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on 8 May 2012
This is the book that started me on quiltmaking after I had been put off by what seemed fearsomely complicated rules and techniques. As with Jane Brocket's other books, this book is a feast for the eye, and with plenty to read - not an endless series of diagrams and complex instructions. The quilts are beautifully photographed, and I particularly liked the fact that everyone of them is in a flat, full spread photo index at the back so that you can really get an idea of the whole design. Brocket discusses her choices of fabric and colours, and the sources of her inspiration, in great detail, with lots of photos of quilts as well as colour inspirations, etc. The construction of most of the quilts is essentially quite simple, although there are some which are slightly more complex geometrically, or with small pieces, which would be more demanding, so it is a great book for a beginner, but with something for those who are more practised at quilting, but are looking for inspiration and ideas.

There are clear instructions as to how to calculate quantities for fabric, binding, backing, wadding, etc, and although the quilts come in varying sizes, the reader is also told how to adjust these sizes. In fact, the first quilt I made using this book for guidance was a cot size one - demonstrating that Jane Brocket's methods and ideas for quilting are simple and easily transferable. There is no mystification of technique - I had always found the idea of hand quilting quite scary, but thanks to this book I have found that it is really quite easy, and that you don't need to have the facilities to machine quilt. I think what I have gained from this book is an encouragement to have a go, not to get hung about skill and technique, and to enjoy the creative process and be brave enough to think outside the box.

So if you want a beautiful and inspiring book to look at, enjoy thinking and reading about the creative process, and are feeling daunted by all those quilt books with jigsaw puzzle diagrams, then this is the book for you. However, what you won't find is a lot of technical detail about the various methods of patchworking, and there is nothing on handpieced hexagon (traditional English) patchwork, or detailed instructions for the complex geometrical block type of patchwork. This is not a criticism of this book - there are plenty of books out there covering those areas of quilting, and Brocket does not claim to be working in those fields - her book is quite different, and a refreshing and individual demystifying take on a very rewarding craft.
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on 5 April 2014
I'd already come across Jane Brocker in two places; I read her blog “yarnstorm” and I was given “The Gentle Art of Knitting” about two years ago for my birthday. It's a lovely blog, and an absolutely wonderful book. I'm now getting more and more into quilting, so when I saw Brocker's book on NetGalley I just had to request it. I was so pleased when I got an acceptance!

It's not often that I read a craft book from cover to cover; in fact, this may be the first time I've ever done it! There aren't many books of this genre that would lend themselves to this sort of reading, but Brocker's style is so engaging that this wasn't a problem. Reading her books (and her blog), it feels like she is sitting down with me by the fireside and chatting, imparting her wisdom bit by bit. It's informal, relaxed and – yes – gentle. The world of quilting is rather terrifying at times, but Jane Brocker's version of quilting seems remarkably stress-free. I don't feel overwhelmed looking at her huge double bed spread quilts, or her perfectly chosen colour arrangements. It feels possible that I may actually call myself a quilter!

There are so many lovely quilts in this book, but my favourites would be: 'Hammock,' 'Floral Frocks,' both versions of 'Russian Shawl,' the evening version of 'Beach Hut' and the beautiful rich blues of 'Swimming Pool.' Actually, I loved them all – I'd love to try stitching all of them, but I don't think this is really an option on any sort of budget. (money and time!) The only part that leaves me feeling overwhelmed is the fact that Jane hand quilts every single one. Now, I haven't made a full-size quilt (yet), only cot quilts, but even the idea of hand quilting these smaller projects seems like such a mammoth job to me. She helpfully shares the advantages and disadvantages of each method, leaving it up to the quilter's decision what they would like. This was useful to me: I would never even have considered hand-quilting before, but now it is something to ponder on at least...

The fact that each quilt is inspired by a place, or flowers, or a scene that Brocker has encountered is very typical of her craft-work, and I love it. The quilts I have made have been 'cheating' in this sense, and I feel a bit of a fraud. I don't go out and lovingly pick each fabric and carefully compare it to my stash. I've bought ready-made bundles where the designer has already chosen what goes together. This 'lazy' method of colour choice works very well, but reading through Brocker's inspiration has inspired me to try something different in the future. I love this quote:

“I have learned that there is no such thing as wasted fabric, just fabric waiting its turn to be in a quilt...”

