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Top 10 Books for Adventurous Patchwork Quilters

Updated on January 23, 2017
JanTUB profile image

Quilter, author, tutor, columnist, Jan T Urquhart Baillie has been enthusing others with her passion for quilting for more than 30 years.

In my studio: The 10 books I will tell you about
In my studio: The 10 books I will tell you about | Source

My Studio Library is Extensive

Several Hundred Books on Quilts

I love reading (make that devouring) the contents of my patchwork and quilting books.

I have written some, but I am inspired by reading the work of others, and although I never produce any of the designs in these books, they are how I start on my own designing.

I use the techniques and discussion in the books as a jumping-off point.

Below I have chosen my top ten books that are inspiring me now, or have inspired me quite a bit in the past few years

Are you ready to stretch yourself as a quilter?

Be Inspired to Move Forward

After a couple of years learning my craft and using traditional methods of designing, I decided to get a bit adventurous.

In the early 1990s I began designing my own quilt blocks such as my Troop Carrier in my life story quilt. I was hungry for information, but there was little of the adventurous quiltmaking stuff available.

I have compiled for you my top ten list of current and all-time inspirational and educational patchwork quilting books for you to embark on a quilting adventure of your own.

Enjoy!

The List: Top 10 Quilt Books

My top ten books for adventurous quilters, from the start of my quilting adventure until the present day

  1. Thread Magic: The Enchanted World of Ellen Anne Eddy

    by Ellen Anne Eddy

  2. Color Play

    by Joen Wolfrom

  3. Free-Style Quilts: A "No Rules" Approach

    by Susan Carlson

  4. Serendipity Quilts: Cutting Loose Fabric Collage

    by Susan Carlson

  5. Six Color World

    by Yvonne Porcella

  6. Machine Quilting with Decorative Threads

    by Maurine Noble and Elizabeth Hendricks

  7. Artistic Photo Quilts: Create Stunning Quilts with Your Camera, Computer & Cloth

    by Charlotte Ziebarth

  8. Altered Photo Artistry: Turn Everyday Images into Works of Art on Fabric

    by Beth Wheeler

  9. Next Steps in Altered Photo Artistry: New Ways

    to Transform Images for Fabric & Quilt Art

    by Beth Wheeler

  10. Photo-Inspired Art Quilts: From Composition to Finished Piece

    by Leni Levenson Wiener, Nancy Zieman

Full of yummy images and information
Full of yummy images and information

1. Thread Magic

One of my first 'adventurous' books was one by Ellen Anne Eddy — Thread Magic. I bought it because the sewing machine I had at that time was not co-operating in my need for adventure. Little did I know what lay inside those pages.

There is even a description of the 'perfect' sewing machine! (None exists according to Ellen Anne.)

I have read and re-read this book countless times!

There is great information on threads, tension, and of course insight into how Ellen Anne makes her enchanting quilts.

Second Edition
Second Edition | Source

I Love Joen Wolfrom's Books

I own several of Joen's books, and have read some so many times, they are dog-eared.

Her writing is clear and she relates theoretical stuff to everyday ideas, making the content of her books easy to follow and absorb.

Joen's approach to teaching you is so easy to follow and is full of inspirational pictures.

2. My Current Favourite: Color Play

I have the first edition and at first glance found it overwhelming, it was so packed with information. Colour schemes explained and shown with real fabric swatch photos, not paint chip swatches.

The second edition is now available and I know you will love it, too.

Daintree Dalliance quilt by Jan T Urquhart Baillie, using techniques from Free Style Quilts by Susan Carlson
Daintree Dalliance quilt by Jan T Urquhart Baillie, using techniques from Free Style Quilts by Susan Carlson

3. Free Style Quilts: A "No Rules" Approach

by Susan Carlson

This is the book which really put me on the magic carpet.

Susan Carlson writes about her adventures in quilting what she calls Free Style Quilts. I made my first one, Daintree Dalliance (pictured below), using her techniques in the late 1990s, and am still enjoying what I learned.

