SMS Favorite Quilting Books

on April 7 | in Products | by | with 114 Comments

One of our favorite features from Quilting Month I was the list of quilting books we compiled from our readers. We think it’s important to keep our recommendations up-to-date, so a couple of weeks ago we asked you to suggest books we might have missed or books that have recently been published. We took your suggestions and combined them with our staff favorites to append the 2008 list of Sew,Mama,Sew! Favorite Quilting Books. (The original list is at the bottom of this page.)

FREE SHIPPING! You can pick up any of these seven books for a great price at Connecting Threads, a Quilting Month II sponsor. What’s more, Sew,Mama,Sew! readers get free shipping on their entire order (whether it includes books or not!) Simply enter the code SEWMAMA when you check out.  (Make sure you stop by their big quilting tool sale too.)  Edited to add:  This wasn’t working, but it is now.  Apparently you will see some text that tells you you still need to reach x dollar amount for free shipping, but if you click through to check out, you’ll see that it is $0 for shipping.

We love to read your book reviews. Comment here, or join our Goodreads sewing book group!

The Quilter’s Album of Patchwork Patterns:  4050 Pieced Blocks for Quilters

by Jinny Beyer
Breckling Press (October 15, 2009)

SMS:  Several readers recommended this book and we’ve seen it other must-have lists.  We’re fascinated by the concept of “4050 unique block designs.”  Wow!

From the publisher: This visual encyclopedia of quilt block designs provides quilters, designers, researchers and patchwork enthusiasts with a comprehensive tool for finding, identifying, and drafting more than 4050 unique block designs. World-renowned quilter Jinny Beyer has categorized the designs in a way that eliminates duplicates and allows quilters to understand exactly how each block is successfully pieced. Jinny has analyzed all designs in terms of the grid on which they are drawn, making it easy for quilters to recreate the blocks in any size or color scheme desired. Imagine-more than 4050 unique designs to choose from for your next quilt!

Quilts, Baby!  20 Cuddly Designs to Piece, Patch & Embroider

by Linda Kopp
Lark Books (May 5, 2009)

SMS:  This is an amazing compilation of beautiful, contemporary baby quilts.  The contributors are all talented modern sewists that you may know from blogland, including Sew,Mama,Sew! board member, Kajsa.

From the publisher:  Modern, innovative, and exciting: if you’ve never associated these words with baby quilts before, you will now! Here’s a collection of fresh designs that aren’t fussy, cutesy, or old-fashioned, but that still have that “aww” factor. Best of all, every one is easy to make, and most take only a weekend to complete. Try a round “Peekaboo” blankie with fanciful creatures hidden under fabric flaps, the clever two-in-one “Good Morning/Good Night” quilt, and a funny “Monkey Monkey” block quilt. Plus, there’s helpful information on choosing baby-friendly and safe materials.

Kaffe Fassett’s Simple Shapes Spectacular Quilts

by Kaffe Fassett
STC Craft/A Melanie Falick Book (March 1, 2010)

SMS:  Many of our readers include Kaffe’s books in their list of favorites.  Pick any of them–they’re all great!  We’re particularly excited about this one, which was just released last month.  In addition to the 23 unique quilt patterns and instructions,  the stunning photography makes this book worthy of your best coffee table.  Make sure you check back here on April 20 when we interview Kaffe about this book as part of his blog tour!

From the publisher:  In Simple Shapes Spectacular Quilts, world-renowned quilter Kaffe Fassett demonstrates how basic geometric forms—squares, rectangles, triangles, diamonds, circles, and quarter-circles—found in natural and manmade environments inspire his quilt designs. Twenty-three of his magnificent, inventive quilts—ranging from the relatively simple Tilt, ideal for beginners, to the more complex Circle of Stars, for more advanced stitchers—are showcased in the book, along with step-by-step instructions for making each one.

