I had to place a book order for hubs and couldn't resist adding one for me. Charm School by Vanessa Goertzen is a delightful book of 18 quilt patterns made from 5" squares (also known as charm squares). The fun doesn't end with simple squares of fabric though as Vanessa guides us chapter by chapter on how to shake things up and expand on creativity using the simple pre-cut as a starting point. (There are a few pages on supplies and finishing the quilts but they are brief. This book doesn't go in-depth with techniques so a beginner would probably need to refer elsewhere for more detailed explanations).
I chose this book because I am very familiar with Vanessa. I first discovered her talents when I made the Goody Goody Binding Kit. It remains one of my favourite creations and I use it finishing every single quilt. The chocolate bar is long gone but the kit still holds all my binding tools and supplies and that makes it super easy to grab and go when I have hand sewing to do. It happens to be something I'm very proud of making, too. Not only is it functional but I think it turned out beautifully! The zipper works, the pockets are perfect, the quilting is simple and the fabric is pretty.
Fabric is another way I know about Vanessa. She is a designer for Moda and I have a couple of her collections. She has very sweet designs and lovely colours in her collections and I enjoy working with them. I made her Social Butterfly Quilt (her design, her fabric) and was very pleased with the result. Hey, that quilt was gifted to my mother-in-law so it had to be spectacular! (By the way, there is a variation on the butterfly quilt in the book. I think I might just make that one for myself sometime!)
Back to Charm School...and the theme of the book is education: learning to work with pre-cut squares, from simple to expanded possibilities. Although this is a beginner's guide, the beautiful quilts (especially in later chapters where alterations are made to the squares to form more complex designs) can be made by seasoned quilters as well. The reviews of the book were excellent and many were indeed from more confident sewists with quite a bit of experience (such as myself) so I knew there would be patterns I would like. In fact, my first project is going to be 'Tipsy', a darling quilt with an unexpected twist created by using wonky cuts to add an illusion of movement with tilts and angles. I can't wait!
So there you have it. Another great book to add to my shelf (after I use it of course!). I think I have exhausted my current supply of Camille Roskelley patterns (she is my favourite) so it's really nice to have a fresh crop of ideas and inspiration to play with from Vanessa. I love to have ways to use up my pre-cuts and I have several charm packs in my stash. Not limited to just those smaller cuts, I can also make my own 5" squares from other pre-cuts, fat quarters, and yardage. I happen to have a fat quarter bundle of Gooseberry and a layer cake of Into the Woods so I'm well stocked now with Vanessa's fabric and patterns!
One last thing...the cover of Charm School is the coolest material! It feels so smooth and almost waterproof. I have no idea how the paper is coated but I love the feel of it!