Readers’ Top 10 Favorite Quilting Books

on February 7 | in Products | by | with 89 Comments

On January 16 we asked our readers to comment with their favorite quilting books. We had 334 comments, with most people recommending at least two titles! We tallied the “votes” and below are the top 10 favorites. There were a lot of ties within the top 10, so other than the first two clear leaders, they are in no particular order.

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Denyse Schmidt Quilts

by Denyse Schmidt

From the Publisher: In Denyse Schmidt Quilts, the ultimate resource for the home quilter, Schmidt reveals the secrets behind her most popular designs. Thirty projects range from the simple to the challenging, from patchwork slippers and aprons to tote bags and pillows to her beloved quilt patterns, offering something for every level of quilter. Schmidt reviews the fundamentals of quilting and provides easy-to-follow instructions, patterns, sewing tips, and an artful approach to design basics. With engaging wisdom and beautiful step-by-step color photography throughout, Denyse Schmidt Quilts will inspire beginning and skilled crafters alike to embrace this age-old tradition with a new and modern twist.

Note from Kristin: Be sure to stop by on February 13 to read Beth’s interview with Denyse, and again on February 14 to see a fun project from this book.

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Last-Minute Patchwork & Quilted Gifts

by Joelle Hoverson

From the Publisher: The book—designed for use by both first-time and longtime quilters—features 30 patchwork and quilted projects organized according to the amount of time it takes to complete them: less than 2 hours, 2 to 4 hours, 4 to 8 hours, 8 to 12 hours, and 12 hours or more. The gifts are inspired by Amish, Appalachian, and Japanese quilting traditions, among others, and range from easy pillowcases and covered scrapbooks to simplified (but heirloom-worthy) log cabin and crazy quilts. Hoverson also shares an overview of her approach to color as well as the tools and techniques she used to complete the projects in the book.

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Quilts! Quilts!! Quilts!!!: The Complete Guide to Quiltmaking

by Diana Mcclun and Laura Nownes

From the Publisher: Based on the principle that a solid foundation turns beginners into lifelong quiltmakers, Quilts! Quilts!! Quilts!!! covers every tool, every technique, every stitch, every tip, and every shortcut in machine and hand quilting–no matter how basic. An all-time classic on quilting, it is the essential handbook for the beginner and a constant companion for the experienced quilter. This new, updated edition includes all of the features quilters loved from the first edition plus so much more! New features include: – More than 30 gorgeous designs to choose from, including 10 all-new quilt patterns – All-new photography of quilts in home settings – All-new color diagrams to lead quilters step-by-step through each pattern – Eight sampler quilts with complete instructions and patterns for 27 different blocks – Expanded coverage of color choices in quilts – Metric (centimeters) measurements – A glossary and index for easy reference Diana McClun and Laura Nownes have taught thousands of beginning quilters through classes, workshops, seminars, and nationwide television. Their book has inspired quilters all over the world and given them a passion for quilting that lasts a lifetime.

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The Modern Quilt Workshop: Patterns, Techniques, and Designs from the Funquilts Studio

by Weeks Ringle and Bill Kerr

From the Publisher: Prepare to be inspired. This book shows novice and expert quilters alike new ways of planning, designing, and constructing contemporary quilts. The Modern Quilt Workshop takes you through every step of making a quilt, encouraging you and challenging you along the way. Youll learn basic principles of quilt design, as well as new technical skills that will make your quilts more beautiful, more durable, and more fun to make.

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Quilter’s Ultimate Visual Guide: From A to Z–Hundreds of Tips & Techniques for Successful Quiltmaking

by Ellen Pahl

From the Publisher: This comprehensive guide brings you quilting tips from 60 of the most well known names in quilting. Presented in an A-to-Z format, it coversfoundation piecing, machine quilting, rotary shortcuts, and much more.

