Border and Medallion Books

I love quilting books.

A couple of days ago I blogged about buying books. One of the things I mentioned was the idea of creating a written inventory of my personal library, seen in the photo. Done!

I used an Excel spreadsheet to record the title, author, and publication date for each. I also noted the category of the book. Categories include History, Patterns, Machine Quilting, etc. To preserve the list, I uploaded it using Google Docs.

The listing gives me a record for insurance purposes. Also I can easily check before buying something new! (Not that I would ever buy the same book twice…)

Some are pattern books, though I rarely buy those anymore. Others discuss techniques for piecing, applique, embellishment, and quilting. Still more provide research on quilt and fabric history.

I’m also on my local guild’s library committee, so I get to inventory more than 300 volumes each year, cull old ones, and order new! On top of that, my local public libraries carry an impressive selection, though not as large as my guild’s. Between the four collections, I have access to a lot of books, new and old.

Lately I’ve been immersed in medallion quilts and border treatments. There’s so much variation in how different authors present their take on the subjects! Some provide patterns with little discussion of process. Others get into the guts of technical piecing, sharing each sixteenth inch for accuracy. And some give us great eye candy and perhaps some historical context. My quilt history books are especially good at this.

For those interested in medallion quilts, whether made by yourself or in a round robin, I wanted to give short reviews of a few I use.

Borders, Bindings & Edges by Sally Collins
This book (from my public library) presents the outer parts of the quilt as equal in importance to the center. Whether you’re making a medallion or other format quilt, Collins provides great ideas for finishing. Borders receive the majority of attention, but bindings, piping, prairie points, and other edge treatments all are discussed.

I like this book because she provides technical discussion of how and why different strategies work. Some quilters may find the math intimidating, but it is presented clearly for those of us who just need some brush-up. I might purchase it in the near future to add to my own library.

Beautiful Borders, Backings & Bindings by Jill Reber and Margaret Sindelar
Again borders receive the majority of discussion here. There is a great gallery of ideas and a large section of projects. Though the treatment is much more simplistic than in Collin’s book, there are great tips and lots of photos and helpful drawings throughout. I own this one and use it as a resource regularly.

The Border Workbook by Janet Kime
This is new in my personal library. I bought it because it gives specific instruction on more than two dozen borders. There’s a little bit of information on problem solving and some technique/math help. Mostly though, it’s just borders. I like the book though I haven’t used it to develop any particular project yet. One minor weakness is the border blocks and treatments are given as specific sizes, so it may be hard for some to translate those to their own needs.

Round Robin Renaissance by M’liss Rae Hawley
As the title says, the focus here is on round robin (group) projects more generally, rather than on medallion quilts or their borders. The section on medallions is small and provides one pattern with very specific sizing for elements, though she does provide some variations. I own the book, as I have interest in round robins as well. But I won’t find it very useful for more general medallion designs.

Classic English Medallion Style Quilts by Bettina Havig
Published in 2003, this book shows traditional styling. The author asserts you can make an authentic English-style quilt using a center block and borders that alternately are pieced and wholecloth. There are ten types of border block units with instruction. In addition, Havig gives patterns to accomplish her own designs, and a section on designing your own variations based on them. I find the charts very confusing, though, and will use this book more for ideas than instruction.

Liberated Medallion Quilts by Gwen Marston
Marston is best known for her exuberant, “liberated” style. With its wonky, non-standard styling, liberated piecing gives plenty for the eye to enjoy. In this book she extends that styling to the traditional medallion format, and provides plenty of evidence for the notion that liberated IS traditional. The quilts in this book are playful and unique, a treat to look at.

In text Marston argues for design-as-you-go, but she doesn’t support that with strategies the reader might use to design their own quilts. In addition, though I love many of these quilts, the liberated style is not how I like to work. So I use this beautiful book for inspiration if not instruction.

Do you have any of these books? What do you think of them? What are your favorite border or medallion quilt books?

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