Review: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Quilting

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Quilting Illustrated, Second EditionThe Complete Idiot's Guide to Quilting
by Laura Ehrlich

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Complete Idiot's Guide to Quilting / 1-59257-201-4

I feel like I'm a pretty good candidate for anything directed at idiots, but this book is really not very helpful. I have quite a few second-hand quilting books and this one covers the quilting basics far less thoroughly than most of my "regular" quilting books, which is a terrible disappointment.

This was my first quilting book and it almost convinced me to give up the hobby before I started. The explanations are very confusing and only really make sense to me now in retrospect, after having quilted for some time. The book also heavily emphasizes hand-quilting over machine-quilting, which I think is a little myopic - how many "beginning" quilters in this day and age have the time and desire to commit to hand quilting? I would guess not too many; I myself hold a 40+ hour a week job, and I barely have time to machine piece. Along the same lines, most of the blocks and pieces presented here are not machine-quilting friendly and the book spends no time whatsoever discussing common machine piecing techniques, like speed piecing.

If you *do* want to hand-quilt, you still may be disappointed in this book. The instructions on binding are horribly confusing and the batting instructions aren't much better. In fact, a good portion of the book is taken up with color charts and explanations of why blue pairs better with yellow than with green.

There's really only three useful things about this book: firstly, the color inserts in the middle of the book are lovely and inspirational; secondly, the author introduces the reader to the definitive "Trip Around the World Quilts" quilting resource; thirdly, the section on measurements and bed quilt lengths is relatively useful. Pick it up if you can find it for a dollar somewhere - but don't let this put you off of quilting if you are a beginner.

~ Ana Mardoll

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