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5 QUILTING BOOKS THAT I LOVE (and a surprise)


Memorial plaque dedicated to Mother Teresa by ...Image via Wikipedia

As some you may know, I am an avid reader. What kind of books do I prefer? Well... History books are one of my favorite subjects.

Also I love biographies. I like to read about personalities that have done a positive contribution in this world; with a message that makes me feel happy because I confirm the power of LOVE and that thanks God, there are still many good people in this world. Great people like Mahatma Gandhi, Abraham Lincoln, Mother Theresa, among many others. 

Believe it or not, I also read the opposite, or personalities that have hurt the entire world very much like Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin, to learn and tell everybody that everything horrible they did NEVER must be repeated again.

But this post is about quilting books, right? Yes, I also read tons about quilting. Because I am self-taught, books were AND are my classes and teachers replacement.

When I began to read and learn with books I started to feel that I needed to buy them ALL. My days in the bookstore were endless; it looked like I had camped there! They were all important:  all the techniques, all the tools, all the notions... I was like a sponge that absorbed everything. When it was time to come back home - with a big bag of so much buying - I began to put into practice all these lessons. What about cooking for my family? Don't ask me!! Many times, it went straight from the oven to the garbage. I forgot and I burned it!

This is my quilting & sewing library today. I have many other craft books, but I don't have room here at my studio. I "forcefully retire" them to the living room's library (it's a little messy, right?).


From all the books I've read, I want to share with you 5 that can be put in the "learn to quilt" category. I don't know if are my complete favorites when talking about quilting in general, but I learned tons from each one since I began! Let me share with you a little bit about them -these are my five issues


ROTARY MAGIC, by Nancy Johnson-Srebro

In my opinion THE BEST BOOK FOR BEGINNERS. Why? Because it is the book with more clear step by step instructions for beginner's blocks that I have seen! The photography is amazing, and the close-up pictures are going to blown you away...  It covers all the aspects you need to know, from A to Z and a special chapter on "No Fail Rotary Cutting" (with all the geometric shapes covered). Hundreds of diagrams show you how to do each step like if you have the teacher in front of you! If you want to learn quilting from round 1, believe me it's the most "how to learn to quilt the right way" book (you can click on the image to see more details).

Rotary Magic book 


Is a very complete book in the sense that has everything: history, techniques, and patterns for the quilting enthusiast. Several chapters for beginners that include also hand and machine quilting (beautifully explained); foundation piecing (if you prefer to learn to quilt this way). Something I value a lot is that it has the first section of the book dedicated to the history of the quilt (and believe me, not many beginners' books do have it). The chapter in color theory is very easy to understand for a beginner. It has a great gallery of 80 pieced, appliquéd, and quilting patterns available to quilters. The bibliography is something you will refer again and again. In fact the name says it all...

Encyclopedia of Quilting


Oh my God, WHAT A GREAT BOOK!! Think of a complete quilting dictionary instead of a book. It's more than a glossary, it's a detailed illustrated answer book. Hundreds of terms from A to Z explained in rich detail, with diagrams and hard-to-find information for every "term". It's loaded with tricks and tips and more than 700 illustrations. The definition of a "pin", for example, will give you 2 complete pages of excellent information, kinds of pins, and even care and maintenance! A MUST for beginner quilters.


FAST & FUN MACHINE QUILTING, by Rodale's Quilting Library

If you are looking for a beginners book on the specific subject of "machine quilting", here you find it. There are many books on the market, but this one has three definitions: simple to understand, complete, and the sequence of pictures is incredible good. It has even a "quilter's problem solver" on each chapter with the most frequent questions you may have. The glossary has lots of illustrations -which is great. There is a chapter on machine tension that you'll absolutely LOVE... Batting (which, where, and what for), adapting designs for continuous-line quilting, learning how to start and stop, the basics of trapunto, are some of the chapters you'll find here. The needles and threads section is very well covered (btw, I have a tutorial on that subject; go to the right sidebar and look for Needles 101). The step by step pictures are excellent. LOVE THIS BOOK!



This book is not old at all; but when it came out in 2001, replaced all others books about machine appliqué I had. Sue is my favorite of all times; her techniques are so professional and clean that you can only understand them when you are in front of one of her quilts. Her invisible machine appliqué method is the best I've ever seen. She goes over every tiny aspect of the technique. Her "Template and starch method" is amazing for folk art look. It also has a chapter about raw edge fusible appliqué for intricate patterns. The diagrams are very clear and easy to follow. This book has the amazing amount of 36 patterns to make. Hours and hours of practice.

Machine applique 

Another book that is great is QUILTS! QUILTS!! QUILTS!!!, by Diana McClun and Laura Nowles. I want to share with you a story about it -and here comes the surprise:

I bought this book long, long time ago... like 15 years (first edition). A year ago, I was on one of my shopping attack modes at Amazon, and when I checked this book I said to myself  "this is a great book to collect for my quilting library"! and I bought it. Last summer, when I moved to my new studio (I still owe you the new pictures), I organized all books by subject to put them on the shelves; and, to my complete surprise, I found that I had two! Well... is it necessary to tell you what I thought? (&#^%&%^&^*#@$@) Please, please, tell me that it happened to you too!!!


I thought that in celebration of making this post (and also in celebration of my dumbness), I would make a give away and the lucky one will get one of the two books -the new one, of course!!

To win:




The winners will be announced on Sunday, November 29. This give-away should last a week -plenty of time-, but next Thursday I'm leaving to Paris. Yes, Paris! Poor me, right? :) It will be a week of just inspiration, inspiration, and more inspiration... not to forget good food & wine!! Hope to come back with batteries recharged to keep designing my best for you -and to show you my pictures! So I will pick the winner after coming back.


Love and keep on stitching,


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