Book Review: Modern Quilting Designs

Cover shot of Modern Quilting DesignsThe City of Melbourne has just opened a shiny new community centre to give inner city residents and workers a place to go. Inner city residents are mostly high-rise dwellers who pay plenty in rates (taxes) and it might be argued that their money is too often diverted to tourism promotion and business services, rather than to services for residents.

The Boyd community hub is an exception and represents a significant investment in local amenities by the City of Melbourne. It’s also a great example of how wonderful an old building can be when you throw a serous pile of money at restoring it.

The old JH Boyd Girls High School building dates from 1884. The red brick neo-gothic school building had been abandoned for years  but, mercifully, had been preserved for its architectural significance. It now houses a cafe, art space, maternal and child health centre and library.

The Boyd library is full of shiny new books as it is a brand new facility. By that I mean every single book is brand new. Even more remarkable is that the books are grouped into subject clusters and do not use the Dewey Decimal classification system.

The Dewey Decimal system is actually older than the Boyd building, having been devised in 1876. For all its failings, it’s very familiar to all of us who visit libraries or have ever been university students.

Let me tell you, walking in to a library that does not use the Dewey Decimal system seriously messes with your mind. For example in Cookbooks-Celebrity we had the whole pantheon right next to each other: Nigella Lawson, Jamie Oliver, Anthony Bourdin, and so on. It’s great for browsing, but I didn’t check what happens when you need to find a particular book.

The acquisition policy for the new library seems to have been focussed on accessible modern titles, with plenty of foreign language books, magazines and DVDs. My beloved was disappointed by the paucity of woodworking titles and the quilting book I borrowed turned out to be, well, not that rich in actual content.

I borrowed Modern Quilting Designs by Bethany Pease. It claims to offer 90+ Free Motion Inspirations. And indeed, it does offer this. And not much more. It’s a collection of what might unkindly be called doodles or what might kindly be called modern quilting designs. There is zero information about how to learn free motion quilting, how to start each line or travel the stitching within the quilt, or how to sew the designs that are not continuous. There aren’t even any photos of actual finished quilts made using the designs shown in the book, though we are told that the author funded her college  education through long-arm quilting. Good on her for that and for getting a book published at all. That’s probably the secret dream of many of us bloggers.

Sample Modern Quiling Design

Would you pay $15 for a book full of these? I wouldn’t.

Recommendation: worth a look if you’re already a free-motion quilter looking for new design ideas. For the rest of us, don’t bother. If I’d paid US $15 at Amazon to buy this book, I’d be feeling ripped off right now.

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6 responses to “Book Review: Modern Quilting Designs

  1. I love these community hubs – we have some in Canberra now too. They are great spaces and I agree seem to be our tax dollars being well spent.

    I’m glad you find anything that is non-Dewey system in a library confusing – I gave up using a university library near me because I couldn’t find anything! Strange but true.

    If you want to learn free motion, my suggestion is try to get to a class with Jenny Bowker or Deb Louie. Most things you can learn from a book but my experience is this one that is worth spending the dollars to do a class on.

    • Re the Dewey system, your comment made me realise that I never feel confused by a bookshop that is organised into subject groupings. Guess it’s all about context (and maybe expectations.)

      Re free motion quilting, it’s not at the top of my list but I’ll keep an eye out for those teachers. Thanks for the tip.

  2. With all those big words you’ve got I’m surprised you need to read any more books with words!

  3. Interesting – and I love the idea of actually being able to find something in a library. i have a friend who is a quilter now living in Melbourne. Met her in Kuwait. Not sure what part of town she is in though.

  4. Our local library now groups by subject as well. I understand the theory behind it, (time constraints for people with busy-busy lives who just want to dash in, browse, and dash out again), but I particularly dislike having to ask a librarian to locate a book for me, it makes me feel as if I’m back in kindergarten. Call me a dinosaur, but I miss the Dewey system.

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