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Kaffe Fassett’s Kaleidoscope of Quilts: Twenty Designs from Rowan for Patchwork and Quilting

by Kaffe Fassett

From the Publisher: In Kaffe Fassett’s Kaleidoscope of Quilts, Kaffe offers the reader a range of 20 individual designs that feature both the new fabrics in Rowan’s patchwork range and some firm favorites. Photographed against the glittering backdrop of the Mediterranean island of Malta, these quilts echo the bright sunshine colors in a glorious array of new designs from both Kaffe and his team, Liza Prior-Lucy and Pauline Smith. With each quilt comes illustrated step-by-step instructions with colored diagrams, a ‘flat shot’ photo, and the quilt template.

Note from Kristin: Our readers loved all of Kaffe’s quilting books. We chose only one to display here. Whether you choose Kaleidoscope, Quilts in the Sun, Quilt Road, Glorious Patchwork or Passionate Patchwork, it seems you can’t go wrong.

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Quilter’s Complete Guide

by Marianne Fons and Liz Porter

From the Publisher: Quilter’s Complete Guide was first published in 1993 and has gone into reprint over 16 times. Fons and Porter are the most recognizable experts in the quilting industry. They are the authoritative guides through all the latest trends and technological advances in the quilting world.

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Bend-The-Rules Sewing: The Essential Guide to a Whole New Way to Sew

by Amy Karol

From the Publisher: Author Amy Karol, whose Angry Chicken is one of the best-loved craft blogs on the Web, brings stitchers everywhere a down-to-earth introduction to sewing, including thirty projects so adorable and cool they’ll inspire anyone to pick up a needle and thread.

Written with Amy’s characteristic warmth and flair, you’ll find information on basic equipment and supplies, advice on choosing and using fabrics, and a fantastic section on techniques. In addition, Amy walks readers through easy, inspiring patterns designed for the fashion-savvy crafter. Playful, modern projects, which include pillows, aprons, and purses, help novices master sewing skills while providing immediate sewing gratification — and confidence. Best of all, Amy explains what’s easy, what’s hard, and when not to sweat the small stuff.

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Collaborative Quilting

by Fredd Moran and Gwen Marston

From the Publisher: A bold and unconventional tribute to artistic collaboration by two internationally recognized, award-winning authors. Freddy Moran and Gwen Marston have made beautiful quilts together despite their physical distance from each other—the stunning photos of their many creations prove it. They reveal the secrets of their success, including how to bridge style differences and use each person’s strengths to best advantage. Freddy, an expert in color, discusses her specialty, while Gwen talks about design principles. In addition, each artist offers ten personal tips and structured and unstructured projects to try, as well as ideas for putting them all together. A gorgeous gallery of quilts is sure to inspire needleworkers to combine forces.

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Gee’s Bend: The Architecture of the Quilt

by Paul Arnett

From the Publisher: In 2002, Gee’s Bend burst into international prominence through the success of Tinwood’s Quilts of Gee’s Bend exhibition and book, which revealed an important and previously invisible art tradition from the African American South. Critics and popular audiences alike marveled at these quilts that combined the best of contemporary design with a deeply rooted ethnic heritage and compelling human stories about the women. Gee’s Bend: The Architecture of the Quilt is a major book and museum exhibition that will premiere at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH), in June 2006 before traveling to seven American museums through 2008. The book’s 330 color illustrations and insightful text bring home the exciting experience to readers while displaying all the cultural heritage and craftsmanship that have gone into these remarkable quilts.

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Note: The links on this page take you to Powell’s Books, an independent bookseller out of Portland, OR. The links are associated with an affiliate account that is part of a fund-raiser for my daughter’s wonderful school, which I’ve written a little about here. If you buy any of these books through Powell’s, we thank you for supporting both the school and independent book stores.

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89 Responses to Readers’ Top 10 Favorite Quilting Books

  1. Great books, all!

  2. Mealy says:

    Thanks so much for the list!! I already have 2 of the books along with a few others that didn’t make the list. Can’t wait to keep making projects and building up my Quilt Book Library!

