing books

I’m delighted to share insights with you on some fun books for quilters, knitters and sewing enthusiasts all published by Martingale.  And, while I’m not hosting a Fun Friday Giveaway today, I do want to share that each of these books have been added to the prize list for this Sunday’s Quilter’s Christmas Party and everyone is invited to attend. 

Accent on Angles:  Easy Strip-Set Quilts, by Susan Purney Markis a fun book that shares insights on using strip fabrics and angles to create amazing quilts and other projects.  There are nine projects included in this book which shares fun techniques and easy to follow instructions to make projects in various sizes using strip sets.

Kaleidoscope Paper Piecing: 10 Dynamic Quilt Designs, by Nancy Mahoney has ten fun projects on paper piecing designs to help you create amazing projects with perfect piecing using paper piecing techniques.

Simple Gifts for Dog Lovers, by Catherine Tough. This little book is perfect for anyone that loves little dogs, or wants to make a gift for someone that does. Certainly, the recipients will be the “best dressed” dogs ever. You’ll also find fun craft projects like the dog bone “key fob”, which would certainly make a great gift for those that love these four legged kids.

Make It Sew Modern: Gather, Twist, Pleat, Texture, by Vanessa Christenson of V and CO. is a fun book that includes a variety of projects from pillows to purses, as well as clothing accessories and home decorating.

Sewing Pottery By Machine, by Barbara Warholic is a great book for anyone interested in making fabric pottery.  Projects include those for beginners, as well as advanced fabric pottery makers.

Don’t forget to come to the Quilter’s Christmas Party this Sunday.  There are oodles of prizes.

SewCalGal wishes to thank the following Sponsors that have generously donated prizes for the Quilter’s Christmas Party:

ASF/Lightware Solutions/The Reading Light (Beam N Read), Kelly Jackson of I Have A Notion (IHAN), Island Batik,  MartingaleAmerican & Efird LLCSewEZI QuiltingLark CraftsCozy Quilt DesignsCraftsy, Judy Chain of Sew Fun QuiltsNew Leaf Stitches, Rebecca Goldsmith of  Piece O’ Cake, Ebony Love (Love Bug Studios) and Lily Patch Quilts.

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