You can see the story of another quilt, Rosellas In My Garden, which was influenced by the technique suggestions in this book, in the link following the book information.

I suppose you could call this a mentor book for me. I love the concepts, the photographs, the quilts.

You will too.

The birds were constructed using Susan's technique
The birds were constructed using Susan's technique | Source
Source

4. Serendipity Quilts

Cutting Loose Fabric Collage

by Susan Carlson

Susan will encourage you to try using your scrap fabrics to make stunning fabric collages.

There is freedom in creating quilts with no rules and no measurements.

You can 'cut loose'!

Susan Carlson is an award-winning artist who believes creating with your instincts will produce gorgeous results every time.

Source
Some hand dyed and painted fabrics we made, after I read Six Color World
Some hand dyed and painted fabrics we made, after I read Six Color World

5. Six Color World

Yvonne Porcella Invites You Into Her Six Colour World

Inspiration is the right word for this colourful book.

It is packed full of colour advice, colour inspirational tips, and making your own colourful fabric simply and easily.

This is not the first book of Yvonne's that I bought, nor will it be the last.

I love her bright colours, her enthusiasm and great energy.

There are many fun exercises which my daughter, my grand-daughter and I spent a day playing with in my studio.

The picture at right shows the results of our play.

Boy we had great fun!

Source

6. Machine Quilting With Decorative Threads

Once I started getting adventurous with my quilt designs, I needed to make the stitching and quilting more adventurous.

This book was where I went next for help and inspiration.

I have two of Maureen Noble's machine quilting books. This one shows the ins and outs of quilting with decorative threads.

So much clear information, with lots of practical advice and exercise for you to work on the techniques for your quiltmaking adventure.

Big Boys Toys detail Using variegated rayon decorative threads made the quilting interesting
Big Boys Toys detail Using variegated rayon decorative threads made the quilting interesting
Source

7. Artistic Photo Quilts

Create Stunning Quilts with Your Camera, Computer & Cloth

by Charlotte Ziebarth

See what magical quilts you can produce by printing photos onto fabric and using repetition to make stunning landscape quilts, like Somerset Buttresses (detail photograph below).

Love this one too!


Repeated Photo on This Quilt

Detail: Somerset Buttresses art quilt
Detail: Somerset Buttresses art quilt | Source
(Only available as print on demand currently.)
(Only available as print on demand currently.) | Source

9. Altered Photo Artistry

Turn Everyday Images into Works of Art on Fabric

by Beth Wheeler

Beth tells you how to get photos from camera to computer to quilt.

Informative and enjoyable, but could have a bit more depth in the computer side of instructions for the not-so-computer-savvy reader.

Source

10. Next Steps In Altered Photo Artistry

Another Fabulous Beth Wheeler Book

All you ever needed to know about using Adobe Photoshop Elements ® in detail featured in this book.

Take a walk through exercise after exercise in editing photos and enhancing them for printing on fabric from your computer.

I bought this one and am still reading it over and over. The pictures are excellent, too.

Source

10. Photo-Inspired Art Quilts

From Composition to Finished Piece

by Leni Levenson Wiener

There is a DVD included in this book so you can see and hear the artist speaking about her quilts and techniques.

Leni will amaze you with her photo inspired quilts.

One of My Photo Inspired Quilts

Below you see a picture of Fan Palms, inspired by my late husband's photo of the fan palms at Cape York Peninsular, Queensland, Australia.

Photo Inspired art quilt of the fan palms on Cape York
Photo Inspired art quilt of the fan palms on Cape York | Source
The fan palms at Cape York
The fan palms at Cape York | Source

Bonus Listing

I couldn't leave these ones off my list of favourite quilting books!

Source

A Painter's Approach to Quilt Design

by Velda Newman

When you want your quilts to be truly art quilts, then read this one. A truly inspiring book.

