Many of us modern quilters are learning to quilt in a time where there is a generational gap: our parents didn’t sew or quilt, and so we are having to teach ourselves the skills we want to learn. There are a huge variety of resources out there, from paid classes online to free youtube videos to a huge number of tutorials, but sometimes it can be hard to vet what you’re looking at.
Over the years, I have found that what I appreciate the most when it comes to skill-building tends to be from books, which I can add sticky notes to, and which I can have open to the page I want all the time. I also know that the process of getting a book requires a certain degree of scrutiny by the publisher, and then by the readers after. There are two really excellent series that I like quite a bit for in-depth quilting knowledge.
The first is Quilter’s Academy by Harriet Hargrave and Carrie Hargrave, a mother and daughter team. Harriet is a quilter with serious chops and she has shared her knowledge with her daughter. The books are set up to be like a college course: the first book is “Freshman Year” and the fifth year is a “Master’s Course”. Volume 1 begins with the basics (9 classes and 13 quilts) and subsequent volumes build on the skills from each prior book, culminating in designing your own medallion quilt. The information is incredibly thorough and provides skill-building patterns and detailed instructions to achieve as perfect a point as you want (if you want). While the quilts in the book are more traditional in style and color, the knowledge therein is excellent and not to be overlooked simply because of aesthetics.
If you’re already a quilter and feel mostly confident in your skills but are looking for specifics tips for improving on what you know, then you will probably like Quiltmaking Essentials 1: Cutting and Piecing Skills and Quiltmaking Essentials 2: Settings and Borders, Backings and Bindings by Donna Lynn Thomas. These books do not contain projects, but are instead broken up into chapters that cover some of the more significant details of techniques that can be applied to parts of the process. Rather than providing a start-to-finish description, it is possible to simply look up how to press fabric correctly, since it is a stand-alone item in the book.
I hope you pick these books up and check them out. My local library has them all, and they’ve been invaluable to me as a quilter, particularly when I ask myself the question, “Where do I go from here to learn more and grow?” Happy quilting!