I was provided a copy of Madly Modern Quilts in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.
It’s not until you see a really well done self-published quilting book that you truly appreciate the work that goes into publishing. Besides the patterns themselves, there are many different elements that need to be included: extra tips and tricks, materials lists, step-out photos, layout diagrams, illustrations, and well-written copy. When there’s a team working on a book at a publishing house, that seems less daunting. When you’re one woman doing it all yourself, you deserve a margarita.
Such is the case for Carole Lyles Shaw‘s Madly Modern Quilts, available via CreateSpace and Amazon. Carole is an accomplished quilter and serves on the executive board of the Modern Quilt Guild. With a background in art quilting, she has claimed a rather unique niche in her modern quilting books and workshops: guiding traditional quilters into using modern aesthetics and techniques.
Madly Modern Quilts features eleven different projects, which is an impressive amount for a quilting book from any publisher. They’re based on a simple principle: that improvised blocks and layouts don’t have to be intimidating. Shaw calls her technique “freeform patterns,” explaining that each of her layouts has a variety of different options to make each quilt unique. The book’s graphic design is simple and clean yet inviting, with lots of color and plenty of illustrations and photos. The quilts definitely have a “scrappy” vibe; Shaw touts her patterns as being scrap-friendly, and she definitely illustrates that in each project.
The projects themselves are fairly straightforward and appropriate for all skill levels. They often combine traditional inspiration (Rail Fence, Nine Patch, and Drunkard’s Path blocks, for example) with fracturing and improvisational techniques for a big punch with not too much difficulty. Shaw’s directions are clear, encouraging, and complete, and I think her patterns and instructions would definitely appeal to the quilter interested in adopting a modern aesthetic but not really sure where to begin.
If Madly Modern Quilts is representative of the future of self-publishing in the craft book world, I think we’re in a very good spot. Shaw demonstrates that DIY craft books don’t have to sacrifice quality, accuracy, or design appeal to make it out in the world. And if that’s the case, the options for publishing patterns are as limitless as the possibilities in her book.
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