Book Review – Kitchen Stitches – Compiled by Karen M. Burns

Review by Heather Campbell

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This particular book, while not a quilting book, is full of sewing projects for your home, many of which are quilted. The focus is on the kitchen, and editor Karen Burns has compiled quite a selection of projects. There’s a nice 2 page write up at the back of the book with details about the contributors: Natalie Barnes, Lindsay Conner, Melissa Corry, Jenifer Dick, Amy Ellis, Linda Turner Griepentrog, Kim Niedzwiecki, Kari Ramsay, Missy Shepler, Rebecca Silbaugh, Amy Struckmeyer, Heather Valentine and Jackie White.

The book is divided into three sections: “Get Cooking”, which has projects like aprons, casserole cozys, pot holders, etc; “Set The Table”, which has table cloths, napkins, placemats and more; and “Add A Little Spice”, featuring things like a coupon keeper, fridge magnets and a message board.

The projects in this book are all relatively small and quick makes, which means they would make excellent hostess gifts, wedding shower presents or door prizes.

One thing that makes this book particularly lovely to look at is that all the pages are printed in colour, even the instruction pages, and it’s filled with little colour diagrams of the assembly steps. Makes it really easy to follow along, especially for those of us who are visual learners.

The pattern for the casserole cozy and matching double-handed pot holder has a cool, vintage-inspired-modern-execution feel to it, and designer Natalie Barnes provides instructions for adjusting the casserole cozy for a baking dish of any dimensions. There are plenty of other pot holder, tea towel and cozy patterns in this section, with plenty of tips on resizing, using orphan blocks, and repurposing old materials.

In the “Set The Table” section, I absolutely fell in love with the Circle Blooms tea cozy and place mats designed by Amy Struckmeyer. I was actually in dire need of a new tea cozy and this one appealed both visually and also gave me an opportunity to try a new technique — reverse applique!

Here’s the completed cozy and the one from the book. Applique is NOT my strong suit and I have never done reverse applique. Amy S. made the instructions VERY easy to understand and the reverse circle applique went off without a hitch. Lots of mini-diagrams on this pattern too. Mine was made with very fine wale black corduroy instead of the linen used in the book.

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I finished off the placemats as well… not exactly sure how smart corduroy placemats are but they look cute as anything. I used black double fold bias tape to bind the edges instead of her method of sewing the front and back right sides together and turning. I also quilted some straight lines as they are thick-ish made with corduroy.

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Also in this section is a really lovely quilt-as-you-go table runner using improv piecing by Missy Shepler. I don’t have a table big enough to warrant this but it’s a striking piece and has matching placemats with cool little pockets for cutlery. The instructions are good and you should be able to follow along even if you’ve never done QAYG or improv. There is a super section with variations for different types of improv.

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Amy Ellis fans will like her paper-pieced table runner and napkins featuring an octagonal/spider web shape.

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Not all the projects in this book are ultra modern — some are what I would consider “contemporary” and some I think would not appeal to a modern quilter — but there is definitely a wide selection to chose from and enough information about modifying the projects that I think there really is something for everyone.

Book photos reprinted from Kitchen Stitches compiled by Karen M. Burns. Photos by Brent Kane; Published by Martingale. Project photos by Heather Campbell.

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