  3. kim says:

    I’m surprised Gwen Marston’s Liberated Quilting wasn’t on the list.
    But I do have most of the list :)

  4. Christina says:

    Reading “Liberated Quiltmaking” by Gwen Marston made me a quilter! Quilting is about warmth and beauty, and only about perfection if you want it to be…

  5. rachel says:

    I have several of those books, and they’re my favorites as well!

  6. alison says:

    Thanks so much for this list! I’m new to quilting and have had such a hard time deciding which books to buy to start my quilting library. This is a huge help!

  7. Marilyn says:

    Thanks for sharing the favorite book! I am ready to start quilting and this will help me.

  8. claudia says:

    Thanks for compiling this amazing list! There are books here I’ve never heard of before! Looking forward to learning from them.

  9. Clara says:

    Thank you so much. I’m just starting out and now I have a list of books to choose from to buy my first quilting book.

  10. heide says:

    I have a few of these already, it’s good to know that I already have a good quality quilting book library! Now to work up the guts to actually try a quilt…

  11. Søren says:

    I didn’t tell you the one I go back to the most (Fons & Porter) because I felt like maybe it was too old-school for the kind of things I see here, and I felt like a dork. I should have known better and trusted y’all! I’m so glad other people mentioned it.
    There are some newer ideas and methods that it doesn’t cover, even with its newer editions, but I haven’t found another perfect book to be its one companion yet! :) (and now that I buy books more for the projects than when I first bought that one and had no idea what i was doing, it’s hard for me to look for that ONE other perfect technique book that won’t focus on projects!)

  12. Anna says:

    Thanks for making this list for us! I’ve never been much into quilts but I admit to getting inspired when seeing all these wonderful creations for “Quilt of the day”.

  13. ainhoa says:

    Thanks for sharing those books.

  14. I was posting on this same thought–I have all sorts of books in my wish list now.

  15. min says:

    Yes, the Quilter’s Complete Guide is indeed good. Kindof like “joy of cooking” for quilters. Such a good reference. Even if you’re not following any rules while you create, it’s good to look back and learn classic technique.
    Thanks for this article. I’m forwarding the link!

  16. Missy says:

    Thank you for the list.I have a wish list a Powells and now I have more books to add to it!

  17. Kieny says:

    My wish list becomes longer and longer!

  18. Tanya says:

    Thank you for compiling the list as a reference. I actually went through the original post with all of the responses trying to find the best books, this is so helpful.

  19. Suzanne says:

    It’s great to have this list – now I know which ones to look out for. Thanks!

  20. annie says:

    thanks so much for the list! now to check the library….

  21. Georgia says:

    I’ve been eyeing Denyse’s book for a while–sounds like a good V-day present to me! What a great fundraising idea as well!

  22. Amy says:

    I realize that I own almost all of the entire top 10.

    Thanks so much for putting the titles all in one place!

  23. Tex says:

    I already have the Denyse Schmidt book. I checked out The Modern Quilt Workshop: Patterns, Techniques, and Designs from the library, and now I think I have to own that one, too. I love the simple designs and the additional versions pictured.

  24. heather w. says:

    I have two of them! I guess I have some books to add to my amazon wish list!

  25. Barbara says:

    First time posting. What a great list. I got the Halvosen book before Christmas and made the block style quilt in the back. My niece loved it and it only took a c ouple days.

  26. Barbara says:

    First time posting. All are great, I got the Halvorsen book right before Christmas and mad eone of the projects in the back in a couple days. Nice and modern lookingand my niece loved it.

  27. Nada says:

    thanks for the list there are quite a few here i don’t have yet,along with my faves

  28. Lil' d says:

    Thanks for the list

  29. Jennifer says:

    The Arnett book looks really interesting.

  30. Cassie Ogle says:

    I’ve had the Bend-The-Rules Sewing: The Essential Guide to a Whole New Way to Sew book on my Amazon wish-list for awhile now, I’m thinking I’m going to have to make this my next book purchase :D

  31. upstatelisa says:

    Lots of great books on the list!!! have a couple of them, have used others from the library.

