Monday, August 15, 2011

Review: Quilter's Academy Vol.1 – Freshman Year: A Skill-Building Course in Quiltmaking

Almost all the books I read are borrowed from the library, so it's been at least a few months since they were released / published. Now that I'm blogging again, I'll occasionally review a book that I think is worth sharing. Up first, a book by mother-daughter quilting authors Harriet Hargrave & Carrie Hargrave.

Quilter's Academy Vol.1 – Freshman Year: A Skill-Building Course in Quiltmaking is the first in a series of 6 books that will teach you all the skills needed to piece quilts. This first book in the series teaches how to sew accurate seams and stitch simple blocks made of squares and/or rectangles with precision. Eleven projects are included as part of the skill building exercises.

There is a wealth of great information in Quilter's Academy Vol.1 – Freshman Year. Whether you are new to quilting or want to improve your skills, you will find useful information. I found myself reading the entire book thoroughly, despite more than 20 years of quilting experience.

Instead of just providing basic instructions to make some quilt designs, detailed instructions teach the skills needed for precise piecing. The process of creating a quilt top is introduced so you can customize a design to suit yourself and calculate yardage based on your actual fabric width.

Quilter's Academy Vol.1 – Freshman Year covers basic skills and information for piecing quilt tops. There are 9 classes, each with 4 to 7 lessons.

Class 110
Setting up sewing area, sewing machines, rotary cutters and mats, ruler basics
Class 120
Fabric: choosing, to wash or not, straightening grain, cutting strips
Class 130
Accurate seams (¼" doesn't work): measure, sew and press. First sewing: a sampler block and a simple quilt top (borders added in Class 180).
Class 140
Sewing and cutting tables, ergonomics, lighting, irons, gadgets (scissors, pins, stiletto, seam ripper). Two more quilt projects: triple rail fence and log cabin.
Class 150
Introduction to drafting and quilt layout. Mock up your quilt using extra fabric or color copies. Quilt projects: 4 patch blocks for sampler quilt, Country Lanes table runner, and Town Square quilt
Class 160
Collecting and choosing fabrics, more precision piecing. Quilt projects: 9 patch blocks for sampler quilt, Interlacing Circles quilt, and Double Nine-patch Chain quilt.
Class 170
Calculating yardage: examining a quilt design and calculating yardage. Quilt Projects: Inlaid Tile table runner, Double Irish Chain baby quilt, and Irish Chain Variation quilt.
Class 180
Borders: squaring the quilt top, measuring for border lengths, sewing borders to the quilt top, and mitered borders.
Class 190
Quilt backing. Binding a quilt. Quilting design ideas for the project quilts.
Final Exam
Calculate yardage and determine construction instructions for a quilt design based on the Burgoyne Surrounded quilt block.

Visit Harriet & Carrie's Quilter's Academy Journal for news about the Quilter's Academy series including publication dates and corrections to the books.

The Quilter's Academy series does not cover the process of layering the top with batting and backing material and quilting the layers together. Instead, readers are referred to other books dedicated to quilting the quilt, such as Harriet Hargrave's Heirloom Machine Quilting: Comprehensive Guide to Hand-Quilting Effects Using Your Sewing Machine, now in it's 4th edition.

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