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New Pathways into Quilt History written by Kimberly Wulfert, www.antiquequiltdating.com

Book Review by Kimberly Wulfert, PhD

New Cuts for New Quilts
by K
arla Alexander

Are you familiar with Karla Alexander’s quilts and method for cutting them “stack the deck” style? Do you have some of those tall stacks of fat quarter fabric collections sitting on your shelf collecting dust? Then this book will be your ticket out from under that guilt. Not only will you have a fabulous time using them up, but the resulting quilt will be a pleaser for sure. Karla’s method is without a doubt the easiest and most fun quilt I have ever made. I used reproduction fabrics to make mine, which she does, too, -- 30s. Most of the quilts featured in her two books that I have use contemporary fabrics, batiks and animal prints. The quilts are modern-looking and appear far more complicated than they are.

Pick the main color theme in different shades of fabric, part of one of those stacks for example, throw in a few zinger fabrics, stack them on top of each other and cut them into irregular shapes (mostly). Shuffle the shapes around, and out come new blocks made of pieces that come together in various ways and make a quilt top in very little time. Karla uses sashing strips and pieced borders in some of her patterns.

The diagrams and instructions are easy to understand and follow. The appliquéd pieces, though few, are 100% in size and in reverse, simple to trace onto fusible or at seam allowances for appliqué methods. There are 17 different quilt projects with patterns. A project may include tips from the author about fabric choice, color, piecing method, and quilting suggestions. Most of the blocks average six inches, and the quilts are medium in size -- lap quilt size around 55" X 71" -- but there are large ones, too.

The patterns range from super-easy and fast-to-make, to easy and fast-to-make; the difference is the size and number of pieces in the blocks. Beginners will enjoy this book, and so will other quilters, because the colors and patterns produce terrific quilts. If you like appliqué, she has a few in there for you, too.

In her earlier book, Stack a New Deck: More Great Quilts in 4 Easy Steps, there are 18 projects. If you liked curved patterns in your quilts, including partial circle designs, this book offers 8 curve pieced patterns. There is a coffee cup appliqué wall hanging that is artsy and unique, compared to other popular coffee cup designs. The pattern for each cup is 100% in size and easy to trace onto fusible; layer the details and you’re done with the middle. The border is made in her 'stack the deck' method.

There are more florals fabrics used in these quilts, as well as 30s, batiks, and contemporary. The quilt blocks average 7.5 inches, and the quilts average baby to lap size. The biggest one is made with a patriotic fabric, 73” x 88,” and the smallest quilt is 42” x 56.5.” I mention the patriotic fabric because this quilt would be great for those soldiers who have served in our military.

No special tools are needed to make Karla’s quilts. I highly recommend her book to help you to use up your stash (LOL) during these times of making do for some of you out there. Making them is a happy experience, with few points to pay any attention to at all. What you get is a surprise until it’s on your design wall or floor. That's fun. The final arranging can take more time than the piecing Karla says and she’s right!


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© 2009 -2011 Kimberly Wulfert, PhD. Absolutely no copies, reprints, use of photos or text are permitted for commercial or online use. One personal copy for study purposes is permitted.

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