Top Ten Modern Quilting Books

Top 10 Modern Quilting Books |

Are you interested in learning more about modern quilts? Here at Suzy Quilts, all you have to do is look at our pattern catalog to know how much we love modern quilting! If you love Suzy's patterns and want to grow even more, this list is for you. From improv piecing to quilting, you can learn how to hone your own modern style with our list of the top ten modern quilting books.

These books were selected for their beautiful design, easy to follow instructions, and approachable techniques. Some of the authors are people our team knows and loves! And our goal was to find the best recently-published books. But it's also important to note that quilt books are not published forever. That means that while there may be some beloved classics missing from this, it doesn't mean those books aren't excellent! It just means that those books are hard to find. The best way to find out of print modern quilting books is to ask your local librarian.

So keep reading...and then get a new book and read some more! 

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What Is Modern Quilting?

The Modern Quilt Guild — a non-profit organization that connects modern quilters at the local, national, and international levels — has identified some common design elements shared in modern quilts like bold colors, high contrast, improvisational piecing, minimalism, maximalism, significant negative space, alternate gridwork, and modern traditionalism. Quilts do not need to have each of these elements, nor do these design elements limit what quilters can do.

If you're feeling curious, inspired, or some combination of the two, check out our favorite modern quilting books below!

Top Ten Modern Quilting Books: Cover of the book Modern Quilting. #quilting #sewingdiy

From the back of the book: 

"In Modern Quilting discover the versatility, comfort and style that a beautifully designed quilt can bring to your home.

Long seen as a traditional craft-form, contemporary textiles designer, Julius Arthur, guides you through the basic construction, patchwork and appliqué techniques of quilt-making, before showcasing 20 stylish hand-stitched projects perfectly suited for modern living.

From a large-scale heirloom quilt, to a fashionable cross-body pouch, each project is minimal in design but with thoughtful details, making it ideal for first-time crafters. Complete with stunning lifestyle photography and clear instructions throughout, Modern Quilting will make you fall in love with this age-old craft and give you a new-found appreciation for textiles."

Top Ten Modern Quilting Books: Cover of the book Improv Quilting. #quilting #sewingdiy

From the back of the book: 

"An original and unique process for designing and constructing improvisational quilts developed by Irene Roderick.

This book appeals to beginning and advanced quilters who are looking for a new creative and artistic method of quilt design and construction. A handbook for quilters who want to expand their skills and make unique, personal expressions instead of following traditional quilt methods.

The author's approach is fluid and intuitive, inviting you to tap into your imagination and ingenuity in order to create one-of-a-kind quilts in your own creative voice. The book provides instructions for design and construction accompanied by tips and tools to enable you to work freely without preconceived ideas of where the process leads. She will ask you to learn to trust your personal experiences and instincts so that you can develop your own personal style."

Top Ten Modern Quilting Books: Cover of the book Improv Paper Piecing. #quilting #sewingdiy

From the back of the book: 

"Love to create repeating blocks in your quilts but tired of the same patterns? Step away from the ordinary and try your hand at a new technique-based approach to improvisation. Gorgeous photographs illustrate 10 beautiful projects where Amy Friend seamlessly bridges the gap between improvised design and technical execution.

Discover a unique approach to creating one-of-a-kind blocks with guided exercises that explore scale, symmetry and alternate gridwork. Then, with Amy's help, you'll have the opportunity to design your own patterns. You really can have a dash of the unexpected through improv with the precision of paper piecing and still create those secondary patterns we all love in quilts made using traditional blocks.

With a modern spin, Improv Paper Piecing gracefully guides the reader, step-by-step, through improvisationally designing your own paper piecing patterns to strategically setting the grid---so that the end result is a masterful, unique quilt of repeated blocks. If you're looking for a fun exciting challenge, the party is here. Step over and stitch outside the box."

Top Ten Modern Quilting Books: Cover of the book Simple Geometric Quilting. #quilting #sewingdiy

From the back of the book: 

"Bold Shapes and Clean Lines for Faster Modern Quilting.

Breathe some fresh air into your quilts with 20 stunning contemporary projects from designer Laura Preston. Using simple shapes and solid colors, Laura’s method streamlines the traditional quilting process for beautiful quilts in less time. Quilt tops come together quickly with large-scale cuts of fabric and as little piecing as possible, making these projects perfect for beginners.