Review

From Library Journal

Newman is an award-winning artist who uses hand-dyed fabrics, thread, bleach, ink, and paint to create larger-than-life applique art quilts. One of her most striking pieces is an 82" by 98" depiction of a clump of geraniums seen by the viewer at eye level. Although Newman includes an instructional design that the reader may use to learn bleaching and fabric-painting techniques, she has not produced a project book. Instead, she writes of her design philosophy, the steps she goes through to plan an art quilt, how she chooses color and manipulates fabrics, and how she completes the final quilt assembly. A worthwhile choice for larger subject collections.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Source

A Workshop with Velda Newman

Adding Dimension to Your Quilts

Follow along and learn with Velda as she shows you how she makes her larger than life applique quilts.

Lessons in how to achieve depth and 'roundness' with stitchery to enhance the realism in your quilts.

A great book.

© 2016 Jan T Urquhart Baillie

Have you enjoyed my top ten list? - Tell me which ones you liked.

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    • Millionaire Tips profile image

      Shasta Matova 17 months ago from USA

      I must not be very adventurous - I don't have any of these books. I will have to look into them.

    • JanTUB profile image
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      Jan T Urquhart Baillie 6 years ago from Australia

      @justholidays: Yes the fabrics were so much fun to produce. You can do it you know.

    • JanTUB profile image
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      Jan T Urquhart Baillie 6 years ago from Australia

      @pangaloon: Glad you loved it. You can get those two made! Go for it.

    • justholidays profile image

      justholidays 6 years ago

      I've always love quilts and would like to be eable to make one myself. Thanks for sharing this experience with us - I really love the theme of the painted fabrics you made! Lovely colors.

    • pangaloon profile image

      pangaloon 6 years ago

      I am a complete novice at quilting, but have vowed to make 2 for my daughters before winter. I love the lens, there are such talented quilters around.

    • JanTUB profile image
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      Jan T Urquhart Baillie 6 years ago from Australia

      @jmsp206: You don't need patience, just enthusiasm.Thanks for visiting

    • JanTUB profile image
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      Jan T Urquhart Baillie 6 years ago from Australia

      @Laniann: Thank you so much.

    • JanTUB profile image
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      Jan T Urquhart Baillie 6 years ago from Australia

      @Laniann: You are so nice!

    • jmsp206 profile image

      Julia M S Pearce 6 years ago from Melbourne, Australia

      I would love to stitch a quilt but I don't know whether I would have enough patients.Would love to give it a try as they are so lovely.

    • Laniann profile image

      Laniann 6 years ago

      Blessed by a Squid Angel.

    • Laniann profile image

      Laniann 6 years ago

      Yes, a wonderful selection. Your quilts and fabric are beautiful.

    • JanTUB profile image
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      Jan T Urquhart Baillie 6 years ago from Australia

      @MaggiePowell: Yes, it was fun making them too. Thanks for dropping in.

    • JanTUB profile image
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      Jan T Urquhart Baillie 6 years ago from Australia

      @lemonsqueezy lm: I've got lots of beginning quilter lenses. VBG! Glad you liked it.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      What a great top 10 list for more skilled quilters! Blessed!

    • profile image

      MaggiePowell 6 years ago

      Love your painted fabrics! Beautiful!

    • lemonsqueezy lm profile image

      lemonsqueezy lm 6 years ago

      Wow! Lots of eye candy here. You know... I'm a wanna-be quilter. I'll get there someday.

    • JanTUB profile image
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      Jan T Urquhart Baillie 6 years ago from Australia

      @anonymous: Why, thank you ma'am!

    • JanTUB profile image
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      Jan T Urquhart Baillie 6 years ago from Australia

      @seashell2: Thank you. Of course it's my thing ... VBG!

    • seashell2 profile image

      seashell2 6 years ago

      I have never done quilting but I've seen some beautiful quilts my mother in-law has made. Great lens!