My name is Charlotte, sometimes known as Ms Lottie, occasionally as The Slightly Mad Quilt Lady. This is my blog, where you'll find me writing a lot about my quilting and textile arts and a little about my family's life in a small seaside town in New Zealand. Haere mai!

Monday, July 18, 2016

The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters. A book review.

My quilty friend and I have taken over our quilt club's librarian position this year.  Actually, in the spirit of full disclosure, I must add that she's doing most of the work and I'm getting to tag along for the fun bits.

Such as browsing for new books, then getting to read and review them when we get them.  My book wishlist is getting longer and longer as I discover more of the wonderful books available to us quilters.  I guess we need to thank the boom in crafts and quilting as popular hobbies for the huge array, there truly is something for everyone.

The title that I'm currently reading is 'The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters. A guide to creating, quilting and living courageously' by Sherri Lynn Wood.  I listened to a podcast featuring Sherri Lynn a while back and thought she sounded like a really interesting person so I was keen to read her book and see if my expectations met up.  They did, and then some!  I also knew the book was an STC Craft and Melanie Falick book, which in my experience are always a little different and of very high quality.

I'm not really one for books filled with patterns.  I started designing my own quilts pretty early on in my quilting journey, and I'm just not very interested in following someone else's design, so the fact that this is not a pattern book is the first appealing thing about it.  The second appealing thing is that it's a lot more than a how-to technique book.  There is a very helpful section of how-to's in the back, but that is not the main thrust at all.

What Sherri Lynn does in the Improv Handbook is try to encourage the reader to follow a 'score' or a set of general instructions, but make it their own by placing their own parameters or limits or adaptations around the work they do within the score.  She also provides lots of ideas for those parameters so the reader can have something to work with if they need direction.  There are examples of how other quilters have worked with her scores and the different work they produce is fascinating (and beautiful!).

I highly recommend this book.  I'm even considering buying my own copy because the thought of giving up this copy to the club library gives me a few pangs!  The writing is thought-provoking and thorough and the photography beautiful.  So if you are looking for a good book, add this one to your list.

PS it's the second week of school holidays here in NZ so I'm taking the kids on a road trip.  That's my excuse for such shocking photography, a motel room bedside light does not make for brilliant shots.

And I'm blogging though an app on my iPad and I can't figure out how to embed links so here's the link to the podcast with Abby Glassenberg:

And here's the link to Sherri Lyn Wood's website and blog:  Yes, Daintytime is the name of her site, I told you she was interesting!


  1. OK, I think being librarian sounds dangerous... how many quilt books fit on a boat? That sounds like the start of a terrible joke...

  2. I agree with Suz, being a librarian sounds bad lol!! What fun to have all that inspiration, though. Long live "the books" in this modern digital age!


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