Eleanor Levie reveals wonderful tidbits and secrets through quotes, facts and interviews with quilters we all know and appreciate, who are pioneers in the revolution that began in the second half of the 20th century. For instance, Penny McMorris talks about the first time with her TV show audience when she was trying to teach them to use the Electric Quilt software program her husband invented. She had no idea how it worked. From under the desk, out of view of the cameras, sat her husband and together they were able to make it look like she did. The story is delightful. It is anecdotes like these that make this book really special and intimate for the reader. Eleanor taps into designer fabrics and trends as they appeared on the market -- reproduction fabrics, plaids, African prints, hand dyes -- telling us who, when, what, and sometimes the why. This is a fun chapter down memory lane, or was it a walk through my stash? She takes a similar stroll through quilt styles, devoting a chapter each to patchwork, appliqué, and quilting. Not too long ago, my List Serve quilt friends were trying to recall who started or invented the rotary cutter in quiltmaking. This book gives every detail. After reading about it, I don't think I have ever heard the whole story . Here is a hint: it was invented to cut many layers of fabric for kimonos in Japan, and Marti Mitchell wasn't just making templates! Now how about the first wide ruler? I found the book to be full of truly interesting and sometimes astounding information right from the start. Although Eleanor tells the reader in the Introduction that this book can be read in any order they prefer, I chose to start with Chapter One, what I would describe as the social history of the last 25 years of expansion. On the first page, we learn that Irene Preston Miller and her willing, albeit bewildered friends, made an appliquéd pictorial quilt that raised $23,100 through an auction to raise funds to clean the Hudson River. That is a great deal of money for a group quilt to bring in, even in today's quilt market, and this happened in 1972. This quilt is now in the collection of the American Folk Art Museum in NYC. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. I learned a lot and laughed many times. From start to finish, I related. I highly recommend you read this book and keep it on your shelf for reference. It will likely be a college textbook soon, as there is no other book like it. My sense is that it will be reprinted for decades to come.-- --Kimberly Wulfert, PhD
Eleanor: Your book was waiting for me when I returned from a trip and I've now read, and thoroughly enjoyed the trip thru memory land. You did a masterful job of encapsulating a complicated subject. I'm honored to be included in the diverse cast of characters. Thanks for the book and the return of the slides. --Dixie Haywood --Dixie Haywood
About the Author
Since her early childhood in Baltimore, Maryland, Eleanor Levie has enjoyed many diverse forms of sewing, weaving, and stitchery. In the 1970s, after five years as a secondary English teacher in urban public schools, she combined her hobbies and instructional career to become a needlework and craft editor. Her first job for Woman's Day special interest magazines was followed by senior positions at McCall's Needlework & Crafts, Woman's World, and Country Accents. Early in the 1980s, Eleanor made her first quilt for the bed of the first home she and her husband shared. She quickly confesses it was the first, and possibly the last, full-sized quilt she will ever make, though she works on small quilt projects whenever she gets the chance. Eleanor authored Great Little Quilts, Creations in Miniature, coauthored Country Living's Country Quilts, and produced eight volumes of the Rodale's Successful Quilting Library series. In addition, she has edited dozens of quilt books and needlework magazines, writing copy and directions, and styling the photography. Since 2002, she has shared her passion for quilts, both yesteryear's classics and today's innovative masterpieces, as a lecturer for guilds and study groups. Her patchwork career also includes leading diverse craft and embellishing workshops- some for quilters, others for kids. She lives with her husband in Center City Philadelphia.