I really enjoyed the fabric shopping book. I took some of the lesson to heart. In the last baby quilt I made, I varied the scale and colors of the prints I used--and I used fabrics that didn't come bundled or from the same line/designer. That was definitely outside my comfort zone, but I am pleased to say the quilt turned out to be my favorite one so far. The author also discussed two types of fabrics I didn't know about--tone-on-tone and bridge fabrics. I guess I knew they existed, but I didn't consciously try to include them in any of the quilts I've ever made. So, I took the lesson to heart and while planning out a patriotic table topper I plan to make, I looked through my stash and found this great tone-on-tone blue in the second photo on the left. I NEVER would have thought to include it, but just seeing it side by side the other fabrics, it makes total sense. The author said a tone-on-tone or bridge fabric will give the eye a place to rest, and I can already see that just looking at the colors/patterns together. A+ for this book! I already put it in my Amazon shopping cart. It is part of a 4 for 3 deal, so I still need to pick out a couple more books:)
The tone-on-tone is on the left below:
The other book by Judy Martin was helpful, too. I never thought about cutting strips lengthwise from fabric so the fabric is less stretchy, but it makes total sense. Next time I am piecing blocks, I will try her method. Other than that, I found the book to be a little bossy, but I did really like the 7 secrets of sewing success. I won't be buying this book. None of the patterns really appealed to me.