Top positive review
41 people found this helpful
Exactly what I was looking for!
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....