Book Review: Scrap Basket Sensations

Scrap-Basket Sensations: More Great Quilts from 2 1/2Scrap-Basket Sensations: More Great Quilts from 2 1/2″ Strips by Kim Brackett

I had seen this book, but when I heard about it from Frances, I decided to buy it. I like this book, in general. I like the examples at the beginning of how to gather scraps. I know that one of the Twilters, Torie, goes to Strip Club and exchanges strips. This program has interested me ever since she mentioned it. As an aside, I think it would be an interesting for a quilt shop to cut 2.5″ strips in a “Club” format for their customers and the customers could subscribe and get a set of strips each month. The strips sets could be new fabrics the shop received or fabrics according to a theme.

The author also talks about gathering strips from your stash, which includes cutting from scraps. Ms. Brackett also talks about sorting and storing strips. I was pleased to see the sections on themes and color schemes.” In the Color Schemes section Ms. Brackett writes “Be alert for color combinations that catch your eye in clothing, magazines, nature, and the quilts of others (pg.10).” This is a great way to learn about color. I keep an idea book where bits and pieces are pasted. Some are shapes I want to remember and others are color combinations that would make great quilts. Once you identify color groups you like, check the color wheel and try to identify the type of color scheme it is (primary, secondary, split complimentary, monochromatic, etc). This exercise will help you to become familiar with the different ways to use the color wheel to make successful quilts.

While this book does have the obligatory basic quiltmaking instructions, there is some very good, useful and interesting information in the front of the book-before the patterns start. The author talks about adding borders and includes the different types of borders (butted-corner, mitered, etc) as well as how to add borders. There is also a section on preparing the backing and batting as well as binding. I don’t think a person can learn to make a quilt using the basics on a few pages, but these instructions can get you started and shows more experienced quiltmakers different techniques.

There is a section called “Special Piecing Techniques” (pg.17), which goes over folded-corner units and split units. The section on split units has some interesting design possibilities! I haven’t every seen these techniques explained in a book before. It could be that I am reading the wrong books.

Then the patterns start. There are 18 patterns in this book. of those, there are three I would seriously consider making: Over and Under, Sparkler and Flower Boxes. Each book is very personal to the author and it is clear what type of fabric this author likes. Her fabric choices are fine, but not as bright and cheerful as I like. Despite that most of the patterns have very interesting lines and shapes. There are a few where the blocks make up an overall pattern.

There are also some great details. I like the sashing on the quilt called “Flowers for Nana Girl.” The pieces appear to form a mini Friendship Star. I really like it when sashing adds a little viewer’s reward to the overall design of the quilt.

If this was the only book, I had, I think I could be very happy with the wide variety of patterns provided. My one criticism (aside from not having an index) is that the borders on many of the quilts were not well thought out. Some of them were just slapped on. I realize the time pressure that authors are under to make a gazillion quilts AND write the text AND test the patterns, but poor border choices can ruin a quilt. I don’t think that any of the quilts were ruined, but I do think different border choices would have enhanced several of the quilts.

All in all, I would urge you to take a look at this book.

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