Advanced quilters can delve into modern techniques such as creating curved lines and working with negative space rather than intricate quilting blocks. From chic wall hangings to cozy crib-size and queen-size quilts, every project doubles as a work of art.

Fueled by her minimalist lifestyle traveling the United States in her Airstream trailer, Laura’s designs reflect the striking landscapes of the American West. The Arches Queen Quilt showcases the dramatic curves found in Arches National Park in Utah. The Lone Pine Pillow, with its range of triangles, was inspired by the Sierra Nevada mountains, and the Sand Dollar Table Runner was sparked by a beach in Big Sur, California. Follow Laura’s insightful design tips, and soon you’ll start to see inspiration everywhere. With illustrated step-by-step instructions and in-depth tutorials, this book is an essential resource for the modern quilter."

Top Ten Modern Quilting Books: Cover of the book WALK: Master Machine Quilting with Your Walking Foot. #quilting #sewingdiy

From the back of the book: 

"In Walk, quilt teacher Jacquie Gering shares a comprehensive set of walking foot quilting basics that provides a solid foundation for quilting with ease, quality, and creativity.

Free motion not for you? How about some 'forward motion' quilting with the walking foot? It’s time to get that walking foot out of the ditch, take it for a drive, and see what that baby can really do! Jacquie Gering will be your guide as you work your way from walking foot basics to intricate marked designs as you master machine quilting with your walking foot.

Gering guides you through a series of test drives with your walking foot, allowing you to get acquainted with its features and set yourself up for success with your foot and your machine. Then you’ll learn how to prepare and mark the quilt, prevent puckers while quilting, and manage large projects. She teaches over 40 walking foot–friendly designs including channel quilting, matchstick quilting, and quilting with decorative stitches.

Thought that your walking foot could only be used for straight line quilting? Learn to use the walking foot with traditional designs including cables, clamshells, and orange peels, or finish your quilt with intricate point-to-point designs like the boomerang and nested diamonds. Quilt innovative, radiating designs. Learn to spiral and quilt concentric designs or use your newly developed skills to quilt unique designs with reserve. You too can achieve the textures shared in Gering’s vibrant, graphic quilts.

With a toolbox of simple to complex designs, you’ll have the options you need to quilt on your home machine with designs that will support your piecing and create a harmonious marriage of piecing and quilting. With a walking foot, you’ll find a level of control and success you never thought possible and you’ll become as excited about the quilting as you are about your piecing."

Top Ten Modern Quilting Books: Cover of the book Quilt Alchemy. #quilting #sewingdiy

From the back of the book: 

"Artist and quiltmaker Sara Larson Buscaglia invites readers to her Colorado farm to learn the secrets—and beauty—of making natural dyes from foraged plants and stitching natural-fiber quilts by hand.

Learn to make naturally dyed quilts by hand with Farm & Folk founder Sara Larson Buscaglia’s beautiful aesthetic, informed by the extraordinary landscape surrounding her farm. Her creative practice centers on simplicity, working with nature, and using naturally derived materials and processes—and she is sharing that practice for the first time in this book.

Farm & Folk Quilt Alchemy explores natural dyeing methods and details the process of creating a quilt from scratch. With an emphasis on the slow and intentional aspects of hand stitching, Buscaglia’s quilts are artful and satisfying to create. By focusing on select dye plants and recipes, which are all ideal for cotton and linen specifically, Buscaglia teaches the reader how to achieve consistent and beautiful results using traditional handwork techniques.

Features 20 Color Formulas to Create 10 Projects, Including 7 Full-Size Quilt Patterns."

Top Ten Modern Quilting Books: Cover of the book Inheritance: Minimal Quilts for the Modern Home. #quilting #sewingdiy

From the back of the book: 

"As a young woman, Riane learned the joy and craft of quiltmaking from her grandmother. Together they stepped into the tradition as so many women before them had done, learning from each other and continuing the art of quilting. Featuring over a dozen modern and minimal designs, Inheritance: Minimal Quilts for the Modern Home brings quilting into the 21st century with quilt patterns and sewing techniques for all skill levels."

Top Ten Modern Quilting Books: Cover of the book Modern Memory Quilts. #quilting #sewingdiy

From the back of the book: 

"Learn to incorporate bits of treasured clothing into heirloom quilts without sacrificing your modern aesthetic. Weave memories together forever with 12 quilt projects that are as meaningful as they are stylish! Modern heirloom quilter Suzanne Paquette shares the emotional, creative, and technical aspects of memory quilting through colorful storytelling and photography. Practical projects will help you celebrate love, provide comfort, and honor your family's heritage."

