Wednesday, September 22, 2010

WTF Wednesday #2 - Material Obsession

Way, way back in July of 2009 I posted about wanting to pick up Material Obsession.  Well, I did, eventually, and it's been sitting on my shelf for about six months.  I took a brief look at the pictures, and put it back down.  This happened several times.

This past weekend, I actually sat down and gave it a good look through.

I really, really wish I hadn't purchased it.

First of all, six of the twenty-three quilts in it were so basic in their construction, that I seriously questioned their inclusion in a book.  Those six quilts would be Avalon, Gypsy Squares, Candy Store, Corner Store, Three Ring Circus, Ginger Snap.  

Avalon is probably the worst offender of the bunch.  It's just a bunch of 18" X 18" squares with a 3" sashing between them.  I really didn't need two pages of instructions, along with drawings showing me construction sequence.  Sure, the fabric is pretty, but this would have held a lot more visual interest if they'd just sewn sashing onto the fat quarters the authors would have the reader start off with.

And then there's Gyspy Squares.  Comprised only of 8" squares (finished), I couldn't believe its inclusion in a book touting "Modern Quilts with Traditional Roots".  What on earth is modern about this quilt?  It's as basic a utility quilt as you can get, and the fabrics aren't particularly modern.

Actually, I could say that for a large number the quilts in this books.  I was not especially struck by any of the fabric selections.  In fact, I found myself more and more irritated by the constant use of busy prints as background fabrics, when a solid would have been far more visually effective.  Furthermore, most of the fabrics were pretty hum-drum, and looked more like '30s reproduction prints than modern prints.

I was irked that the templates and the construction guides were hand-drawn.  It was probably done to make everything feel more approachable, but it feels condescending to me.  I'm quite sure that the majority of people who bought this book were already comfortable with quilting, and didn't need that faux touchy-feely addition.

And, I know this makes me the lone nut in a box of bolts, but I really dislike styled photos of quilts.  I much prefer the head-on images of full quilts, rather than those of quilts artfully draped here and there.  While Material Obsession includes the former, there are far too many of the latter.  And honestly, I just don't care how pretty a quilt looks against the backdrop of the Australian landscape, as beautiful as it is.  If I want to see the Australian landscape, I'll get a book on the Australian landscape.

Then I hit the end of the book... Twenty-one pages dedicated to a "Quilting Basics" section.  Which wouldn't have really bothered me so much, but I'm just really tired of these sections in books.  There are several, better, whole books dedicated that exact subject that contain a lot more detail and and answer more questions than these sections that get tacked on to a book's end to plump up the page count.

I want to say that I'm done buying quilting books entirely, but there have got to be some gems out there.


mjb said...

You're not even mentioning the other designs that are completely based around the specific fabrics (the prints charming designs). I was glad to have gotten this one from the library. I'm curious to flip through their second book, but that's about all I expect to do.

Clumsy Chord said...

I recently bought.. City Quilts from Cherri House, which I actually enjoyed reading. I don't know if I'll make any of her quilts, but I still am happy with the book. At the same time, I somehow wound up buying another book that I don't remember picking out (I got them from Amazon) and doesn't seem like something I would have picked out necessarily, and anyway, it's probably the single WORST quilting book I've ever had my hands on. It's 'Rectangle Pizzaz' by Judy Sisneros and the only interesting thing about is reading it straight after 'City Quilts' and comparing their ways of working.

Sisneros is of the school of buying a busy print and choosing your remaining fabrics based on that starter print. She says, and I quote, "I also do not use solid fabrics - ever. Even if a fabric looks like a solid, you can be sure it's a tone-on-tone if it's in one of my quilts. In my opinion, solid colors look flat in a quilt."

Wow. Never seen an Amish quilt, I guess. Or a Cherri House one for that matter.

Post a Comment

Questions? Comments? Random fact? Put it here!