Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Martha Stewart's Encyclopedia of Sewing and Fabric Crafts


Until I looked into Martha Stewart's Encyclopedia of Sewing and Fabric Crafts, I would have said there was no right or wrong way to construct a quilt. Now I know differently: this book teaches the *wrong* way. Which bothers me, since quilting should be as straightforward as possible. The Encyclopedia instructs the innocent, first-time quilter to put the top of the quilt on the batting, and then machine-quilt it with no back. Then attach a back, right sides together, sew it (with piping!), and turn it right side out. Then tie it with ribbon, as in a tied quilt.

Folks.

It should not be this complicated.

On the other hand, the book is full of beautiful, if rerun, project ideas, mostly on a small, manageable scale. If it cost a little less, I would buy it and flip through it every few months to remind myself of the different things there are to do.

21 comments:

Kara Dekker said...

I've been enjoying your blog (lovely photos!) for many months, now, but this may be the first time I've commented.

What is your favourite way of finishing a quilt? I'm particularly interested, because I'm thinking of starting my first one soon. The quilt as you go method is sounding good to me at the moment...

Kara D.

Anna said...

Kara, I either leave enough back to bring around to the front and slip-stitch on (I posted a little tutorial on the easy way to bind a quilt), or attach bias binding all the way around. Not sure how the choice of finish relates to quilting as you go, though. Whether you quilt one block at a time and then attach them, or work on the whole quilt at once, you still need to finish the outside edge, if I'm understanding your question correctly.

You should do one!! It is lots of fun!

kristen said...

Martha's method is very odd. Never heard of that one before.

Kara, I vote for Anna's first method... making the back bigger than the front so you can just fold it around. It looks good and feels secure, somehow... like you're tucking everything in for the night. :)

chicklegirl said...

I've been a fan of Martha for a long time for the exact reason you mentioned: her projects are a great source of ideas and inspiration. I took her magazine for a while just because I loved to look through it for ideas for cooking, gardens, organizing, etc. She's got a recipe for BLT salad with avocado dressing that is truly divine!

That said, I have always felt that her ideas about the "right" way to do things was a bit... fussy.

There are so many ways to do projects similar to hers with greater economy--of time and materials--without sacrificing the quality of the outcome and the pleasure that comes in the creative process.

The Hojnackes said...

Wow! I am surprised that they would instruct someone to make a quilt in that manner. I have never heard of anything like that before!

Mary @ Neat and Tidy said...

Martha should stick to things she really knows how to do. Nice to read that she hasn't mastered everything (yet).

Diane said...

After thirty years of quilting, I'm fond of saying that the quilt police don't exist, that there's no hard and fast right and wrong way to make a quilt...

I was wrong. Ms. Stewart is crazy...

Shelley said...

Thanks for the warning. 'Fraid I already have more ideas of things to do than I will ever manage to carry out!

I'm about to tackle the simple block squares you've shown many times. It is going to be in the new colours of my kitchen and I will start small: a patchwork tube for holding plastic bags. It will take me ages, I'm sure, but when I'm finished I will blog about it and link back to one of your many projects!

Hana - Marmota said...

I'm trying to remember how I did my first and so far last quilted project, a pillowcase... but seeing as it was a pillowcase, I doubt I bothered with such a complicated process. I think I quilted through the back, because it went inside the pillowcase anyway. I liked the way it looked, so I think I'll keep doing it that way and use the bias-binding method on the edges, if I ever make a real quilt.

Missy said...

Who needs Martha Stewart when we have Anna.Your blog is where I get my inspiration. I tired of Martha years ago.

Missy M.

Emilee said...

I haven't read Martha's book yet, so I don't know if she was advocating that as the only way to make a quilt, or just as the way to put together the particular quilt she is showing. (But it does seem like that's not particularly the easiest way to start for a beginner.) I do know that Oh Fransson has a quilt (Modern Baby Quilt, I think) that is put together similarly to this Martha quilt. (Backing attached later.) Since it has been demonstrated that Oh Fransson can certainly quilt the "right" way, I don't know that I would call an alternative the "wrong" way.

Jessica said...

Yikes! That sounds like a recipe for disaster!

Kimberlee said...

This post just reaffirms that we'd much rather listen to 'Pleasant View Anna' (as you are fondly known in my house) than Martha. And the thought that you, dear Anna, need a reminder to think of things to do is truly funny, which is of course another reason you are so well loved. :-)

Suzanne said...

I have never heard of Martha's method either. Wonder if it was really hers or one of the editors??? The book is a bit pricey--I think I will peruse it at the bookstore and *maybe* check it from the library when available.

Lindsey in AL said...

That is wild! I shudder to think of the mess I would create if I had quilt batting (even nice cotton batting) against the feed dogs of the machine, or those of my walking foot.

My sister-in-law likes to tell a story about watching Martha with her (very accomplished homemaker) mother-in-law when she was a newlywed. Martha was demonstrating how to properly iron a man's shirt. MIL said, "That's not right at ALL!" and proceeded to teach my SIL how to do it herself. That's how she knew her MIL was a standard of homemaking to be judged by- she knew when MARTHA was wrong :)

Becky said...

I question whether Martha herself has ever made a quilt. She has an enormous, well paid staff that goes out of their way to find "different". And that is not always better.

I agree with you Anna, and most of your readers. Let's leave quilting to those who really know what they are doing.

Polly said...

I love Martha!

I love taking her ideas (recipes, crafty things, decorating) and making them my own--which ALWAYS means simplifying and doing things in a much more straightforward manner. She definitely makes things needlessly complex, and I keep things (sometimes too) simple. I haven't tried quilting yet, but I'll be sure to try *your* method--not hers!

rahraht said...

How funny! My mom purchased this book yesterday! I will not be reading the quilting section since I'm such a timid newbie at quilting as it is... :)

Margo said...

What a hoot! I've never heard of that method. Can't imagine putting batting down on the teeth of the feed dogs - yipe.

I'm on my third quilt and I've done a separate binding every time. I don't say "bias" because I just cut strips, not bothering to cut bias strips. That works fine.

Elissa said...

I recently purchased Martha's book, not for the instruction, (I already know how to sew) but for some inspiration. I have read her magazine for years and though I love it, I always found the projects usually required materials that were hard to find, and were more difficult than they needed to be. I do find her projects inspiring though. I think I may be getting more inspiration from you now though! Enjoying your blog very much!

Anonymous said...

I think every time that an "industry" is born, and there is money to be made, things become a lot more complicated, e.g. weight loss industry, fitness industry, child rearing industry and the Martha Stewart industry.
I think, overall, these industries make us doubt our abilities and God given commonsense and put our trust in the 'experts', who truly don't have all the answers.
Thanks for the heads up on the book.
Suzanne

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