Along the way, Fassett also offers over a hundred photos of geometric inspiration from around the world—everything from triangular watermelon slices, to rectangular sheets of metal on African scrap dwellings, to lollipop-shaped topiary trees in Japan. In the accompanying text, Fassett reveals how he experiences the colors and basic shapes around him, how we can train our own eyes to see this rewarding source of creativity, and how we can, just as he does, combine striking fabrics with simple shapes to create our own spectacular quilt designs.

Material Obsession:  Modern Quilts with Traditional Roots

by Kathy Doughty & Sarah Fielke
STC Craft/A Melanie Falick Book (March 1, 2009)

SMS:  This book had a big impact on lots of bloggers.  The authors’ “what rules?” attitude struck a chord with many quilters who were inspired to experiment with color and print to make fun, modern quilts using traditional designs.

From the publisher: Kathy Doughty and Sarah Fielke, owners of the popular quilting shop Material Obsession in Sydney, Australia, bring an unconventional spirit to a traditional craft. They encourage quilters to use bold patterns and unusual color combinations, and to trust their instincts rather than follow rigid rules.

In Material Obsession, Doughty and Fielke present 23 vibrant quilt patterns that appear fresh and modern, but are often based on traditional designs. They explain how any quilter, novice or seasoned, can create striking variations of their own by seeking inspiration from both the fabric in front of them and the world around them. Patterns are arranged in order of difficulty, from easy to advanced, and a techniques section fully describes the basics of patchwork and quilting. Material Obsession provides quilters with everything they need to put a modern twist on an age-old craft—and to express their own creative spirits while they’re at it.

Quilting for Peace:  Make the World a Better Place One Stitch at a Time

by Katherine Bell
STC Craft/A Melanie Falick Book (October 1, 2009)

SMS:  In December we reviewed Quilting for Peace and interviewed Katherine Bell.  We were so inspired, we started our own Quilting for Peace team.  This book is full of fun projects, but most importantly, great stories about how you can affect change through the simple act of sewing.  (Check out our Sew Good page for more ideas!)

From the publisher: As crafters of all ages take to their sewing machines in unprecedented numbers, many of them join a movement to distribute hope and warmth to those in need through quilting. These are volunteers who have inherited a tradition of comfort and protest, and a belief that they can make the world a better place one stitich at a time.

Quilting for Peace, the follow-up to STC’s Knitting for Peace, profiles these quilters in more than 25 essays about individuals and organizations devoted to making quilts and other necessities for the needy. The efforts range from Newborns in Need, a group that makes clothing for premature babies at nearby hospitals; to Quilts of Valor, which makes quilts to honor wounded soldiers; to the Sleeping Bag Project, which distributes 100,000 homemade sleeping bags to the homeless every year. This timely book also includes 15 projects and guidelines for quilters who want to contribute to an existing effort or establish a new one.

I Love Patchwork:  21 Irresistible Zakka Projects to Sew

by Rashida Coleman-Hale
Interweave Press (December 1, 2009)

SMS:  We call our theme “Quilting Month”, rather than “Quilt Month”, because we believe quilting techniques are transferable to whatever you want to sew and aren’t just limited to blankets.  Rashida’s wonderful book is proof of that.  You can practice binding, quilting, paper piecing, applique and, of course, patchwork on any of the 21 fantastic and approachable projects.

From the publisher:  Offering a modern approach to traditional fabric design, this charming instructional illustrates how to create sophisticated patchwork projects by combining linen and print fabrics using simple quilting procedures. Presenting a diverse collection of projects—many inspired by the Japanese zakka aesthetic—such as a travel sewing kit, sewing machine cover, table runner, apron, eco bag, towels, calendar, lap quilt, tote bag, pillowcase, and shoulder bag, all designs are fun, functional, and easy to master. Combining sewing, appliqué, quilting, and patchwork techniques with thoughtful advice on how to select, work with, and care for linen, this colorful handbook is brimming with sophisticated and innovative projects to challenge and inspire both beginning and intermediate sewers and quilters.

