I've been thinking about books lately. hmm, wonder why... Figured this was a good opportunity to recommend some of my absolute favorite books.
Of course, Pokey approves of them all too.
Some of these books will be familiar to my faithful readers. Wade through those and you'll get to some you might not have seen before. Maybe.
First and foremost, is the one that changed it all. Gwen Marston's original Liberated Quiltmakingbook. I can't help myself - I have a strong emotional connection to this book. I love Gwen's style and how she describes the techniques and lets you make the quilt yourself. Right now this out-of-print book is available for $50 and it's worth the price.
Gwen's more recent book, Liberated Quiltmaking II is also excellent (and hey, I have a quilt in there) with a bit of overlap with the first one, but still a lot of new stuff to see.
For the hand quilters out there, oh boy, Gwen Marston and Joe Cunningham's fantastic but also sadly out of print classic Quilting With Style: Principles for Great Pattern Design is available used for hardly any money at all. A serious bargain. I love the book intensely and I've only ever done the freehand fans, so that tells you there is a lot of quilting eye candy in there. This book shows you how to draft quilting designs so you don't have to buy templates.
Speaking of hand quilting, Gwen is now doing a series of hand quilting lessons on her homepage. Check it out here. And while you are there you can buy some books directly from Gwen herself, including Ideas and Inspirations and her collaborative books with Freddy Moran.
Roberta Horton's Scrap Quilts: The Art of Making Do is another old standby favorite that you can READ since it's not a pattern book. Definitely the kinds of books I like.
Alright, you'd almost have to be living under a rock to not know about the Gee's Bend quilters, the fabulous improvisational quilters of Alabama. If you haven't gotten it already, run and grab The Quilts of Gee's Bend: Masterpieces from a Lost Place. Gorgeous coffee-table book with moving stories of quilters taking hardship and turning it into beauty.
You say you've already got that book? Well then how about Just How I Picture It in My Mind: Contemporary African American Quilts from the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts or Accidentally on Purpose: The Aesthetic Management of Irregularities in African Textiles and African-American Quilts. Both are high-quality books of wonderful improvisational quilts.
I own a ton of books on Amish quilts. Far too many books only have the pretty and perfect quilts but the Amish had some rebel quilters. Try these books: Amish Abstractions: Quilts from the Collection of Faith and Stephen Brownwhich led to an awesome class we did called Liberated Amish. Eve Granick's The Amish Quilthas some great liberated quilts in it too.
I also love Illinois Amish Quilts: Sharing Threads of Tradition which you can buy directly from the author, Janice Tauer Wass. I admit I'm biased because I got to see some of these beauties in person, but the book is wonderful.
Wild by Design: Two Hundred Years of Innovation and Artistry in American Quilts features quilts from the International Quilt Study Center. It's an unusual book because it shows a quilt, explains how it's made but mostly it's a conversation by the contributors of what made each quilt "wild" for its time and what they like about each quilt. Features some great antique quilts.
Another historical book I treasure is Album Quilts of Ohio's Miami Valleyby Sue C. Cummings. This is a low-priced book for what you get - all these beautiful pics of loosy-goosy liberated, just put these puppies together quilts. I wrote a post about this book here.
Quilts by Paul D. Pilgrim: Blending the Old & the Newis another out-of-print beauty but at the moment you can get it for a decent price. I've written a glowing blog post about this book before, it's one I really love. It shows how Paul gathered together old blocks to put them together, using partial blocks and innovation. Marvelous.
Do you ever buy a book for just one fabulous quilt? Then have I got the book for you. Mississippi Quiltsby Mary Elizabeth Johnson. Honestly it has some other great quilts in here too, but this red, white and blue star quilt blows me away:
So many of the state history books ignored string quilts, but not this one, which is why I love it. I was about to say that Mississippi Quilts is my favorite state book, but oooh I also love New York Beauties: Quilts from the Empire State which has great antique quilts with WORDS. Great used prices at the moment, so go grab it.
On to something completely different. Picture This: How Pictures Work by Molly Bang. Lynne of Patchery Menagerie recommended this book and boy was she right. Okay, yes, it's a childrens book, but that doesn't matter. Very effective and it's recently been reissued and the price is great.
Another book on design that I love is Design!: A Lively Guide to Design Basics for Artists & Craftspeople by Steven Aimone. For a ridiculously low price you get a huge bunch of photos of interesting objects etc (including quilts) and well-written instruction.
Design includes a couple of embroideries by one of my favorite artists, Renie Breskin Adams whose work is so full of humor and joy. Ooh, her website has a collection of her work, which you can click on and explore BIG.
Hmm and now I have to direct you over to another fun embroiderer, Caroline Dahl. She's been doing some awesome Day of the Dead work, and I think my favorite is Laundry Day of the Dead.
Speaking of humor and joy AND knowing you just need a project to include UnRuly Letters, try Mary Lou Weidman's Out of the Box: Unleash Your Creativity Through Quilts (That Patchwork Place). Lots of bright inspiration and wheee color.
Feel like having some fun that has absolutely nothing to do with quilts? then try the book Bent Objects: The Secret Life of Everyday Things. These pics make me laugh. The blog of the same name is loads of fun too. Did I ever show you my favorite? Zombie potatoes.
Okay, I can't think of anymore. What books would you recommend for your favorite liberated, UnRuly quilters?