Friday, November 02, 2007

Book Review: Simple Start, Stunning Finish

One of my favorite stops at PIQF each year is the Stitchin’ Post booth. I love their assortment of bright and wildly patterned fabrics, and I enjoying seeing what new Valori Wells creations are on display. This year, Valori Wells’ new book "Simple Start, Stunning Finish" was featured. And you know me ... I have a hard time resisting a book.

Like the other Valori Wells books, this one is beautiful to look at. Inspiration photos abound in here, showing what natural and every day items inspired the designs and providing good reminders of how looking closely at what is around us can be a great springboard for creating new work. The photos alone (never mind the quilts) are lovely to look at and an aid to jumpstart a new project.

In terms of quilting, the techniques shown here are simple ones. That’s the point – the book’s goal is to show how you can create something stunning with simple techniques, strong fabric choices, and clever finishing. And the projects are excellent illustrations of these concepts. There’s a bit of everything: piecing, curved piecing, strip piecing, raw edge applique, foundation piecing. There’s particular focus on using large scale prints as the starting point for great quilts, which makes for some lively and really attractive quilts. But none of the 15 projects shown are boring. Interesting color and fabric choices make these quilts ones that make me smile and get me thinking about where to go from there. Any of these would make fast yet not simple-looking gift quilts.

There are also great tips on what Valori calls "sketch quilting," using designs and shapes you trace from pictures to guide your machine quilting. This process would reassure even the most timid machine quilter, I think.

So – for the experienced quilter and/or fiber artist , this book won’t teach you new techniques. But for a beginner or intermediate quilter, there are some really lovely lessons on color and value and technique that will give you some new starting places for new projects. And I think that even the most expert quilter would have hard time putting this book down without wanting to look at the gorgeous color and great inspiration photos on every page.

For me, I probably won’t make a single one of these projects specifically (although this would be great fodder for baby quilt gifts) but I will enjoy looking at this book again and again for its sheer beauty.


  1. I own every one of Valeri's books and it is all about the photos. I have not made any of the quilts in the books but there is a ton of inspiration in them.

  2. Thanks for reviewing her book! I saw it on Amazon and was interested, but not sure it was for me (although I have several of her others and love them). I made a purple and green nine patch from "Through the Garden Gate" years ago when I had my shop. I'm thinking of revisiting that color combination for my workshop with Carol Taylor at AQT next week. Funny how things come back around!

  3. I purchased this book used from a seller on and when I got the book two pages had been cut up. I'm looking for someone who has this book who would be willing to photo copy or scan those pages and send them to me!