Top Ten Modern Quilting Books: Cover of the book Modern Landscape Quilts. #quilting #sewingdiy

From the back of the book: 

"Sew bold, modern landscape quilts inspired by wide open spaces with this collection of patterns for every quilter.

'I can’t believe how much good information is packed into one book! Donna includes more than just beautiful projects, she answers technique, fabric, and color theory questions you didn’t even know you had. The unique quilt designs make Donna’s passion for nature come alive!' – Suzy Williams, founder of Suzy Quilts

Modern Landscape Quilts takes you on a journey with 14 original scenic projects inspired by the great outdoors. From the mountains to the beach, each easy-to-piece pictorial landscape design features a mini companion project for an even faster make.

Illustrated step-by-step instructions and skill-building patchwork piecing methods, along with a detailed guide on how to construct a quilt from start to finish, make it a perfect all-in-one reference book for confident beginners and beyond.

This book features:

  • Seven minimalist landscape themes with two designs each for a total of 14 quilt projects. 
  • Clear and concise instructions to piece, sew and trim fundamental quilt blocks.
  • Dedicated chapters explaining how to quilt by machine or by hand.
  • Tips for efficient sewing as well as simple tricks to avoid common patchwork piecing issues.
  • Easy-to-follow instructions to create a wall hanging or pillow cover.

The opening section includes a quick and comprehensive guide on understanding fabrics, choosing colors, and preparing fabrics for accurate cutting. Plus, bonus tips are provided to adapt some of the quilt patterns into other usable works of art. Machine quilting, along with in-depth tutorials on hand quilting and binding, allow makers to choose their destination on how to complete the projects in this book.

Quilt designer and author, Donna McLeod, provides a versatile selection of time-conscious projects inspired by the diverse landscapes of California. Travel from the river to the woodlands in comfort at the flip of a page. Lots of the photography was done in the locations that inspired some of the designs in the book, inviting you to take photographs of your own Modern Landscape Quilts in the wild."

Top Ten Modern Quilting Books: Cover of the book Urban Quilting. #quilting #sewingdiy

From the back of the book: 

"Perfect for beginners, this quilting book features simple illustrations and easy-to-follow steps that teach you how to make up to 30 beautiful quilts in a short amount of time!

A comprehensive guide for both first-time quilters and those looking for a refresher course, Urban Quilting teaches you everything you need to know about this timeless craft. Each pattern contains instructions for three different quilt sizes, with designs that feature bold colors and geometric shapes that will stand out and look stunning in your home.

Urban Quilting includes:

  • 10 quilt designs, each with patterns for 3 sizes, for making up to 30 quilts.
  • Beginner-friendly content, including everything you need to know to get started.
  • Detailed instructions with clear diagrams so you can learn quickly and easily.
  • Insightful information on the history of quilting and how today's quilters are modernizing the craft."

What's Your Favorite of these Modern Quilting Books?

Do you love a book that's not on this list? Maybe an older, classic modern quilting book that is no longer being published? Let us know in the comments! Maybe we can get this list long enough to become the top 100 modern quilting books 🙂 

Top 10 Modern Quilting Books |

8 thoughts on “Top Ten Modern Quilting Books

  1. Liz says:

    Hi Suzy, thanks for your inspiring blog – in the last picture, what is the third book titled (it is opened, so I cannot identify the title, and I am interested in making especially this quilt on the page seen).
    Best, Liz

  2. Denise Nash says:

    Quilting Modern by Jacque Gering and Katie Pedersen is a modern classic! It should be on every quilter’s nightstand or beside their design wall to inspire and teach.

    • Laura Hopper says:

      Hi Delores! You can click on the title of any book in this post to be taken to Amazon where the books can be purchased. Enjoy reading them!

  3. Deborah McColloch says:

    It all starts with Gwen Marsden’s classic “Liberated Quilting.” (Now out of print and hard to find). When I discovered Gwen Marsden over 30 years ago, I had an epiphany and never looked back. All my quilts are some sort of improv! For folks new to improv quilting, I recommend Quilt Improv by Lucie Summers. She lays out techniques for making improv blocks that are easy for people making the leap to improv. My current go-to book is Inspiring Improv by Nicholas Ball. He is truly inspiring!

    • Laura Hopper says:

      I wish that book was easier to find now a days! A local library can be a good place to start. It’s definitely a classic!

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