Book review = 5* for “Hand-Stitched Quilts” by Carolyn Forster

For transparency: I was given a copy of this book on exchange for a review. The review, however, is 100% genuine with my own thoughts and feelings.

The review:

Hand-Stitched Quilts” is the latest book publication by the ever-talented Carolyn Forster and it absolutely lives up to Carolyn’s fabulous reputation!

In this book, Carolyn expertly guides you through the process of hand-stitching a quilt from start to finish.

I especially loved the dedication at the start of the book. Carolyn takes a lot of inspiration from antique and historical quilts, and she is truly interested in, and fascinated by, all aspects of quilt-making both in knowledge and in practise. This dedication is so beautiful and really feels in keeping with all of Carolyn’s work.

The contents page is clearly laid out and accessible. I love how they have also used exquisite imagery so that it doesn’t feel text-heavy. The headings are clear along with the subheadings and information about what is within each section. This makes it much easier to navigate as the reader!

After the introduction, Carolyn talks through the different quilt and piecing materials that she uses. The information is broken down with subheadings so that you can focus in on the section that you need/want. Again, I love the use of imagery on the side of the text as it just unites it all and creates a really beautiful book that is informative and stunning in one.

With the same layout (of text, subheadings and images), Carolyn also goes through the materials for cutting and sewing fabric, template materials, using templates, seam allowances, grain lines, hand piecing materials, and top tips. Then comes the stitching! Whether you’re new to hand-piecing, dabbled in hand-piecing or are a experienced in hand-piecing – this section will still be useful!

Every step of hand-piecing is broken down with clear instructions, close up photos, written text and top tips. It makes it incredibly accessible, easy to follow and beautiful to read and follow.

Carolyn covers thread length, starting and finishing your stitches, number of stitches, threading a needle, pressing seams, as well as guidance (photos and instructional text) for piecing seams (single seams, seams with a junction, matching junctions, converging junctions, y-seams, round pieces and curved seams and more). As I type the different elements of piecing seams, I realise that could sound quite scary but it truly isn’t. Carolyn really does break each act down into smaller steps that are accessible and easy to understand due to her expert teaching, experience in writing, and beautifully close-up instructional photos.

Next up: the blocks! This book contains 27 different blocks so that you can put into use each of these hand-stitched skills!

Each block has a number, a bit of information about it (and variations where applicable), sizing information, what fabrics to use, which templates to use and the instructions for how to hand-stitch it.

I especially love that each block has a photo of the finished piece from the front as well as a photo of the back so that you know how to press it This is really, really useful for when it comes to joining your blocks.

After all 27 blocks, there is a section on adding sashing or post squares to your blocks as well as a section on making the quilt your own. I love that you can really adapt this book to make it work for you.

You don’t have to make the sampler quilt and I really like how Carolyn encourages the reader to adapt the book and the blocks accordingly so that it works for each individual reader.

If you do choose to make the sampler quilt, there are 2 sampler variations and they each have an image with a key so that you can see which blocks have been used, how they’ve been used and where they have been placed. Carolyn also talks through how to sew the quilt together in more detail on the following pages.

Next up, Carolyn talks about tacking/basting, tools, backing fabrics, wadding, quilting patterns, marking patterns, hand quilting, binding and labelling.

The book finishes with all of the templates for the 27 blocks which are provided at 100% scale. There is also a website provided so that you can download the templates too.

I decided to have a go at hand-stitching one of the blocks in the book called ‘Album’. I love how you can frame a special print at the centre of the block.

It took me a couple of tries to get the sewing seams with matching junctions but I’m really pleased with how it turned out.

Having images showing how to press the block from the back really, really helped too.

I added some hand-quilting so that I can turn this block into a needlecase but I adore it and I’ll absolutely be making more!

I adored everything about this book and it is another stunning and inspirational book for stitchers!

The book is published by, and available to buy from, Search Press.

You can see more of Carolyn’s work through her website and her Instagram.