  32. CIndy says:

    What a great gift-each day has been–I appreciate the list!! Thank You!!

  33. Gretchen says:

    Those look so inspiring! I am just wondering if anyone has bought “Piecing-the piece-o-cake way!”. A friend let me glance through hers and it seemed really easy to follow for beginners. What did you think? Is it worth buying?

  34. Michelle says:

    Oh I so badly want those top two as well as bend the rules sewing. thanks for doing this compilation!

  35. Christie says:

    I am loving the last minute gifts book. So much basic info in there that I need

  36. Allison Luzader says:

    This is great– I have the top two, and I completely agree. They are awesome! I’d love to see the next ten or twenty books people recommended.. I love books! :)

  37. Helen says:

    I have Denyse Schmidt’s book on order from the library, and Last-minute Patchwork Gifts is on my wishlist so it’s good to know they come so highly recommended!

  38. kylie says:

    Thanx , I have been wanting to get a couple of books to start of my library, as quilting is a new obssesion. Now I know what to get.

  39. Suzy says:

    This is a handy list. Thanks for sharing.

  40. Melissa says:

    I bookmarked this for reference when I’m on a new book hunt. Thanks for posting :)

  41. Lisa says:

    Thank you for this list! I see a bookstore binge in my very near future.

  42. Katie says:

    Great to have this reference and recommendation. Thanks!

  43. rachel says:

    I’ll definitely have to get those first two now!

  44. Claudia~L says:

    it’s so great to see a list that others have found useful. It makes my life easier picking a good quilting book.

  45. Ellen says:

    You can never have “enough” quilting books! Already have a bookcase full but have been hearing good things about the Modern Quilt Workshop book….I am really beginning to like the more modern approach and “bending the rules”. It feel’s more creative and it “frees” me from my perfectionistic tendencies!!!

  46. Sarah says:

    I only have two of these, so I think my wishlist just got a little longer…

  47. Gina says:

    Thank you for this list- they will go on my “to read” list!

  48. Erica says:

    I have read Amy Karol’s book and RIngle & Kerr’s book. I would recommend both! Amy’s book would make a great gift to a new sewer or someone returning to sewing. I picked it up when I started sewing again about 6 months ago and have found it to be a helpful and not overly-technical resource. A good reminder that sewing can and should be FUN! Ringle and Kerr’s book has some AMAZING quilts and great thoughts on color theory, design and really how to make a beautiful quilt from start to finish.

  49. Debbie J. says:

    I would like to own “Bend The Rules Sewing”. thanks for the list.

  50. renee says:

    there’s some here i haven’t seen. definately need to check them out! thanks for composing a list.

  51. Tamara says:

    Thanks so much for this list…it’s great for a beginning quilter who has no idea what to look for in a good basic quilting book!

  52. Kara says:

    I have a few of those, but now I have a few more on my wish list! Thanks for sharing the results of your query.

  53. Karie says:

    I sure hope my library has some of these books, I am in need of some help with quilting, and really want to give it a try after seeing all these cool quilts on here every day… thanks for all the info

  54. Angela says:

    Thanks for the awesome reading list!

  55. Sam VanDerPuy says:

    I love that the Gee’s Bend book made the list. If anyone ever has an oppurtunity to see these beauties in person, GO! They are inspiring, SO beautiful, and an amazing cultural experience! It WILL change the way you think about quilts.

  56. Mistypearl says:

    What a fantastic site! This is my first time by, and I love it! I will definitely be back. The pics and information are great!
    Thanks so much, Mistypearl

  57. Alisha says:

    Now I know what to look for when I visit the quilting shop tomorrow!

  58. Staci says:

    I can’t wait to go pick some of these up and start quilting again!

  59. Kathleen says:

    The Modern Quilt Workshop looks like a good one! I’ll have to check it out!

  60. Andrea says:

    I have Last-Minute Patchwork & Quilted Gifts and just love all the project ideas in it. I would love to have Denise’s book next too. That ones looks fantastic. I have browsed it many times at the local bookstore but I will need to save up a little more before purchasing it.