It really sums up Brocker's gentle attitude to craft.

As well as simply being a beautiful book to look at and read, it also has a lot of practical advice. She says that all quilts should use a 6mm seam allowance, so I have marked where this is on my sewing machine. Also, I have learned about pressing seams in opposite directions to avoid a squashed square at the end, and she has reassured me that it's okay to stick to squares! I felt like to be a 'proper' quilter, I would have to make complicated hexagonal quilts and other things even more daunting, but now I can know what beauty there can be in simple squares as long as you have the right fabric.

Basically, I loved this book. The only problem is NetGalley provided me with an e-copy and now I feel like I need to buy a hard cover as well! There's nothing like being able to flick through a real book, whatever the convenience of e-books. It's just not the same. I'm looking forward to seeing the photos bigger, the diagrams not stretched between pages, and simply being able to hold this beautiful, gentle book.
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on 5 May 2010
I absolutely adore this book. As a new but very keen quilter I have been paralysed with fear and doubt over my abilities and my lack of technical knowledge and sewing skills etc. This has held me back from creating quilts as I would like to, and I have been slavishly attempting to copy the complicated hand techniques that I have been told are the 'proper' way to quilt, with little success and much frustration! Jane Brocket blasts all these rules and regulations out of the water and encourages you to have FUN with quilting and not worry about the technicalities - it's so liberating! Can't do complicated hand quilting? Then just do running stitch - it looks lovely and takes half the time. Don't want to faff about with papers and hand piecing? Then it's perfectly fine to use your machine and still make beautiful and complex looking quilts. Worried about colour and pattern? Just choose the fabrics you like, trust your instincts and get on with it! Jane has taken all the fear and mythology out of the art of quiltmaking and has transformed it into an easy, exciting, and most of all, FUN, activity that anyone can do, regardless of your skill level or perceived creative abilities. The quilts featured are all absolutely beautiful and the instructions are so simple that a child could happily follow them. Coupled with the gorgeous photos and lovely, encouraging and insightful text that accompanies each section, this is a book to inspire you and to equip you with the knowledge and confidence needed to make lovely items for your own use and help you stop worrying about doing everything the 'right' way. Highly recommended for people who just want to make a quilt and not a stitch perfect competition entry for the Festival of Quilts!
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on 28 August 2011
I am sure that many quilters are just like me. I have a huge collection of fabric - every time my main supplier had a special offer I just had to buy something - I just love fabric.
I have also bought many quilting books, always hoping that one of them would resolve my stash problem, and I have actually made several quilts - but since I don't make big items, somehow my stash seemed to get bigger and bigger.
This book seemed a godsend - as another reviewer has written, the author has cast aside all rules and regulations and insists that the most important thing is to enjoy what you are doing. At last I found the inspiration to make quite simple smaller quilts, baby quilts, table runners, which actually look quite complicated because of the use of colour - and playing with colour is the thing I like best.
My nightmare was always the final quilting so the author's idea of making no fuss about finishing the items with simple hand quilting in straight lines really stimulated me into working hard - and at last my stash is slowly getting under control once again. And I have made many people happy with a gift of my work.

