With the back-to-school season gearing up, the editorial staff at The Quilting Company got to chatting about our favorite quilting books—the ones that really taught us something. Join us as we chat about hitting the quilt books!
Lori Baker, editor of Love of Quilting magazine and co-host on The Quilting Company podcast, who has more quilting experience than anyone else on staff, says without any hesitation, “Quilts! Quilts!! Quilts!!!”
Immediately, there’s a round of Mmm-hmms and Yeah, that’s a good one!
“It taught me to quilt,” says Lori. “And I think it’s in its third edition…?” Diana McClun’s book (affiliate link) is definitely popular with the quilters here at The Quilting Company.
Tracy Mooney, who co-hosts the podcast with Lori, grabs her phone. “This book—All Points Patchwork,” she says, scrolling through web pages to find it. She shows us the cover (affiliate link), which is a lovely medallion, with a few patches flipped to show the paper-backing. “I love this book. It’s beautiful, and it has everything about EPP. Not only does it give you a good idea of how to English paper piece, it has a bit of history and all kinds of stuff. I even like the size.”
“Hmm. Now that I’m getting into EPP, I’ll have to look into that,” says Eileen Fowler, technical editor with the Quilting Company.
Eileen is an adventurous quilter. Once she starts a technique, she will explore it, analyzing the methods behind it, and how it works. Her favorite quilt book is by Heather Thomas, on color theory: A Fiber Artist’s Guide to Color & Design (affiliate link). “I took a class with her, and bought her book. I’ve gone back to that book so many times.”
Usually Eileen’s favorite books—her most frequent go-to references—are all about quilting and quilt motifs.
That seems to be a trend around here.
“What do you like about those books?” I ask.
“What do you mean ‘what does she like?’” Lori says. “Annette’s a longarmer!”
Annette does indeed own her own longarm, so all the books she mentions are on longarm quilting. “You get ideas on fillers and borders. Angela Walters does a lot of shape-by-shape quilting.”
So mostly these books are about inspiration and creative direction. And then Annette mentions her other go-to book, Longarm Machine Quilting by Carol A. Thelen (affiliate link). “Whenever my timing gets knocked out on my machine, I go back to that book. It has all kinds of information about the mechanics of longarm machines.”
At least three people write down the name of that book after she says that.
What about pattern books?
This group consists of quilters who have been quilting for decades and who have regular access to McCall’s Quilting, Love of Quilting, and Quiltmaker magazine—a definite job perk!—so most admit to not using pattern books as much. The pattern books they DO mention are gold standards.
Eileen mentions Eleanor Burns (affiliate link). “I had ALL the Eleanor Burns books when I started. She’s just so good about walking you through every step.”
Lori Baker loves Baltimore Bouquets by Mimi Dietrich (affiliate link). “It’s appliqué—such beautiful appliqué! And it has some dimensionality to it, which I like.”
My own favorite books are Barbara Brackman’s Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns and The Farmer’s Wife Sampler Quilt (affiliate link), by Laurie Aaron Hird.
The former because I learn so much simply flipping through it, encountering blocks I never knew existed, and the latter because piecing those blocks for the sampler quilt—I think I did two quilt blocks a week–gave me so much exposure to all kinds of patchwork elements, from in-set seams to working with contrast.
And after the conversation we just had, I think I’m about to have a few more favorite quilting books!
Happy quilting…and reading!