Learn How to Quilt

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Learn How to Quilt

Quilting is a form of sewing that involves joining three layers of fabric together to make a three-dimensional padded surface. This form of fiber art is used in a variety of ways, ranging from carefully pieced bedspreads to humble pot holders. If you’ve never quilted before, DC Public Library has a wide collection of informational books on quilting to help novices get started on their very first quilt.

Walk: Master Machine Quilting with Your Walking Foot by Jacquie Gering
One of the most common methods to finish a quilt is to use a long-arm quilting machine, or mail it to a quilting shop that advertises such services. However, this method can be inaccessible to those who do not live near a quilt shop or have access to such machinery. Jacquie Gering's book “walks” beginner and veteran quilters alike through finishing your quilt on a domestic sewing machine with the humble walking foot. The walking foot is a sewing foot that keeps fabric evenly fed through the sewing machine so that it doesn't pucker or warp. This foot is usually used to stitch in between quilt blocks. Gering’s book is packed with information on how to use this foot to the best of its abilities without needing to send out your pieced quilt top to a professional quilting service. In addition to covering how to use a walking foot and tips to prevent your fabric from puckering, Gering details various artistic techniques using the foot, such as matchstick quilting, channel quilting, and clamshell curves.

All Things Quilting: From First Step to Last Stitch by Alex Anderson
Quilting is often seen as an intimidating and complicated art, even for advanced sewists. Alex Anderson takes away a lot of that intimidation with a comprehensive guide that serves as a great starting point and a handy, reliable reference. Anderson begins with explaining the anatomy of a quilt and provides suggestions on how to create a productive workspace for quilting, various tools and notions, and how to shop and care for a sewing machine. They also detail color theory, value, visual texture, and what to look for in terms of fabric quality. The book is divided into bite-sized sections so that you can study a little bit at a time, and build up on your foundational skills before diving into the more complicated aspects of quilt making, such as paper piecing, Y-seams, and applique borders. At the end of the book, Anderson covers techniques for hand quilting, machine quilting, and innovative types of binding a quilt such as scalloped edges and prairie points, which are overlapped triangles made from folded fabric at the edge of a quilt to add dimension and detail.

Oh Scrap! : Fabulous Quilts That Make the Most of Your Stash by Lissa Alexander
Sewing anything typically produces bits and pieces of leftover fabric that are too small to do much of anything with. Lissa Alexander finds numerous ways to make use of the tiniest scrap to make an array of stunning quilts. As this book is geared towards people familiar with quilting terminology, Alexander doesn’t address basic quilting techniques or finishing. Instead, Alexander’s book provides tips on fabric coordination and making a “scrap stash,” in addition to twelve projects.

Free-Motion Quilting 101: Techniques and Patterns for Beginners by Ashley Nickels
Free-motion quilting is a finishing technique that involves sewing designs in a freehand style, ranging from simple allover meandering to elaborate feathers. In Free-Motion Quilting 101, Nickels provides step-by-step instructions on how to create numerous patterns using a free-motion foot (also known as a darning foot). The book is divided into three sections: the first introducing designs and focusing on drawing exercises to develop skill, the second featuring small projects to reinforce the newly learned skills, and the third on how to add finishing touches such as binding to your quilt.

Quilter’s Complete Guide by Marianne Fons and Liz Porter
Perfect for beginning and advanced sewists alike, this comprehensive manual is separated into two sections: a “primer” for beginners and a section that goes beyond basic quilting. The first chapters introduce the reader to the art of quilting, basic hand and machine sewing techniques, and a list of quilting supplies helpful to begin with. The authors then lead the reader step by step on how to make traditional patchwork blocks, while reinforcing foundational knowledge such as how to maintain sharp points, maintaining an accurate ¼” seam, and arranging your cutting layout to make the most of your fabric. This is followed by instructions on how to draft patchwork blocks, sewing basic borders, hand/machine quilting methods, and quilt binding. The latter half of the book details more advanced techniques such as shadow applique, pieced borders, and sashiko. At the very end, Fons and Porter briefly discuss quilt exhibitions, laundering, and quilt display methods. This book is great for someone who wants to begin quilting and only use only one book as reference.