Staff Favorites Round-Up

Staff Favorites Round-Up

Posted by Deirdre Quirk on Jul 10th 2018

We're so pleased to introduce a new feature on the blog: C&T staff interviews! Every month we'll be sharing a behind-the-scenes look at the amazing and talented people who bring you the books you love. We're kicking the series off with a massive round-up of our favorite C&T Publishing books and products. Enjoy!

Todd: My all-time favorite title is the book An Amish Adventure by Roberta Horton. It was the first book ever published by my parents and C&T Publishing. Ruthmary recently showed me her saddle-stitched copy that looked like it could be one of the first printings of the book.

Ruthmary: OMG, how can one chose just ONE favorite?! My very favorite, and one I use a lot because I buy so many charm squares from Missouri Star Quilts, is the fast2mark Easy Triangle Tool. But it is no longer available! Sooo, since I love any patterns that use either my many charm squares and other precuts or make use of my over-the-top fabric stash, but I have to limit myself to one, I'll take Sunday Morning Quilts. This book is my standby, the one I grab when I want something easy with beautiful results.

Amy: My all-time favorite so far is Jean Well's Inspired to Design. I loved the thought put into the book—from the gorgeous nature photography and the pages from Jean's design journal to the lessons on design, it was a great education in art quilting. I was so excited when I saw the proposal that I called Jean and told her that I loved this book and that we would publish it before we routed it. Fast forward several years and I got to take a class with Jean at Alden Lane Nursery in September 2014. It was my first-ever quilting class! And I got to be put at the same table as Alex Anderson and Alison Schmidt. We had such a great time at our table, and I learned so much from Jean. I even bought a bunch of solid fabrics.

Lynn: I love kraft-tex! I made my first-ever bag using kraft-tex. Here is the pattern that I used, if you're curious: This was taught as a class at the office, and I was surprised by how easy and FUN it was! I use my Carryall Tote as a grocery bag, and I get compliments on it almost every time I use it. It has lasted me four years and is still going strong. I wash it when it gets dirty, and I love the leathery feel of the kraft-tex after washing!

Dawn: It's so hard to pick just one book! Since I am a rebel I will mention two (bear with me, there is very good reason). The book I am most excited by (at least for now) is The Little Spark by Carrie Bloomston. It speaks to me in a way that only a person who has struggled with self doubt and excuses can hear. Carrie helps peel back those onion layers of fear of starting something new in a non-threatening, warm, and inspiring way. Every chapter reads like sitting across the kitchen table sharing coffee and earnest conversation with a friend. It's SO different from what we normally publish but seems so RIGHT to be one of our books. Once the self-imposed roadblocks are cleared away, there are TONS of amazing books and products that are just waiting in our catalog for exploration. That brings me to my second favorite book, kraft-tex Style. I have fallen in love with this product and all the creative ways people are using it! I have the pleasure of not only looking at all the wonderful pictures of what has been made but have also had the opportunity to touch them as well. Yes, they are as wonderful as they appear. I made the Carryall Tote on page 55 a few years ago. It has stood the test of time and I use it every chance I can. In fact, Carrie has a fun yoga mat pattern that may be my next project!

Tristan: How torturous to pick only one, so I won’t. :) kraft-tex is so awesome and easy to use for bags, tags, etc., that it has become my big go-to these days. As a maker, most of what I make are gifts, and kraft-tex bags and journal covers with varying embellishments have fallen into this category. I have also made multiple projects from Lunch Bags to give as gifts! 

As a mother and craft leader for scouts and 4-H, the FunStitch Studio imprint has been my companion. Love the Annabel Wrigley books! And finally, two more favorites I use ALL the time … Silicone Release Paper and our Eco totes (I have them all)!!!

Tim: My favorite book is Sew Home by Erin Schlosser. The design and photography in this book is amazing. I love just looking through it, like a catalog of all of the really awesome, modern projects it contains. It's a great inspirational book, as well as a manual to decorating any space in your home.

April: I have so many favorites! The book that really inspires me is Modern Quilts by the Modern Quilt Guild. I love the variety of artist perspectives. It's so interesting to see which pieces strike you immediately, and which slowly grow on you as you revisit them. I like to see things that make me feel confident (maybe I could sew/design something like that!) and others that are completely beyond my capability.

Kerry: Oh no! I have to pick one. There are so many books in which I love the quilts, the photography, and the design; A Field Guide to Fabric Design is done really well, and I love to flip through the pages. Every time a FunStitch Studio book is slotted, I always say I can't wait for that book to come out; I am partial to The Best of Sewing Machine Fun for Kids, Second Edition, since this was a huge design and illustration project for me. kraft-tex is awesome, especially the new designer colors; I'm super excited for Sew kraft-tex Bags, coming out this fall. I love our little pocket books too, they're so cute. Sewing to Sell is one of my favorites, as I dream about selling crafts again someday, and I can't wait for the new one, More Sewing to Sell. So, I picked one in a few different categories, does that count as picking one?

