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I’ve been following Christina Lane’s blog, The Sometimes Crafter, for a few years now. I’ve always been taken with how she uses color and the careful construction of her quilts. And she takes beautiful photographs! So when she announced that Quilting Happiness, co-written with Diane Gilleland, was available for pre-order, I went right to Amazon and dropped the book into my cart. It arrived last week and was my primary reading over Labor Day weekend.

If you’re a beginning quilter, this book is a great resource for basic techniques like creating binding strips and squaring your quilt. It includes a section on useful tools and a list of online resources, and projects are rated by difficulty level.

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If you’re not brand new to quilting, Quilting Happiness is thought-provoking. Amid pictures of Lane’s beautiful work the authors offer creative exercises and ask the reader to think about why and how they quilt. I liked the tough love exercise, which asked me to take a block in the book that I didn’t like (from the Odds n Ends quilt) and make it in fabrics that I do like (Flutter). I haven’t assembled the block yet but just in pulling and cutting fabrics I can already tell that it wasn’t the pattern that turned me off so much as the color palette. Good to know.

I have to say, though, that the use of color in this book is my favorite part of it, the Odds n Ends block not withstanding. The Can’t Help Myself quilt just glows, bright colors shining out of a slate gray background, like a stained glass window. I think I’ll also be playing around with the Talent Show, Plus You, and Squared In quilts. These three speak to my fondness for color on white or linen backgrounds, and showcase some subtle and lovely quilt construction.

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Lane and Gilleland have a site for Quilting Happiness, and the book is available online through Amazon, B&N, and Powells.

UPDATE: Christina Lane has posted a free companion pattern, The Interesting Point Quilt, on her blog. It uses up scrap pieces from the featured quilt on the cover of her book!