A book which makes me happy every time I look through it. Highly recommendable
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on 3 January 2015
I would say buy this book, you will not be disappointed. I had a very experienced Australian quilting teacher and grew to love quilting. As my husbands job took us over the world I am sorry to say, the last time we moved, my quilting took a back seat for some years now This year, however, I intend to get back to it and with Jane's book that I love so much. I am so excited to make for family and friends again. Had this book for a couple of years now but when I dip into it and see the beautiful quilts and with Jane's advice, I feel I have a lovely friend with me and can't help but get inspired. Jane is so generous sharing her expertise and feel she has not left anything to wonder about that would hold anyone back. I needed this book to start me off again. Thank you Jane !
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on 23 October 2011
I have admired Jane Brocket's online blog which has featured her quilts that she has made and uses around her home. They featured in the Gentle Art of Domesticity to, which is sadly out of print.
This book feature new quilts and how to acheive them at home with the minimum of fuss, I have sewn all my life but quilting always seems a little 'twee or old fashioned' for me previously. Janes quilts changed my opinions totally!
Her designs are mainly concerning the colour and design of the beautiful fabrics she uses. These include Kaffe Fassett and Philip Jacobs designs. Thet feature bold and glorious colour, with flowers predominating striking quilts.
I was inspired to making 2 quilts 'in the style' of those in the book. The book gives simple instructions on fabric, cutting and sewing your quilt together, backing and binding it. Nothing is scary, or too technical. I hand quilted my quilts whilst watching films which is what Jane does.... I recommend it! I have been converted and look forward to making more inspirational quilts. this book is a starting place for your own designs, giving photographic ideas for your own heirlooms. Worth trying.
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on 21 January 2011
Even though I love to do patchwork and quilting I don't have many books on the subject. In the past I'd say this is largely because when I flick through potential books they have been visually uninspiring. I had heard good things about this book from other quilters so thought I'd get myself a copy. The thing I like best about this book is the beautiful, inspiring pictures. It's a visual feast of colour - not just the quilts but the colour inspiration behind them too. In fact the patterns are all quite simple layouts (doesn't mean they won't sometimes be time consuming to make) however, the use of colour is what really makes the quilts featured stunning.

This book would make a lovely present for any quilter (although make sure they don't have a copy already!) or anyone interested in beautiful fabrics and/or quilts. It's the sort of book you could sit and read - almost like a novel, without ever sewing a quilt. I like the way the author approaches each quilt by telling us how she got the inspiration, how she made it, how she over came any difficulties and useful advice for making the quilt yourself.
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on 7 December 2012
This book has no words on the cover - remove the paper band and all you see is a beautiful quilt. The texture of the cover is enticing enough but inside you find the most brilliant selection of quilts, with descriptions of what inspired them. There are both simple and more complicated designs here, but the emphasis is on the choice of fabrics for a theme - and the photos of the completed projects are stunning. This is a book with detailed instructions on how to make similar quilts, what to think about when selecting fabrics for your quilts, the values (depths) of the colours chosen and lots of other useful inspiration. This is also a book you can pick up and browse through for the pure enjoyment of the photos again and again.
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on 22 May 2010
I came across this book at the Malvern Quilt Festival a week ago. I am such a pushover for quilting books, that I really do not need another one, but after looking through it I just kept going back to the stand to look at it again, and again....and again. In the end, it would have been rude not to buy it! There is nothing complicated about any of the quilts in this book. Using simple shapes and designs they are totally suitable for a real beginner. What is lovely is the choice of fabrics and colours that would give hope to even the most daunted beginner. As a person who would describe her tastes as "traditional", I found that (like Kaffe Fassett) this book makes you think outside the box when it comes to mixing colours and designs. What is even better, is Jane does not stick to one fabric range (unlike Kaffe who has a range to push!) and she has introduced me to new designers who I hadn't even heard of before. As a result many happy hours trawling the net has really opened my eyes to who else is out there beyond the "same old same old". The instructions are clear and concise and the only difficulty is.....deciding which one to make first!!! This is a fabulously scrumptious book and worth place on any quilters book case.
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on 17 May 2010
I've been sewing for quite a while now - I started with the intention of patchwork quilting, but somehow I never quite got there. It always seemed such an enormously complex undertaking, and I was too daunted until, however, I received this book from my children for my birthday. Jane Brocket has assembled a collection of almost edible quilts, sumptuous colours, icecream cottons, drawing together all the colours and patterns that make me think of pick and mix sweeties in glass jars (back when we only got 20p pocket money a week, and there was such a thing as half penny sweets!) This book captured me because she replaced daunting with tempting, and before I knew what I was doing I had piles of fabric on the floor, and now I have my first quilt top under way. I really hope she does another quilting book!
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