Martingale Books “Modern Basics” by Amy Ellis

 
I’ve been making quilts for several years now but still consider myself to be a beginner. Like many twenty first century quilters I have very limited space and money to pursue this pleasurable pastime. This is why I was drawn to the title of Amy Ellis’ book Modern Basics – Easy Quilts to Fit Your Budget, Space, and Style.
From the introduction onwards Amy offers snippets of encouragement and solid, sensible advice. For example she advises that you cut all pieces before starting to construct your quilt top,
this way you won’t lose motivation and can chip away at the quilt when you find a few spare moments to get behind your machine.
She also dispels the myth that in order to be a good quilter you need a sewing room, giving suggestions on how to store your tools and keep your fabric stash to a minimum.
 
Following the introduction the book launches into 14 projects. All of the projects adhere to the principles of ‘Modern Quilting’ and all are stunning. There is something for modern
quilters of all tastes, from blocks created with bold floral prints to graphic statement
quilts made from solid fabrics.
Many of the quilts appear quite complex, but when you turn the page to look at the construction diagrams you realize how deceptively simple they are. Several of the quilts could easily be
put together in a weekend.
Each project has yardage requirements and cutting instructions and some quilts can be made in a range of sizes.
The piecing and construction diagrams are clear and very well produced. The written instructions are considered and easy to follow.  
The photography by Brent Kane is great, there are at least two photos of each quilt, one in situ
giving a sense of scale and size, and one photo of the quilt flat out so that you can admire the design as a whole.
 
The final chapter of the book is a beginners guide to patchwork and quilting. It covers everything from essential tools, cutting techniques, machine piecing, pressing, borders, basting, quilting and binding.  It is very well written and features simple, effective diagrams.
 
This book is fantastic. For a true beginner it is one stop shop, containing all the advice and instruction they need and enough inspiring projects to keep them satisfied for years.
For me it has made me realize that I don’t need to attempt complex designs and techniques to produce stunning work, there is beauty in simplicity.
Lets all get back to basics!
 

All images courtesy of Martingale and Brent Kane

 
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