Friday 30 January 2015

The Paper Pieced Home- by the very talented, Penny Layman

I feel so proud of Penny words can't quite express it.  Her new book, The Paper Pieced Home is an utter pleasure from the moment I opened it.  I had seen some of her designs as she was writing it but many were new to me and I smiled a big happy smile as I turned the page from one perfectly realised retro quirky design, to another and another and another.

It's a book of wit and wisdom.  Clever, funny designs and detailed instructions- the how to, equipment, fabrics etc. its 'll there and nothing is skipped over.  The layout is spacious with a mix of drawings and photographs, great fonts, beautiful graphics and fabric snippets throughout. 

The popper push toy was the first design I saw as the book fell open and before I saw the title, I instantly knew what it was and I laughed- such a fun retro toy to include.

 A viewfinder is a hard item to design a paper piecing pattern around- all those angles in a contained space and Penny has done a lovely job.  We think in very similar ways when it comes to the technicalities of paper piecing and where the design and construction lines should go and I love how she has done this.  All the construction lines for the different sections complement and work with the design lines of the viewfinder itself.

The Saucepan is one of my favourites because the fabric choices are such a joy and I love the angle of the handle and I love kitchenalia.

Next the Lion!  This reminds me of so many 1970s craft book lion toys with a looped wooly manes.  It also reminds me of Parsley the Lion- anyone else remember him?  And the Chives?  I am itching to make him.  There is an alligator quilt that I saw during the book writing process that I also love- I can see them together in a nursery quilt.  Many of the 'Playtime' section designs would work in baby quilts, both singularly and en masse.

Many of the designs like the Rotary phone have a dynamic element with unusual angles, implied movement and a great use of perspective.  It is what makes the designs sing.  I could go on, there are so many other designs I would pick- the lamp, the cast iron skillet, and the 70s flared pants for starters. The book divides into themed sections e.g Kitschy Kitchen, Wear it! and Retro Home and each section has accompanying projects.  The block designs come on a CD of 50 printable template patterns- no need to fret about photocopying.  

I am biased.  Penny and I work together on Sew-Ichigo and I love her to bits.  But, all that aside, if you are a paper piecing fan- this book is a must.  Plus she made me cry- I'm included in the opening acknowledgements page which reminded me we both wrote our respective books in some very difficult personal times and that global quilt bees can make for wonderful friendships.  I am so proud of you Penny x

sib blog


  1. Thank you K! I was so relieved Interweave consented to the CD. One of my pet peeves is having to break the spine of a book in order to get a good photocopy of a pattern. I'm overjoyed with the patterns you chose to highlight! The popper pusher is so weird and fun and I keep envisioning the mane of the lion in crazy wacky fabrics everytime I see him!

  2. Looks a fabulous book and I love the fact it has a CD .... I'm on the verge of having to buy a scanner! The lion is so cute, we were talking about Parsley the other day and the Flumps too, Tim had never heard of them as he's older than me, so we watched an episode on YouTube!

  3. Those are great paper pieced items. I love the popper and the phone.

  4. This looks like a wonderful book with very original patterns! Incredible Viewfinder Joy!!

  5. This book looks wonderful! The Viewfinder is stunning! My personal favourite from the patterns you have shown. Thank you for the review.

  6. Ohh the book looks so cute!! Will definitely be a joy to add to my collection.

  7. This looks so impressive! Definitely makes me want to have a go at some of these very intricate paper pieced patterns, I will look out of this book! And yes I remember the Herb Garden very fondly.

  8. I just love this book and all the patterns in it! Penny has such a wonderful style ~ so whimsical and fun!
    I want to make everything in it! With all the mini swaps going on on Instagram ~ it would be fun to see that happen with this book!


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