Our Favorite Quilting Books

March is National Reading Month as well as the month all of us quilters celebrate National Quilting Day. Which led us to create a blog post about favorite quilt books­—fiction or non-fiction. Now, as quilters and/or book lovers, you probably know how hard it is to choose JUST ONE book that is your favorite.  So even though we’ve focused on just one, please take note that we have quite a few more lined up right behind these ones.

What is your favorite quilting book? We might need to add it to our list of “books we need to read”.

Star Ann KloberdanzIQM Board Member

How can I possibly choose just one?!  One of my favorite quilting books is Patchwork Patterns by Jinny Beyer.  I purchased it in 1980.   When Jinny came to the Iowa Quilters Guild to give a workshop in 1982, she autographed the book.  It’s a book full of my notes, pattern ideas, sketches, and years worth of my quilting thoughts.  It is very satisfying to draft designs in any size I need. When I study a historic quilt, I know I can recreate the block.  I also very much like her Quiltmaking by Hand.   In 2015 I was fortunate to visit her Virginia shop and chat with her again.  My favorite books to find now are the ones that tell the history of quilts and the quilters creating them.   

Patchwork Patterns by Jinny Beyer

Gaylene Blankers – IQM Board Secretary

It is difficult to pick just one favorite book, although many good fictional books involve quilting. I enjoy a good mystery and one of my favorites is the Persian Pickle Club by Sandra Dallas. During the depression, a group of quilting friends meets regularly to quilt. They have many conversations, good food, and keep each other’s secrets. When a new member joins the group, a secret is threatened to be exposed and will disrupt the lives of many of the members. 

Other books I enjoy are the Benni Harper Mysteries by Erlene Fowler.  Each book has a quilt block in the title: Irish Chain, Steps to the Altar, Dove in the Window, and Delectable Mountains to name a few.  Benni is a folk-art expert and quilter and usually finds herself in the middle of a mystery or two.  I have also read many of the Elm Creek Quilters by Jennifer Chiaverini and just purchased the first book of the Door County Quilters by Ann Hazelwood. 

Persian Pickle Club by Sandra Dallas

Marianne Fons – IQM Board Member

Choosing one is difficult for me as well, but I decided on 101 PATCHWORK PATTERNS by Ruby McKim, because it was the first quilting book I ever owned. My mother gave it to me for Christmas in 1972, when I was 22 years old. The book is a compilation of patterns that appeared in newspapers during a time when most women knew how to use template patterns and sew patchwork. There is zero instruction, and I later learned many of the templates are inaccurate. It would be several years later, around 1977, before I would take a beginning class and learn not only how to use these patterns, but how to draft patterns for myself. By 1982, Liz Porter and I had our own book in print, CLASSIC QUILTED VESTS.

101 Patchwork Patterns by Ruby McKim

Randall Parkin – IQM Board President

My favorite quilt/quilting book is probably the one I’ve just looked at in any given moment; anything with good photos is like eye candy, and just makes me love quilting more. However, the first quilting book I purchased soon after it was published in 1980 always pops to mind as the book that inspired me to put needle to fabric. You Can be a Super Quilter! A Teach-yourself Manual for Beginners by Carla Hassel of Des Moines. It was an excellent resource, though the author insisted there was only one correct way to piece and quilt: by hand. In all fairness, 1980 was before the advent of the fabulous tools we now use, and I have enjoyed several other books and teachers who showed me quilting can be what you make it.

You Can be a Super Quilter! A Teach-yourself Manual for Beginners” by Carla Hassel

Perhaps we have a future favorite quilting book of yours in our gift show. Check out our book selection!

2 Responses

  1. Kathy Beach
    | Reply

    I can’t name a favorite, but the one that taught me to quilt is “The Quilting Bible” from the Singer Sewing Reference Library. I made crib quilts for my twins 40 years ago using very minimal instructions in a magazine. Puffy poly batting, a big ruffle instead of binding, rick-rack sewn on diagonally for quilting, and no walking foot made for what I’ll call “interesting” quilts, but 2-year olds don’t care. My next attempt was placemats almost 20 years later, using a pattern that was too difficult for someone who didn’t know what she was doing. They were all different sizes and points were nowhere to be found. Then I found the Singer book and learned what I needed to know. My first quilt from that book was a baby quilt with star points in the sashing, a pieced back and straight line quilting on my Singer with a walking foot. I was so impressed with myself when it looked like the picture, and my quilting journey was launched.

    • Carissa Heckathorn
      | Reply

      We’re going to have to check and see if that one is in our Library, here at the museum. Sounds like a good one!

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