  61. Jen says:

    So proud to say I have five of these books! The rest are going on my wish list today. Thanks!

  62. Stacy says:

    Thank you for the great quilting resources!

    I can’t wait to check some of these out at my library!

    ~Stacy

  63. Mary says:

    I sew all the time but I don’t quilt! However, I’ve been fascinated with quilting for about a year now. This book list gives me a great place to start. The quilting/gift book looks really interesting to me. Thanks!

  64. erin says:

    I just requested half of those from the library!

  65. Sandy says:

    glad to see that my favorite quilting book was top of the list!

  66. Heather says:

    This list will make all of my family very happy – I can just pass it around as this year’s Christmas list!

  67. Kristin says:

    Oh, yes, anything by Gwen Marston is pure inspiration. Thanks for your list!

  68. Jennifer G says:

    Oh, Mother’s Day, I need books.

  69. trishia says:

    how exciting! I already have three of those books! But I am definitely getting Denyse Schmidt ‘s book, I am in love with her Drunk Love quilt.

  70. Susan F. says:

    I think I commented before that I loved Quilter’s Complete Guide by Marianne Fons and Liz Porter. It is a beautiful book that covers everything you need to know. I used it so much that it started to come apart. My one comment to the publisher would be that a book with so much information would be great in looseleaf form and then you could just remove the pages that you are working with at the time.

  71. Lisa Eichholtz says:

    Thanks for consolidating the recommendations. Some of these I own, some I’ve read, but all look wonderful in their own way. I can’t wait to check them out of the library or (hint, hint) receive them for Mother’s Day!

  72. Amy Hodge says:

    Thanks so much for compiling this list. I see some things to ask for on my next birthday! ;)

  73. Maxine says:

    Thanks for this list. As a beginner it’s great to know what books more experienced quilters find useful.

  74. Fons & Porter and Ellen Pahl ‘s books were my first quilt books. I´ve learned to quilting by myself and they gave me the basic lessons that I needed and with the essential help of Jinny Beyer’s book now I´m into the Dear Jane adventure . Books reviews are very important for us people who needs to import books without looking into them :)

  75. Michele says:

    I cannot wait to check out some of these titles…thanks for the list!

  76. mj says:

    I’ll need to check out the ones that I don’t already have…from the library of course!

  77. Britt says:

    I will have to look into some of these titles, as a new quilter I am sure I could learn a lot!

  78. Kristi Van Os says:

    I now have a new list of books to give my loved ones. They encourage me so much. That’s because they like the gifts they receive. Thanks

  79. amy m says:

    I have three of those! I need to get busy!

  80. Katrin says:

    Interessting list!
    I own only one of them, from three others i’ve read somewhere and the rest is completely new to me.
    Thank you for introducing them to me!

  81. angela says:

    Thanks for compiling this list! I’ll check my library for these.

  82. andrea says:

    wow, i had no idea that there were that many quilting books! love your featured selections, own a few myself!

  83. Tracy says:

    I recently picked up Bend the Rules Sewing at the local library, and I need to buy a copy of it for myself! I love this book!

  84. mary says:

    My absolute favorite is the Last Minute Patchwork and Quilted Gifts! So many wonderful (and easy for a beginner) projects!

  85. Julia D says:

    Look at those books! Off to the library I go!!

  86. Carrie says:

    Thank you so much for this list!!! I have never read any quilting books before, but with my newfound interest in quilting I was wanting to check some out. I will definately have to get the Denise Schmidt and the “Last Minute Patchwork and Quilted Gifts”. Those look really good!

  87. Regina says:

    OK – thanks to this I have just started a new wish list for my birthday and Christmas! Hubby is reluctant to buy me fabric – but feels that books are safe! (although dangerous in my hands once I get going!!!)

  88. Rachel says:

    Thanks for sharing! Can’t wait to check out the Arnett book.

  89. alison says:

    I need to start making a list of quilting books I want for my birthday. Now to narrow it down to a few, since I can’t really ask for all of these!

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