A co-worker recently did an unofficial poll around the office asking the question, “how do you like to learn new techniques?” Naturally, I shouted, “BOOKS!”
I’ve been a fan of books since I was very little. So much so that my mom often jokes that my punishment for misbehaving as a kid was to take my books away and make me go outside to play. It’s really no surprise that I’m in my current role working with books everyday!
I find that nothing quite compares to having a physical book in my hands when I want to learn something new. I can pore over text and illustrations, reread where needed, and dig into projects with all the visual support I need for a successful outcome. My love of books extends beyond physical books to digital ones as well. I love the ease of pulling up a pattern on a device for a quick check that I’m doing things the way I should be.
When it comes to my craft library, there are a few books that stand out as my favorites for learning particular quilting techniques. Whether you’re just getting started in your adventures in patchworking or you’re an experienced quilter looking to expand your skills, everyone needs the books on this list.
5 QUILTING BOOKS YOU NEED ON YOUR BOOKSHELF
You might think that English paper piecing isn’t a technique you need a book to learn. You just wrap fabric around a small template and stitch it, right? Nope! There is a whole lot more to it, and to doing it well. Author Florence Knapp dives deep into the how-to of English paper piecing in her best-selling guide.
While you learn how to successfully baste and stitch a variety of unique EPP shapes to create amazing quilted tessellations, you also read about the rich history of EPP. You’ll learn about Albert Small who stitched record-breaking quilts. You’ll discover a novel laced with English paper piecing throughout. And, you’ll see the oldest known example of this meticulous technique.
Sticking with a quilting-with-paper theme, next on my must-have list is Elizabeth Dackson’s popular book on foundation paper-piecing. When I was first introduced to foundation paper-piecing I was told, “it’s kind of like learning to ride a bike backwards.” A description like that sounds so intimidating! The Quilter’s Paper-Piecing Workbook showed me it’s not actually all that difficult once you get the hang of it.
Elizabeth shares her golden rules for paper-piecing along with tons of other valuable how-tos. Each block is broken down step-by-step before being shown off in beautiful quilt designs. You can achieve just amazing precision with your points when foundation paper-piecing. It’s a technique that everyone should have in his or her skill set.
To make a red and white quilt you’re going to follow a lot of the same techniques you would to sew any other patchwork quilt, but there are key tips and tricks to having a beautiful finished result. You’ll find everything you need to know to make these bold graphic designs in Red & White Quilting.
Linda Pumphrey has her thumb on the pulse of traditional sewing techniques. She relishes the history of quilting arts and brings that to today’s quilters. In this book, you’ll find 40 truly iconic red and white quilt blocks and 14 projects to show them off in. She even shares several block options to substitute in each design giving you countless variation options. It packs a lot of great information into one beautiful package.
I had no idea just what my domestic sewing machine was capable of until Catherine Redford‘s book Modern Machine Quilting. A great alternative title for this book would be Quilt Big on a Small Machine because that’s exactly what you can learn to do. You can quilt full size bed quilts on your home machine.
Like the other books shared, this one is packed with a lot of tips and tricks with all the technique information. I really appreciate authors who share their successes and failures so my experience is better. Catherine does that and more!
I like to include an aspirational book on each one of my best-of lists. This time it’s Block A Day. I love the thought of having the time to sew a unique quilt block every day for a whole year. I would learn so many things through the process of making 365 blocks; I know I’d be a better quilter for it.
Did your favorite quilting technique book make my top-5 list? If not, please share your favorites in the comments below! I’d also love to hear if you’ve taken on the challenge of sewing a block every day for a year. You have my deepest admiration if you’ve been able to pull that off.
Editorial Director, Books