Liberated Quiltmaking II

by Gwen Marston
American Quilter’s Society (January 1, 2010)

SMS:  This sequel to Liberated Quiltmaking comes highly recommended by SMS readers and is another book that’s chock-full of modern twists on classic designs.  Marston has legions of fans who attest to her genius.

From the publisher: At long last! Gwen Marston has updated her signature Liberated Quiltmaking! The fascination with Gwen’s Liberated Quiltmaking has generated a demand for more, more, more! Introduced in 1996, her distinctive methods for creating original quilts are expanded in this new volume including Liberated Square Within-a-Square, Liberated Medallion, and Recut Blocks and Sashing. Gwen presents nine Liberated Quiltmaking processes and each is clearly illustrated with step-by-step instructions, pieced samples, and loads of example quilts. Multiple techniques and variations are given. Liberated Quiltmaking II provides a way of working without using templates or set patterns. Truly original quilts result that engage the quilter’s intuition and emotion as well as technical skills.

Our original list of favorites:

Denyse Schmidt Quilts by Denyse Schmidt

Last-Minute Patchwork and Quilted Gifts by Joelle Hoverson

Quilts! Quilts!! Quilts!!!: The Complete Guide to Quiltmaking by by Diana Mcclun and Laura Nownes

The Modern Quilt Workshop: Patterns, Techniques, and Designs from the Funquilts Studio by Weeks Ringle and Bill Kerr

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

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

Quilter’s Complete Guide by Marianne Fons and Liz Porter

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

Collaborative Quilting by Fredd Moran and Gwen Marston

Gee’s Bend: The Architecture of the Quilt by Paul Arnett

Comment in any post this week for your chance to win one of these great prizes. Wow!:

Make! Over 40 Fantastic Projects with 16 Exclusive Designs by Cath Kidston; Pretty Little Mini Quilts by Ray Hemachandra; 200 Quilting Tips, Techniques & Trade Secrets by Susan Briscoe; Simple Contemporary Quilts A Beginner’s Guide to Modern Quiltmaking by Valerie Van Arsdale Shrader; The Quilts of Gee’s Bend ~ 23 Fat Quarter Pack, Retail Value: $57.50.

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114 Responses to SMS Favorite Quilting Books

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  2. Maureen says:

    Check out most of these books from our library.
    Grea books.

  3. Cathy Minear says:

    I love the Material Obsession book. And Gwen Marston. My next project will have me breaking the rules and moving out of my comfort zone.

  4. You have really nice list of book and i love the quilts baby book as i love baby photography!!!

  5. I know I want Material Obsessions as soon as it fits in the budget!

  6. Jaymie says:

    I love “Material Obsession One”. It is my permanent nightstand book. I always pick it up to put a smile on my face and give me some inspiration. Can’t wait to check out some of the other picks. Thanks!

  7. Mary P says:

    I will second the Gwen Marston book. I am going to her retreat in October and I can’t wait! She is fantastic, and incredibly humble too.

  8. Ethne says:

    I keep getting drawn to the ‘Oh, Baby’ and ‘Simple Contemporary’ books, but the problem with all books unless you can get the chance to go through them is – do the contents continue to reflect the cover images that attracted attention in the first place – all too often the best quilts are those on the cover, and sometimes there aren’t instructions, guidlines for those quilts in the book.

  9. Wendy says:

    That Jinney Beyer book looks FANTASTIC. I haven’t quilted for years, but that might be the book that gets the rotary cutter back in my hand.

  10. Kaye Prince says:

    Great list! I mentioned a few of those in my list and I just love them – can’t wait to check out the rest!

  11. Linda says:

    Thanks for the book info!!

  12. Candy S says:

    Love Material Obsessions…great doable inspiration for a beginner like me.

  13. Sam says:

    Everyone seems to love Material Obsession. I need to add that one to my collection asap!

