I know pretty much everyone in the blog world has already gushed over these two, but I have just finished admiring Joelle Hoverson's Last Minute Patchwork + Quilted Gifts, as well as Amy Karol's Bend-the-Rules Sewing. I was completely blown away by both. Karol's down-to-earth writing style (which I've long admired at her blog) combined with detailed descriptions and illustrations makes BTRS a great read for seamstresses of any skill level. I have a habit of reading crafty-type books and skimming over the front sections, because I just assume it's stuff I already know. However, since I've recently returned to my sewing roots, I was pleased with and greatly appreciated Karol's first three sections. (To give you an idea of how thoroughly Karol explains sewing techniques and basics, the actual projects do not begin until page 49.) The book is delightfully written and the projects are great, even for more advanced sewers.
Hoverson's Last Minute Patchwork + Quilted Gifts presents a variety of projects, thoughtfully arranged by the time it should take to complete them. (Thank God for the person that suggested this arrangement!) I appreciated Hoverson's explanation of quilting techniques, especially since the projects in her book will be my first foray into quilting. While aimed at a more experienced sewer than BTRS, Last Minute Patchwork + Quilted Gifts is filled with accessible projects for the beginner who can then advance onto more complicated ones, like the color wheel quilt pictured above. (Which I am dying to make, by the way. FYI- Hoverson's shop, Purl Patchwork, is offering a color wheel fabric bundle which would make this quilt's construction much less stressful!) The book also includes a huge sheet of all the pattern pieces for the projects, which makes their construction so much easier. (Really. Enlarging and reproducing patterns is such a pain!)
If in need of a little crafty pick-me-up, you can't go wrong with either of these great books. Both would be great for handmade inspiration for the upcoming holidays as well.