Welcome back friends!
I had the opportunity to review another book for the VMQG. This time around I pulled Stack Shuffle and Slide by Karla Alexander.
I am not much of an improv quilter, not by a long shot. There is something about randomly sewing things with no plan that scares me. The one time I tried I ended up with a set of fairly symmetrical blocks that looked planned. Its this reason that when I started into Stack, Shuffle, and Slide, I could not put it down. I sped through the whole thing, and re-read a couple chapters, and I enjoyed it thoroughly.
Now, I have to be honest, I hadn’t heard of the stack the deck technique used for the projects in the book, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. What I got was a versatile technique combining structured techniques and modern improv cutting. The result is a quilt style suitable for any quilter and experience level.
Stack Shuffle and Slide patterns can be as structured or as improv as you want. The quilts themselves are very easy to customize. In fact, Karla includes tips for fabric selection and cutting ideas at the start of each. She also gives you her inspirations and why she chose to make each quilt.
Karla writes in a friendly manner that makes the instructions easy to understand. The patterns are well written and straightforward, with plenty of diagrams and illustrations to highlight key points in the techniques.
Her quilts are the perfect combinations of styles, so I am sure anyone could find at least 3 quilts in the book that they like (Go ahead, get the book and prove me wrong!) There are 15 quilts to choose from in a wide variety of sizes, and almost all of them can be increased in size by cutting some extra blocks.
The projects for the most part are simple, there are a few that are more complex, but the instructions and diagrams are well written, so as long as you aren’t rushing through you will be fine no matter what your skill level. The simple patterns are perfect for quick gifts or a day retreat.
Most of the quilts use smaller cuts of fabric so its really easy to pull from your stash. Prints, solids, it doesn’t matter, as long as you keep to the suggested values you will keep the essence of the quilt design.
My favorite quilt is a toss up between Dot Dash Click and Simple Simon. Both have an eye pleasing aesthetic to them and I can’t wait to start pulling fabrics to see where it takes me.
Overall I would recommend Stack, Shuffle and Slide to pretty well everyone, but especially those quilters who enjoy the improv process or have always wanted to try but get stuck, like me! I think the stack the deck technique is simple enough for anyone to learn and use, and the number of patterns included means there is something for everyone. The book is easy to read and understand, the patterns are clear and well written, and her designs suggestions make it easy to tailor the quilt to suit your own personal tastes. An A+ in all categories!
Until next time,
Book photos reprinted from Stack, Shuffle, and Slide by Karla Alexander. Photos by Brent Kane; Published by Martingale.