  14. Sarah S says:

    Nice! I love Material Obsession!

  15. Adrianne says:

    What a great list! I’m always looking for inspiration. That first one has such and intriguing concept. So many blocks!

  16. Krista says:

    I have several of these books but see now there are more I “need”.

  17. Marcia W. says:

    Several of these titles look very interesting…Material Obsession and Liberated Quiltmaking….

  18. Julia says:

    Quilts, Baby! and Material Obsession are high on my list of favorites, too!!

  19. delitealex says:

    Great books I’ll have to check some of them out.

  20. Marianne K. says:

    I love Material Obsession! The other titles look just as inspirational.

  21. Melissa H. says:

    I would love to read through all of these and make QUILTS!

  22. Manechka says:

    I’m with Alisha on that – I will be hunting down the Marerial Obsession books. It’s hard to ignore all these great reviews! Thanks!

  23. sally says:

    Material Obsession looks awesome! I’m hoping to get to do some creating just as soon as this semester of school is over…

  24. Deborah S. says:

    I have purchased the Quilts, Baby book and I think that this month, with your inspiration, I just might get a quilt done for it. Thank you for keeping us inspired!

  25. Jessica D. says:

    I’m loving this quilting month. I’m getting more ideas than I have time for.

  26. Cristi says:

    Material Obsession and Quilting for Peace look amazing!

  27. Pattij says:

    I love collecting books. These all look great.

  28. Colette says:

    Material Obsession is my most favorite quilting book…have to check out that Kafe Fassett one! Thanks for the suggestions.

  29. Susan Snooks says:

    I love the Material Obsessions Book- am making the “Strawberry Fields” from Alexander Henry fabric of Spotted Owl and also made Burgoyne Surrounded/Charlotte Sometimes from their second book! Their ideas are inspiring as is this list!

  30. tscd says:

    I want the Make! book!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  31. Katie says:

    Would love any or all of these, but especially Quilts Baby, it looks divine.

  32. alisha says:

    Oh, I’m going to have to check out Material Obsession!

  33. Lori Olson says:

    What fantastic books – and what a wonderful way to be introduced to what’s out there. Thanks!

  34. I love quilting books. They get me so inspired. Now to actually DO something with that inspiration!

  35. Soo says:

    Love the Material Obsession quilt books! Have managed to make a few quilts from their books and am now happily looking through the new Kaffe Fassett quilt book too. What wonderful choices!

  36. Katherine Armstrong says:

    Last Minute has a lot of good instructions and easy projects for beginners!

  37. Nezabudkina says:

    If only I did not have a budget I would have bought all these great books! Thanks for the list!

  38. Wendy says:

    Thanks for the great ideas! Hadn’t heard of several of these.

  39. Claudia Wade says:

    Any of Jinny Beyer’s books are worth owning. She was profiled in the AQS magazine this month. Unless you’ve been quilting since the 80’s you might not know of her, but she truly singlehandedly revolutionized the quilting industry. She came up with the grid sytem for classifying blocks so that we all knew what we were talking about when we said that a certain block was based on the 9 patch grid or the 4 patch grid, etc. She has an engineering brain and was able to teach many of us how to analyze blocks so that we could draft any block we wanted in any size we wanted….totally freeing! claudia w

  40. Amber W says:

    great list. Im such a sucker for sewing/quilting books!

  41. WhitneyG says:

    Great list! I’m always looking for good sewing books and appreciate the expert suggestions!

  42. Debbie says:

    I’m almost finished with a gift quilt from a pattern in Material Obsession. Love the pattern and my quilt looks gorgeous. Great book list, thanks.

  43. Megan Presley says:

    Those sound interesting! I don’t have any of them net (nor have I read any yet), but I can’t wait!

  44. JJ says:

    I’m going to have to check a few of these out of the library for sure!

