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Vendor Spotlight : C&T Publishing

Reported by Susie Ziegler

I had a really hard time choosing the book I wanted to review from
C&T publishing. Their titles by talented artists and designers are of exceptional quality. Some of the titles I considered were Convergence Quilts because I’ve seen these quilts at quilt shows and they are a great way to use beautifully textured hand dyed fabrics; Quick Star Quilts and Beyond because star quilts are always terrific; A Touch of Felt because I have a drawer full of colorful wool roving and I’ve seen this author’s beautiful projects on craft shows; and Fast Fun and Easy Fabric Boxes because when I made Fast fun and Easy Fabric Bowls from another book from C&T, they were a huge hit with my extended family and all my kids’ teachers.


In the end I decided that in my quilt work, curved seams have always freaked me out. I’m also intimidated by working in 3-dimensions, but I’m getting better at that… I chose Winding Ways Quilts by Nancy Elliott MacDonald. I love that the blocks look kind of like stars or flowers and that there are curving lines that create graceful secondary designs. The author assures that her technique is “practically pinless” which is great because pinning can be a real pain. Just look at this colorful sample quilt you can make with the Winding Ways block:
This quilt is done with two contrasting colors and is really effective. I thought I’d try a smaller version of this and make a toss pillow out of it.

It so happens that I am a person who likes to read and follow directions. You do need to read her cutting instructions. Fortunately, this book has great tips about fabric selection, making templates, and cutting the pieces. As in other C&T books, each step is carefully illustrated or photographed to help keep you on track.

It is really important to fold the fabric the way that the author describes. You need to have four layers with a folded edge that is about 3/8 inches below the raw edges.

You also need to make templates out of plastic, linoleum, or cardboard. I used a couple layers of tagboard. The author has acrylic templates for sale in a variety of sizes on her website. I wish I had those templates, because I think the cutting would be more accurate, but the cardboard worked okay. Accurate cutting is key to successful quilting so be careful with this step!

I made templates for a 9 inch block. Five sizes of templates are offered in the book. No enlarging on a photocopier is required. Hooray for that! Using a rotary cutter is preferable to scissors because they are more accurate. I was super careful, but I did nick off a bit of my cardboard template toward the end of the cutting.

There are only three shapes required for this block. I cut shapes from this green and another pretty red fabric and I started pinning.
You need to pin just a little bit at one end of the curved unit you are going to sew.
I made a simple video to show you how to do the seam. In the video, I call this a “block” but this is only one unit and not the whole block. Also, in the book the author recommends using the concave curve on top. I did it upside down, but it still worked out.
I can hardly believe it, but the block turned out great! I am no longer scared of curves! This simple block by itself is just a little bit boring, so I extended it to make a larger top for a pillow.
The author explains how you will need to press your seams. Since these are very gentle curves, they do not need to be clipped at all.

I added some more units all the way around my block. I was able to get the points to match up!

Although the block went together easily, I think I needed to do a little bit more trimming because the finished top doesn’t really lay flat. The experienced author assures that once the batting backing and quilting are finished, this puckering will not be noticeable. Even so, I might still go back and try to fix it. I’m sorry I don’t have time to do all that for this review.


The book has detailed instructions for a variety of projects using the Winding Ways block. There is also a section with general quilting instructions for how to do a top-batting-backing- sandwich, quilting, and binding.

Doesn’t it look cool? I am so excited! I was planning to finish it for my mom as a gift, but it matches my front room, so I might be keeping it all to myself. It really was an easy technique. Note that this particular sized project isn’t in the book.

Pros:
  • Detailed, illustrated instructions that anticipate your fears and confusions in a very readable style.
  • Beautiful projects showcase this versatile block
  • Curves really aren’t that scary!
Cons:
  • Didn’t come with templates. I really want those templates.
  • Although the projects are all marked as “Easy”, I think they are only easy for experienced quilters who already know how to keep a consistent 1/4-inch seam allowance.
  • You do need to read the instructions. This may or may not be a “con” for you.
Winding Ways Quilts is available from Amazon, C&T Publishing, and Hungry Bookworm.

What do you think? Will you give curved seam sewing a try? I’m so happy that I did!
And how about a giveaway!! C&T is donating eBooks to 3 winners! So leave us a comment with the type of crafting book you enjoy most. You can enter on any of the C&T Publishing posts and have until Friday at Midnight! Email subscribers click here to leave a comment and enter!
Click on the link at the top of the page to visit Craft Critique for comments, giveaways and more!

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14 Responses to Vendor Spotlight : C&T Publishing

  1. Avatar
    Christine May 21, 2009 at 3:36 pm #

    Wow, the book really seems to make things easy. I love your pillow. It turned out great. Wonderful review.

  2. Avatar
    Tamikko May 21, 2009 at 4:44 pm #

    It looks so much easier then I ever thought it to be. Your pillow is gorgeous! This looks like something even I can do 🙂

  3. Avatar
    IamSusie May 21, 2009 at 6:06 pm #

    It really was a lot easier than I expected!

  4. Avatar
    Sue Cahill May 21, 2009 at 6:24 pm #

    I have always been intimitated by curved piecing as well but this book looks like it might help me get over that fear.
    I am toatlly addicted to quilt books (and magazines). I need to have everyone I see. I have to sneak them into the house so my husband doesn’t figure out how much I’m spending!

    I’d love a chance to win this book.
    Sue Cahill (sbonetsue at yahoo dot com)

  5. Avatar
    Donna May 21, 2009 at 9:40 pm #

    Great job Susie. I want this book soley based on the block you made.

  6. Avatar
    Katie Renz May 22, 2009 at 12:38 am #

    Its gorgeous and looks fab on the screen. I bet it looks better in real life.

  7. Avatar
    isabel scrap May 22, 2009 at 6:37 am #

    You have done a great great job !!!!
    I love scrap books and sew books
    thanks for the chance

  8. Avatar
    alexandra May 22, 2009 at 6:37 am #

    your pillow is absolutly fantastic… love it !!!
    Love all the books about handmade things…

  9. Avatar
    isabel May 22, 2009 at 6:38 am #

    hope I’ll win a books, I love to learn everyday.. and have some inspiration

  10. Avatar
    Treasuresofjoy May 22, 2009 at 8:56 am #

    Wow I love sewing and Embroidery books and I need a quilting book! I am good about the 1/4 inch seem and promise to READ the instructions!

  11. Avatar
    StampinCathy May 22, 2009 at 11:39 am #

    Lovin all these wonderful reviews. I would love to try this pillow. I love paper and jewerly books and magazines. Thanks for a chance at this wonderful giveaway.

  12. Avatar
    dclouser May 22, 2009 at 11:51 am #

    What a neat review! I’ve been wanting to tackle quilting for so long and you make it look so fun and easy…

  13. Avatar
    Karen May 22, 2009 at 3:51 pm #

    Beautiful! I would love to learn to do this. Sounds like you found it easy to do.

  14. Avatar
    rush8888 May 22, 2009 at 11:02 pm #

    fabric is just another variation of paper. paper work and quilting are some of my favorites.