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Thursday, April 24, 2014


Fascinating process made accessible to even the most modest handler of a sewing needle. (Review by Caroline Smart)

My mum taught me to sew, knit and crochet at an early age but the world of quilting always seemed hugely complicated and way beyond my capabilities. However, I do believe that if Elizabeth Betts had brought out her quilting guide book 50 years earlier, I might have been encouraged to venture forth into this medium!

Betts’s Beginner’s Guide to Quilting turns this fascinating process into something that is accessible to even the most modest handler of a sewing needle.

Her designs are bright and uncluttered. The book is well-illustrated and her comments and guidelines are chatty and non-academic. You almost feel as if your teacher is sitting beside you.

Carefully explaining the kind of tools and equipment required as well as their purpose, Betts discusses the various techniques from simple hand-piecing through to the creation of the charming quilt featured on the cover of the book and, my favourites, the Grab and Sew Quilt and the Here and There Quilt.

Basically, you can get as complicated as you have the time or the initiative for – and the imagination can run riot. One of her wall hangings – Scooter Strips - is a quirky take on the traditional log cabin quilt block. A Funky Town Wall Hanging features a row of houses with open windows and fun figures inside – inspired by the Victorian terrace houses seen all over Britain.

The book features 16 large and small projects. There is also a quick glossary list of common quilting and sewing terms as well as a helpful list of suppliers throughout South Africa

Elizabeth (Liz) Betts runs a quilt studio/shop based in her home town of Brighton and Hove in the UK. She has a gentle approach to quilt-making, believing that enjoying what you are making is as important as the finished result. Her work has featured in countless galleries and exhibitions. She lives with her husband and two children, as well as an old retired greyhound and a whippet - each having their own handmade quilts!

Beginner's Guide to Quilting by Elizabeth Betts is printed in soft cover by Random Struik and retails at R220. ISBN: 9781432303402 – Caroline Smart

The book is also available in Afrikaans.