  45. Katie says:

    Great. Now if I could just get ’em all!

  46. Jenny says:

    i love book recommendations..thank you.

  47. Jenna C. says:

    thanks for this list. i have seen a lot of refs to quilting for peace – i need to check this book out!

  48. Mindy says:

    Oh, My, just what I need more books to wish for! I want them all!!!

  49. Such great books! And I just joined your Goodreads group!

  50. Erin says:

    What great books! I definitely need to order one.

  51. Katrina H says:

    I need so many of these books!

  52. Beth says:

    Thanks for the list of quilting books. It’s always helpful to start with books that actual quilters recommend. The Material Obsession book has been in my shopping cart for a while now, with all the great reviews I’m going to have to order it!!

  53. Wendy D. P. says:

    These are great! Thanks for sharing!

  54. Rene says:

    Enjoyed reading your book list 🙂

  55. tjesa says:

    Want to get my hands on the Jinny Beyer patchwork patterns and the Material Obsession books. Could use them together…traditional blocks with a modern twist!

  56. Sarah says:

    Thanks so much, what an inspiring list to be included on 🙂 Thanks everyone
    Sarah Fielke

  57. Jen says:

    Ak! Stop! I want ALL these books now.

  58. Margaret says:

    Several of my favorite books are posted here!

  59. Karo says:

    i really really really want material obsession. may have to be my next big splurge.

  60. stella g says:

    i’ve been looking for a new quilting book. these are great suggestions! thanks!

  61. Valerie says:

    What great books! Thanks for all the inspiration!

  62. Joan says:

    Thank you for the great book reviews!

  63. Upstatelisa says:

    great list! Just finished Liberating Quiltmaking II!!!

  64. kim says:

    Liberated Quiltmaking II is on my list of gotta get’s.

  65. andi says:

    I can’t seem to stop buying quilt related books.
    I’d love another for my collection.
    Thanks 🙂

  66. Becky says:

    I really need all of these books. Yeah, need not just want. Now, how do I convince Hubby?

  67. Christina says:

    Thanks for letting me know about books I didn’t know I needed! Hmmm birthday is coming up!

  68. Becca says:

    I’m so excited to build my collection of quilting books!

  69. Sara says:

    I love Rashida Coleman-Hale’s blog and tutorials. Thanks for the resource.

  70. Jane says:

    Great list those books are all interesting to me and I’d love to have all of them in my library.

  71. Andi says:

    The only thing I love more than sewing is books! I am definitely going to need to add some of these to my wish list.

  72. KT says:

    Thanks for the ideas! There’s a few on there that I hadn’t heard of and they’ve now made their way onto my amazon wish list!!

  73. Bethany says:

    I love these books! They are great. Thanks.

  74. Kiza M says:

    I almost bought Quilting for Peace yesterday! It’s a really amazing books.

    And I’ve heard such good things about Liberated Quiltmaking II. I’m going to have to hunt down a copy…

  75. Rachael says:

    What a great list!!!! The second Material Obsession book is as good as the first one. I find myself always coming back to them for ideas, tips and inspiration. The kaffe fasset books are always a sumptuous delight! I’ll have to check out some of those other books…

  76. kirsten says:

    As a beginning quilter, I really appreciate all the information this month!!

  77. Jennifer says:

    That patchwork book looks great! I have the other ones already… I’m such a quilting nerd! LOL

    Jennifer 🙂

  78. Melissa says:

    I have never purchased a quilting book because it always seems there are so many to choose from I get overwhelmed. Thanks for helping to narrow the selection a bit.

  79. Deb V says:

    Thanks for the list of quilt books. Some of these look like something I might be interested in.

  80. Elizabeth says:

    Thanks for these book suggestions! I am unfamiliar with all of them…it’s time to start reading!

  81. Doris says:

    MO1 is my all time favorite!

  82. sharon says:

    Great books! Thanks for the free shipping bonus too at Conecting threads! Sharonj.

