C & T Publishing £24.99

ISBN: 1-57120-244-7

This is a slightly unusual quilting book as it combines story telling with quilt patterns. Earlene Fowler is an author of fiction novels. She writes a mystery series centred on Benni Harper, a curator of a folk art museum heavily involved with quilting (and solving murders). Each novel bears the title of a quilt pattern e.g. Fool's Puzzle, Kansas Troubles, Mariner's Compass. No doubt some of you are familiar with her books. Earlene decided it would be a great idea to produce a book of quilt patterns based on her series. Having met up with quilt designer Margrit Hall an idea became a reality.
 
Earlene has written a series of very short stories based around her series, filling in a few gaps for her many fans. Margrit has designed fabulous quilts, one associated with each story and linked to titles from the books. The quilts have been photographed beautifully; the instructions for each one are clear and well written, with plenty of diagrams. Full fabric amounts and cutting charts are included, along with paper patterns where necessary.
 
Photos of Earlene's life, and the area upon which her stories are based, are dotted throughout the book adding yet another layer of interest and helping to provide a mini autobiography. These small pictures combined with the quilt photographs and illustrations make it a lovely book just to sit and peruse. Finally, a short Quilter's Basics section is included for any that need it.
 
In synopsis, Benni Harper's Quilt Album is a series of 12 short stories combined with a quilt pattern book of 12 fabulous quilts. To quote Earlene 'I wanted this to be a special book for my fans and that it should be accessible to all of them, not just the quilters. Maybe it would entice some nonquilters into trying quilting!' Hopefully it has worked and introduced the wonderful world of quilting to more people.
 
Would I buy this again? – Yes, I have read the stories, drooled over the pictures and enjoyed just sitting looking at this book.
 
Will I use it? – Yes, the patterns are glorious and one day I will get around to making one of them.
 
Would I recommend it? – Yes, even if you have never heard of Earlene Fowler and Benni Harper, I would recommend it for Margrit Hall's wonderful quilt designs and her well written instructions.