Saturday, December 11, 2010

Book Recommendations and a Few Good Links

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?


ROZ said...

Thanks for the suggestions, I want to add some of those books to my wish list. One book I often refer to is "Scrap Happy" by Sally Schneider. Her directions in the front of the book are so handy for making triangles.

Jessica said...

thank you for the list and recommendations! i think i'll email your post directly to Santa..

Nifty Quilts said...

Yea, direct to Santa for this list! I also love Accidentally on Purpose and all of Gwen's books. String Quilts is probably my favorite of hers.

Statch said...

Tonya, congratulations on the book! I'm so excited for you. It's in my Amazon cart waiting for me to decide what needs to come with it :->.

I really like your comment about books to read, not for patterns. I loved the Wild by Design and Gee's Bend books for that. One of my very favorites is 'A People and Their Quilts' by John Rice Irwin, about the quilts of Appalachia. Lots of great pictures, both of quilts and people, but the best parts are the interviews with people about what life was like 'back then.' An amazing book.

I'm going to go check out 'Quilting With Style'!


Anonymous said...

I second John Rice Irwin, Greeneville isn't too far from where I live, and add

The Quilters by Norma Allen and Patricia Cooper

as well as

West Virginia Quilts and Quiltmakers by Fawn Valentine.

My favorite Gwen Marston is Quilting with Style.

Anonymous said...

and now that I've browsed my library I'd have to add that those I started with I still love

Georgia Bonesteel's Lap Quilting
and Marti Michell's Scrap Patchwork and Quilting.

Mary Lou Weidman said...

My goodness thank you so much for adding my book to your list...I am honored to be on there with such great authors! Can't wait to get YOUR book this week!

Clare said...

OMG Ton. So much to choose from. To start with I'd love Roberta Horton's book, but sadly can't find it any where. It's getting like LQI.

Like the look of Mary Lou's books. Thanks for the link.

Serena mentined Georgia Bonesteel's Lap Quilting. You gave me More Ideas for Lap Quilting and although the quilts aren't exactly me, there are some good colour ideas in there.

Oh but the King and Queen have got to be LQ1 and LQ2. I'm taking LQ2 to bed with me tonight LOl.

PS Good word!

LJ said...

I have to thank you for the suggestions for an awesome Christmas gift to myself. I just ordered 2 books this fine Sunday morning.

Cheryl Arkison said...

Wow, some of those look incredible. Good thing tomorrow is a library day!

I also like The Quilter's Book of Design. Difficult at times, but a good guide.

Again, congratulations on the book launch.

SewCalGal said...

Thanks for sharing your list of favorite quilting books. Many are new and I'm eager to check them out.

SewCalGal said...

If only I had found your blog a few years ago. Thanks for all the book tips. Some I have, and some I must order!

Anonymous said...

Tonya those are great recommendations.

I'm a believe in using the public library so hopefully I'll be able to find some of the titles there. Gail :)

Lynda said...

Oh no! Lots of scrumptious books! And since I already have several of them, and know they're 'my kind of thing', I can see an Amazon moment coming on!

Terry Border said...

Thanks for the mention!

Bargello Quilts said...

I have purchased several of these quilting resources for holiday gifts. My Mom is an avid quilter and these are great birthday and Christmas gifts...

Sharon said...

word play shipped today from Amazon, Dec 15. Just got my email notification.

Martha Tsihlas said...

Congratulations on your new book.
I had lost your site for a while and I saw your name through another site or FB. I don't remember.
Anyways, well done!!
I just remembered, MaryLou Wideman's blog, aha!

fan in SW FLA said...

Have been a fan of yours, and your cats, for many years. Especially your blogs when you were in
Egypt and packing for Paris. I wish I could quilt without a frame as you do. Congrats on your new book.

Jay said...

Tonya, Congratulations on your book! I see that it is finally available. It's listed in the weekly email newsletter that I just received from Best regards, Happy Stitches, and Happy Holidays! Jay

Anonymous said...

I went to the quilt shop in Columbus, OH and your book was sold out!!!! Hooray!!!!! Em's Mom

Diane said...

Just wanted to let you know the package arrived and is waiting for Christmas to be opened. My husband didn't even give me an opportunity to squish it before placing it well out of my reach. Can't wait!

I once took a workshop with Renie Adams. She was great, but I felt completely out of my element in a class filled not only with expert embroiderers but artists as well! It was fascinating to watch everyone else work.

Merry Christmas Tonya.

O'Quilts said...

Boy, you are right on the money!! I have many many of these books and love them all.

ROZ said...

Oh Tonya, I finally have my copy of your book and Word Play Quilts is absoutely outstanding!! Very well written and illustrated!