A Quilt Library

I'm slowly building my quilt library.

Okay, actually I'm building it relatively quickly, since I cannot resist any book about quilts, quiltmaking, or quilters throughout history. I particularly like finding books on quilting at used bookstores. You'll come across a gem pretty often in a city as big as Chicago. The good thing is that there aren't that many at any one place. Me, I'd like to think that this is because people keep their quilting books and use them — I certainly do!

Three of my very favorites are:

You have this book, right? It's amazing. If you see an old quilt, a new quilt, have an idea of a quilt in mind, go to Barbara Brackman's Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns and start flipping through the index or the pages and pages of drawings of blocks. I use this book all the time when I want to get inspired for a new project. The names of the blocks are so wonderful and they all inspire stories. “Hard Times” and “Attic Stair” and “Crimson Rambler” are just… Gorgeous.

The drawings are a little wobbly sometimes, but it adds to the charm for me. This is a must if you even think for a second you want to design your own quilt.

Denyse Schmidt's Quilts was one of the first books I got several years ago that made me stop and say, “Hey, now wait a minute. I like those colors. I like those colors a lot.” Schmidt got me thinking about design and modern lines in quilts. I'll be honest — I haven't made a quilt or a project from this book, but it remains an important one for me; the layout, the art direction, the tone all spoke to me and still do. Denyse, I hope to meet you at some point and thank you for it!

Like I wasn't going to include this one…

The Quilter's Complete Guide by (ahem) Marianne Fons and Liz Porter is the industry's best quilting book, period. Yes, I'm biased. But millions of quilters would agree with me. The pictures could probably use a little updating…maybe. But maybe not! The instructions are clear, the text is exhaustive, the projects are classic. My mom and Liz built their careers around great quilting instruction. I can only hope to help continue that legacy with Quilty — good teaching must come first.

What are your favorite quilting books? I'd love to know so I can go out and hunt them all down to add to my growing library…


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