As I’ve been contemplating my growth as a quilter (you know, when I sit around and wonder why I feel the need to work on quick projects all the time rather than devote time to practicing skills), I kept wondering what the “next step” for me should be. Pieced borders? Pieced sashing? Crazy small pieces? Wholecloth quilting?
So I got this book – it looks appropriate intimidating, right?
I’ve heard good things about Barbara Cline as a quilter and an author/teacher, so I wasn’t too intimidated. Plus, you know, I can do precision if needed.
What I like about the cover quilt are the fresh, modern colors, but I get why the techniques might not appeal to a more “modern” quilter. Primarily because lots of modern quilters aren’t quilters with years of experience, and piecing all these tiny bits can be intimidating (*gulp*).
Fear not, though, the rumors about Barbara are true! The book is well laid out as building blocks for techniques. It starts with the visual POW that diamond chains are like Irish Chains, but with diamonds (duh!) instead of squares. Then the techniques build through changing the elements in the centers of those blocks to make secondary patterns (the orange spikey stars or the blue stars in the picture on the cover).
Barbara also presents a couple different methods for piecing the chains – either using templates, cutting from strip sets, or the 60 degree triangle ruler I conveniently own from doing Attack of the Hexies. She covers Y-seams (which I promise are really not that bad). There are 20 pages of techniques before you even get to the first project, so you’re well prepared to tackle one of the quilts in the book.
My favorite pattern in the book is called Sea Shore, which looks like a hybrid of sand dollars and starfish. In my head it’s the perfect companion quilt to Beach Walk, but would be usable instead of hanging prettily on the wall, forbidden from touching under penalty of No Minecraft For A Week (for my kids, anyway).
I also like that at the end of the book is section on how to create and size diamond sashing to put into you any other quilt you’re working on, and I think I might take advantage of that for my Dresden Plate quilt I’m currently working on.
So, if you’re looking to advance your piecing through a thoughtful, well-laid out book, I recommend Diamond Chain Quilts. I’m considering getting some of Barbara’s other books as well since they are technique focused with a smattering of projects, which is nice for a quilter who already has tons of ideas in her head.