In our mid-twenties, Liz Porter and I earned our quilting chops by teaching beginning classes in Winterset, Iowa, where we had recently learned the basics ourselves through an Iowa State University Extension class. After writing a popular book on quilted vests, our teaching opportunities expanded to around the Midwest, then beyond. By teaching thousands of others, we honed the language of instruction and became better quilters—and teachers—ourselves.
Our first big professional break came in 1990 with the opportunity to write the basic reference book we wished we’d had when we were starting out. Oxmoor House, based in Birmingham, gave us an advance on royalties and three years to create the manuscript, which weighed thirteen pounds at birth.
Published in 1993, QUILTERS COMPLETE GUIDE was an instant hit. Over the ten years it was in print, it sold over half a million copies. Quilt shops around the country chained a copy to their checkout counter to use as an in-house reference book.
When Liz and I began teaching via public television in the mid-1990s, we drew content for our early episodes from the trusty QUILTERS COMPLETE GUIDE. In fact, we mailed a hard-cover copy to every public TV station programmer in the US along with information about the availability of our show. We think the book’s heft and beauty got our feet in the door.
When Dover Publications approached us over a year ago about republishing our classic text, we were delighted. With a new introduction and author page, QUILTERS COMPLETE GUIDE is as gorgeous—and essential—as ever. From setting up your machine for a perfect quarter-inch, to hand quilting, sashiko, Cathedral Window patchwork, layered appliqué, pattern drafting, storing and displaying quilts—it’s all there.
At 272 pages of full-color, step-by-step instruction, QCG remains the book every quilter needs. Amazingly, the softcover price is $25, only a few dollars more than in 1993. Ask for QUILTERS COMPLETE GUIDE at your local quilt shop, or purchase an autographed copy from the Iowa Quilt Museum, just across the square in Winterset from the ISU Extension Office where Liz and I got our start. The museum will ship it anywhere in the US for just $30.