The book that inspired me on my quilting journey the most is Cynthia Martin's "Machine Quilting Primer" through Quilt in a Day publishing (1996).
I grew up in a family of hand quilters and we traditionally give quilts for every wedding and for every new baby born into the family. When I married in 2000, I decided to continue the tradition--not fully realizing how monumental that task would be--my spouse has 8 siblings and I have 3 siblings, each with 2 to 5 kids per family. In short, the babies just kept on coming and I desperately had to find a new way to quilt--hand quilting was simply not fast enough to keep up with the demand. In 2003, I found the "Machine Quilting Primer", followed its tutorials and learned to quilt on my home sewing machine. The tutorials in the book enabled me to keep on giving away gift quilts. Eventually, we had four children of our own and I couldn't keep up with all of the quilt basting and sit-down quilting so my husband let me purchase a quilting machine in 2009. I was so grateful for this book--yet again. Even though it was for short-arm quilting, its techniques and the life's lessons learned from practicing tensioning and other common machine quilting ailments helped shorten the long-arm quilting learning curve. Although it is an older publication, I would still recommend it to anyone new to machine quilting.
Once I "conquered" the tutorials in this book, I continued my study with two books by Harriet Hargrave--"Heirloom Machine Quilting" (which I consider to be an intermediate level short-arm machine quilting book) and "Mastering Machine Applique"--both from C&T Publishing 2001 & 2004. These two books taught me the techniques to realize my quilting dreams.
My favorite quilt pattern book is currently Michelle Blackhurst's "Floral Quilts From Grandma's Cupboard", Leisure Arts Publishing 2003. I've made a lot of quilts from this book in my own colorways while adding and altering the borders. It has adorable applique designs. Here is a photo of the quilt on my daughter's bed, made from this book.
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