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on December 30, 2002
I have wanted this book ever since i heard of its existance, because i can't even count how many times i've found myself in the position of trying to describe a quilt pattern that I *know* has a recognizable name that i just can't remember, or wanting to look up patterns by name for one reason or another (for example: "Hrm, i wonder if there are any quilt patterns with Tennessee in the name, something like a Tennessee Star...?")
It is pretty much exactly what i imagined it to be, a compendium of as many patterns as the author could track down (over 4000 total), sorted using a grouping system that makes it pretty easy to look up a pattern to find its name if you know what the block looks like but not what it's called. I imagine it would be a valuable resource for museum curators, quilt collectors, and quilt scholars, in terms of identifying antique quilts or writing about them, and also perhaps for instructors. If you are looking for actual patterns, you won't find them here; it does not provide templates or any piecing instructions. It is not a how-to book, but more of a reference book.
The patterns are depicted in small black-and-white drawings, so that several can fit on a page, and they are shaded to show how they are traditionally pieced using lights and darks, if applicable. Brackman lists each pattern and the name(s) by which it is known, along with the earliest known source mentioning the pattern by name. It's interesting to see how "old" some of the patterns we think of as "traditional" really are! (A lot that i thought went back a couple hundred years actually cropped up in the 1930s, according to this book!) The book covers up to as recent as the 1970s.
Another amusing note: The author, Barbara Brackman, is--no surprise--a serious quilt scholar, but was also involved in that "The Sun Sets on Sunbonnet Sue" project, with the quilt blocks depicting Sunbonnet Sue dying in horrible ways....
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on January 5, 2000
This book must have almost every quilt pattern known to man! I find it very helpful in identifying patterns - it would be a worthy addition to any quilt collector's library.
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on February 22, 2000
This book is definitely an encyclopedia. Very useful tool for practiced quilters to beginners. Every quilt pattern and lots of ideas, plus references upon references. A must have for your quilting reference library. One really needs to see to fully enjoy the power behind this book!
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on April 8, 1999
I found this encyclopdia to be an excellent reference guide for different quilt blocks. I was able to identify several antiques quilts that are variations of well known blocks. I recommend this book!
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on July 20, 2001
I have mixed feelings about this book. The collection of patterns is priceless if you're seeking a specific, obscure pattern difficult to find elsewhere. Unfortunately, however, nothing is shown in color (or with clearly delineated components), so I couldn't visualize how they'd look as quilts. I, myself, much prefer BH&G's _501 Quilt Blocks_, which shows each in color (gorgeous!), along with a block clearly showing each segment, and directions for assembling it. That one is so gorgeous (it just arrived) that I'm about to see if I can buy it in hardcover; it sparks my creativity whenever I look at it. If this (the Bannister book) had included color photos, I would be wildly enthusiastic about it -- but the tiny black and white blocks seem very uninspiring, with no hint how they might look good, tips toward assembling them, etc. I'm returning my copy; it just cost too much and takes up too much room for something this plebeian. However, if you're just seeking basic sketches of obscure old blocks, you'll adore this one -- which is obviously a million times more complete than the BH&G book I just raved about (or any other book I've ever heard of, for that matter).
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on May 31, 2000
This is probably the most used book in my quilting library, both for researching the names of patterns I've seen, and for inspiration for new quilts.
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on August 11, 2009
First - Kudos to Barbara Brackman for being a pioneer in quilt pattern indexing. However, this book should not be taken as a comprehensive, all-inclusive historical reference for quilt block names and dating.

In the introduction to the book, the author clearly states that she used 20th century magazines and articles for research with an emphasis on publications between 1920 and 1950. She admits to focusing on publications and pattern catalogs available in the midwest and omitted patterns and names that were not found in her midwest region. There appears to have been no attempt to search for actual quilts made before the 20th century or to research the origins of names beyond the period she was focused on.

On a technical side, the black & white patterns are hand drawn and difficult to see. Color notes on blocks are impossible to read without a magnifying glass. The index is Barbara's own and difficult to decipher even with the author's key.

If you are looking for "modern" names this is a great source. If you are looking for clear pattern pictures, see Maggie Malone's encyclopedia. For those (like myself) who are involved in historical research of pattern names - see museum catalogs instead.

I purchased this book after it was quoted in several articles regarding block dating. I was very disappointed at the limitations of the author's research and that so many articles refer to this book without regard to the focus stated by the author in the introduction - shame on you!
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on March 13, 2006
The title is honest: this truly is an encyclopedia. Taken by itself, this wonderful resource will seem dry, but you'll return to Ms. Brackman's book again and again. There is a brief introduction and an easily understood key to finding the blocks which follow (drawn in black & white). Don't look here for colorways tips or settings options, don't look for projects or how-to's - you won't find any. Instead, come here to browse, revisit old favorites and perhaps discover new and rediscover forgotten blocks. There is enough inspiration here for a bazillion quilts. Truly a treasure.
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on December 15, 2014
After looking through a great many books that had quilt block patterns, I was excited when I thought this would be an encyclopedia of quilt patterns. Unfortunately it's a book of block drawings. There are no "patterns" (other than what you could figure out yourself) and there are no pictures, just black and white drawings.
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on February 4, 2016
There are certainly better block encyclopedias out there. Perhaps I am not advanced enough to appreciate all the divisions of grids that I do not understand. Lots of blocks and one can never have too many ideas for blocks, but unless you find it at a steal, there are better ones that are in print at better prices.
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