Off the Bookshelf: Puzzle Quilts by Paula Nadelstern

Puzzle Quilts

Puzzle Quilts,
by Paula Nadelstern

Actually, this book hasn’t even been on the bookshelf yet, since I just got it! I finished devouring it yesterday while I waited for my daughter at her flute lesson. I love it! It’s just so yummy that devouring is the perfect word!

This new book by Paula Nadelstern is the first new quilt book I’ve purchased in a long while, and I’m happy to report that it was a completely satisfying purchase. I have her other two books, Kaleidoscopes & Quilts and Snowflakes & Quilts, and to be honest, while the books are stunning visually, and her methods and techniques are interesting and produce exciting quilts, I’m just not sure I’d ever really make a quilt like that. I’ve looked at those two books a lot, but I’ve never been inspired enough to go there (yet).

Puzzle Quilts, however, may just be a different story altogether. I know I read the other two books (I mean really read them, not just perused them), and they just didn’t strike the same chord of inspiration, the “I want to make something with this method NOW” burn. I love the way she writes, and the things she says. It sounds like she’s sitting right there talking to you. Her instructions are so clear and well thought out. I’m not a beginner, but I really think that beginners could probably pick up this book and be successful with the method, so well written are her directions and tips. Paula clearly explains all of her criteria for her fabulous fabric choices, so that you know just which fabrics are your friends when it comes to making Puzzle Quilts.

Her template making and usage instructions are perfect. I’ve used templates like this in past quilts to create kaleidoscopic effects by cutting multiple pieces from duplicate sections of a large print fabric, so I’m familiar with the method. However, Paula introduces a new method for “bending the template” to make it look as if the fabric in a quilt blog is just “dropped in,” all in one piece, when in reality, it’s made up of four or five pieces that have been perfectly fussy-cut to recreate the exact pattern of the fabric in the quilt block. This results in some absolutely fabulous effects.

Part two of Puzzle Quilts is a Workbook section, where she dissects many different pieced blocks, so that readers know what fabrics she used, why and how they were used. Each and every block is mouthwatering, and at the risk of being repetitive, I’m going to use that word “inspiring” once again. Complete, concise, beautiful and inspiring; what more could you want in a new quilt book? I have a new quilt design rumbling around in my head (like that’s a surprise, huh?) and I think this method will work well for what I have planned: a (mostly) blue and white quilt with snowflake designs, with the blocks made it all different sizes using Paula’s method. And of course, it’ll have crystals, tons of crystals (another big surprise, I’m sure!). Hmm, may have to go fabric shopping to stock up on all the right Prima Donna fabrics for this one. 🙂 Puzzle Quilts is a keeper.

2 thoughts on “Off the Bookshelf: Puzzle Quilts by Paula Nadelstern

  1. I’m on the bandwagon with you. Like you, this is the first quilt book I’ve bought in years, and it has yet to hit the bookshelves.

    I took some truly ugly, wild orange and blue fabric that my husband purchased for a dollar a yard sale and started cutting it up. It takes patience, but it’s great fun!

    This is way beyond kaliedescopes!


  2. Hi Kim!

    Yes, I have some of those ugly fabrics sitting about as well, and I’m sure they’ll be useful at some point for this technique. As for the quilt books, I was really starting to feel like the good ones had all been done already, since nothing has come out in quite a long time that was at all impressive. I bought Diane Gaudynski’s newest one last year, and I think that was it for the last couple of years or so. At least this one gives me some hope!

    Thanks for stopping by!


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