Betsy: I'm glad I'm not the only one ignoring the instructions and picking more that one favorite! (It's like choosing your favorite color ... it can't be done.) So, first of all I LOVE kraft-tex—it's a great material to work with, and there is a wonderful selection of colors to choose from. I never get tired of coming up with new ways to use it, and I love creating new patterns that combine kraft-tex and my favorite fabrics. [Editor's note: you can see the patterns Betsy has come up with here and here.] As far as books go, Elizabeth Hartman's The Practical Guide to Patchwork has a special place in my heart because it was the first quilting book I ever purchased and it gave me the information, the inspiration, and the confidence to give quilting a try. My current favorite is Modern Plus Sign Quilts by Cheryl Brickey and Paige Alexander—I want to make every quilt in the book!

Liz: I love Gloria Loughman's work. Her books Radiant Landscapes and Fabulous Facades are some of my favorite C&T books. She gives you wonderful guidance for how to take an image you love and make it your own . . . in fabric, using the shapes and colors that speak to you. Anything goes!

Linda: Aside from my all-time favorite, Charm School, which is overflowing with simple-to-make yet lovely-to-gaze-at quilt creations, I'd have to choose Jenifer Dick's and Angela Walter's collaborative work, Nine-Patch Revolution. Again, it must be that principle of simplicity that snagged me. What could be simpler than a Nine-Patch? Jenifer's quilts push that simplicity in all directions, and she comes up with some marvelous variations that are eye-popping! Then Angela steps in to provide her fabulous quilting guidance to give you a wealth of options specifically for the quilt you just made! What could be better? This book had me in mind—simple quilts and how to quilt them—perfect!

Jennifer: I couldn’t pick just one book, so I chose two of my favorites: Stitched Sewing Organizers by Aneela Hoey and Perfect Patchwork Bags by Sue Kim with Veronica Yang. I first started sewing in high school, and my earliest projects were zippered pouches, bags, and purses. So the subject matter of these books brings me back to the days of learning the basics and the excitement I felt upon completing a sewing project for the first time. Additionally, I love the authors’ designs and the fabrics they chose for their projects; Sue and Aneela both have a great eye for what fabrics and colors work well together.

 Alice: One of my favorite artists is Wassily Kandinsky, because of the creative variety of shapes, colors, and positions of elements. Likewise, I’m drawn to nontraditional quilts that have a more improvisational look. C&T books that appeal to me include Create Your Own Free-Form Quilts (by Rayna Gillman), 15 Minutes of Play—Improvisational Quilts (by Victoria Findlay Wolfe), and Artful Improv (by Cindy Grisdela). The recycler in me also likes the notion that you can always think outside of the box and make something amazing with repurposed fabric.

Debbie: ONE favorite? I began buying C&T books at least 25 years before I started working here. I enjoy making quilts, clothing, accessories, toys, anything in fabric really. There are several that I refer to, and more that I return to for tried-and-true designs. However, considering the array of ideas that we have to share, my latest favorite is The New Ladies' Art Company Quick & Easy Block Tool. This book is jam-packed with charts to help you make the blocks in five different sizes. There are also quilt patterns for each block, plus more tips in the back. It was fun coming up with the project patterns as we worked on this book.

Deirdre: I just came out in May, but I already know that Sew ... The Garment-Making Book of Knowledge will be a book I return to again and again. I grew up mending clothes, but I'm ready to tackle making them myself, and this book seems like it will be the perfect guide. I have my own copy and I've already given one as a gift to a friend of mine!

Sarah: I know it's not yet out, but I really like Magical Forest Fairy Crafts Through the Seasons (August 2018). We had galleys at Quilt Market and Book Expo and also lots of the adorable projects to show to customers. The projects are sweet and easy and having nieces who love fairy projects I know there's a huge and captive audience for these adorable fairy-craft projects. From making a fairy girl to a fairy baby to a lavender-scented mouse, kids will be happily surprised at all the easy projects they can make, and the back of the book is filled with patterns for all! I hope to grab a copy, some felt, thread, needles, and the simple-to-find adornments to make some precious little forest fairies and their friends. Kids will be able to make the projects and build a fairy family to play with and cherish through the seasons. Seeing our customers ooh and aah over the easy-to-make projects was so fulfilling for me. I know this book will be a big hit, just like it's predecessor, Forest Fairy Crafts.

Amber: I love, love, did I say love? Judy Gauthier's book Quilts for Scrap Lovers. I feel like she makes her piecing process super easy to understand, as well as making beautiful quilts. Being a beginner quilter with a lot of quilter friends, I am often given bags of leftover pieces of fabric. Gauthier turns what I thought was garbage into gold!!

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