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Book Review: Creative Quilting with Beads by Valerie Van Arsdale Shrader

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The ability to create quilts is something I have always admired. My grandmother used to make beautiful quilts, both sewn and crocheted. I have several of them stored away in my hope chest. But quilting today is a lot different than when my grandmother was creating them. Quilts are not only supposed to be functional, they are in some cases works of art. Many quilts are embellished with layers of beads, embroidery, and surface designs to make them true works of art.

Creative Quilting with Beads by Valerie Van Arsdale Shrader has 20-plus projects that use beads and embellishments to give your quilting projects dimension and sparkle. The book begins with the basics of beading for those who are not familiar with it. You will learn about the different types of beads that will work well with quilting and where you can purchase them. There is an overview of the various beading tools and supplies that will be needed to complete these projects.

There is also information on the different types of materials, the different parts of a quilt, and basic quilting supplies and tools. You will learn different types of machine sewing techniques, like seams, straight stitch quilting, free motion quilting, and fusible appliqué. Hand sewing techniques like basic beading stitches, basic embroidery stitches, and basic quilting stitches are also explained. Finally, you will learn how to assemble the finished quilt once the parts are completed.

The projects themselves are all gathered in the second section of the book. Each features a full-color photograph of the finished project as well as the designer’s name, tips from the designer, materials needed, tools needed, written instructions, drawings of how the embellishment should be done on the material, and figures to show how pieces should be put together. The actual templates needed for each project are at the back of the book and can be photocopied and enlarged when you want to use them to create your project. The projects themselves range from quilted magnets all the way up to hanging wall quilts. A few projects could be done by someone who is relatively new to quilting, but I would say that most would require a bit of experience to complete.

At the back of the book is a beautiful gallery of quilting projects. You will learn the materials used to create each project and where it is on display. This section is so inspirational, and while I cannot imagine having the skill or patience to actually create one of these projects, I loved looking at the amazing detail and intricate work involved. If you’re a traditional quilter who is looking to add a bit more sparkle to your creations, Creative Quilting with Beads: 20+ Projects with Dimension, Sparkle & Shine is definitely the book for you.

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About Ellen Christian

Ellen is a busy mom of two teenagers who left the corporate world in 2008 to focus on a more eco-friendly life. She lives in rural Vermont where she juggles family, two blogs and a career in social media. You can find her at http://www.confessionsofanover-workedmom.com/ and http://the-socialites-closet.blogspot.com/.