Handwork Happiness – A Review

Given that it’s still too cold in most places to get out and do outdoor things, sitting inside with a project that can be done indoors, either at home or elsewhere, is the perfect solution to keeping yourself busy while possibly multitasking by listening to podcasts, audio books, or that movie you just love and have seen 100+ times to the point of not needing to actually look at the screen because your memory takes over and plays it in your head without ever having to look up. You know the ones…

On a particularly cold wet day last week, along came a copy of Better Home & Gardens Handwork Happiness as a thank you for participating on a Quilting Research Panel. After opening the envelope and seeing what a treat I was in for, I made myself a pot of hot tea. I think it was Harney & Sons Serengetea as it needed to be caffeine free since it was late evening by the time I had settled myself in my favorite chair, put my legs up on my footstool, and covered my legs with a warm throw. Once I’d stirred honey into my tea I was ready to begin my perusal of this unexpected gift.
Mag-BHG-Handwork Happiness 2020
As the cover states, there are 20 projects from which to choose. Choosing which one to do first will be a much more difficult task than the actual execution of the project. I did notice that some of these projects have been printed in past publications. In fact, the first project presented is one such reprint. Why am I sure this is the same project? Two reasons: 1) Because there’s a photo of it on page 11 showing an alternate color scheme which was the one originally given in that long-ago publication, and 2) because I loved it so much when I saw it the first time that I bought the paper templates from Paper Pieces needed to make the hexies. Alas, that’s as far as I got though. I’ve thought about starting it several times over the years but have long since misplaced the magazine in which it was published. That’s why having it republished might mean you pay for the same real estate twice, but it also means it’s much easier, and quicker, to find the instructions without having to go through tons of saved publications.

Techniques for the projects in this publication cover hand embroidery, hand piecing, big stitch quilting, English paper piecing, wool appliqué, and even cross-stitch which seems to be making somewhat of a comeback. If you already know how to do all of these techniques you can jump on any one of them in a heartbeat. If not, here’s a perfect opportunity to learn something new. You may find a technique that you absolutely fall in love with or one you try and realize just isn’t for you. That’s the lovely thing about our quilting/sewing/crafty world. Not everyone will love every technique, and that’s perfectly all right. Thankfully, there are so many options from which to choose it means there’s something for everyone who is truly interested in learning and in working with their hands.

The cost of this publication is $12.99 in the U.S. That’s only $.65 per project! Even if you only liked half of them you’re still coming out way ahead when compared to some of the quilting books that are available and especially individual patterns. I don’t mean to sell either of these formats short, but I sometimes think, and I’m speaking from personal experience here because I’m guilty of this too, we look at the price of special publications, in the form of magazines, or bookazines as some are labeled, and think they’re too expensive. Oftentimes it’s because we feel we’re just paying for a lot of advertisements. This particular publication, however, only has three ads and two of them, the one on the inside front cover and the one on the inside back cover, are by All People Quilt (APQ), the very folks that put together the magazine. The third is on the back cover and by Riley Blake Designs who was a 2019 sponsor for APQ’s 1 Million Pillowcase Challenge. So, from page 4 to 95 it’s all the information you need in order to execute these projects.

I’ve not been in either of my favourite bookstores lately, but this publication should be on their shelves. According to the APQ website, it was supposed to be on newsstands starting January 31. There appears to be a corresponding podcast, #456, but I’ve not had a chance to listen to it yet. See…when one is involved with needle and thread there’s never a reason to be bored nor is there any validity to the statement, “I can’t find a thing to do (sigh).”

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