  83. PeachRainbow says:

    I am ‘craving’ for these books!

  84. Beck says:

    Ah. great suggestions! I need to bake some brownies for the girl that handles Inter-library loan!

  85. Sylvie says:

    Oh wow! I just want all these books!!!

  86. Nichole says:

    You have some of my favorite titles, and I see a few new ones to check out. Thanks for featuring these.

  87. Maeve says:

    While I’m at it, I highly recommend Maria Peagler’s book COLOR MASTERY: 10 Principles for Stunning Quilts. Best book on color for quilters that I have seen. It includes lots of color wheels and so much information on how to put it all together, and it is easy to understand. She also has a website:

  88. Kelli says:

    I WANT the Material Obsession book. I’ve had my eye on it for awhile, but I forgot to ask for it for Christmas…guess I know what I’ll be getting for myself before too long!

  89. Maeve says:

    Great list of books – I have a few of them and I’m always looking for another book or two that will really add something special to my collection.

  90. Susan Denton says:

    On the Connecting Threads orders– using SEWMAMA for free shipping– didn’t work for me. My order was less than $50.00, and I thought your note said we could use the SEWMAMA to get the shipping free but it won’t take it. Darn….Just thought I’d let you know.

  91. Jessica says:

    I have so many of these on my wishlist!

  92. Jeni says:

    I would love to get my hands on a copy of material obsession! I love patchwork is a very cute read too!

  93. Erin says:

    I love the idea behind the Quilting for Peace book!

  94. Jenny says:

    That encyclopedia looks wonderful! Actually, they all do.

  95. Morgan says:

    Ooh that Liberated Quilting book is calling to me.

  96. Sam says:

    These are all great suggestions, now I just have to learn how to quilt!

  97. DebbieB says:

    Great collection!

  98. Kelly says:

    Denyse Schmidt Quilts by Denyse Schmidt was the first quilting book I purchased. Still one of my faves. Intuitive Color & Design: Adventures in Art Quilting By Jean Wells is a new favorite, the photos alone are worth the price of the book.

  99. simone says:

    The Material Obsession and Quilts Baby are still on my wish list. I did get the I (heart) Patchwork. A wonderful book!
    Great choices (O:

  100. Tong says:

    Great selection of quilting books!

  101. Rachel says:

    Many of those books are on my wish list!

  102. All great books. I ‘d love to have ‘I love Patchwork!’

  103. Desiree says:

    I would love to look at the baby quilting book. I need to go find that one 🙂 thanks.

  104. Chelsea says:

    I have an early Jinny Beyer book out from the library, and will be sad to have to return it. Looking at all the patterns is so inspiring, and the way they are grouped in the book I have really makes sense to me.

  105. Amy Hodge says:

    These all look like great books! Thanks for the recommendations. 🙂

  106. ~Helena~ says:

    Now, I got a list to work with when hitting the book stores. Thanks.

  107. DebbieKL says:

    The Quilts, Baby and Liberated Quiltmaking II caught my eye! I need to check out the selection at the library.

  108. Lisa Eichholtz says:

    Thanks for the book suggestions! I have a few of these, but not all, and I’m always looking for excuses to buy new books!

  109. karen says:

    What a great list of books. I really need to get my hands on the Liberated Quiltmaking!

  110. Laurel says:

    What an amazing collection of books!

  111. Tina says:

    Great list! I have had that baby quilt book on my “list” for a long time. Maybe I should finally pick it up!

  112. Kadybug says:

    The Quilters Album of Patchwork Patterns, looks incredible! Thank you for the list. Free shipping is always nice too.

  113. Ramona says:

    What a great list of books. It is always fun to see what books other people love.

  114. Vicki says:

    I love both of the Material Obessesion books. They are so inspirational. I have also been wanting the ‘Quilts, Baby’ book for that monkey quilt pattern. It’s ridiculously cute!

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