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86 of 90 people found the following review helpful
on May 14, 1998
This is a book that completes a well planned study and demonstration of the impact regarding quilts in our American heritage.The overviews in each chapter are written in an easy to read yet highly intelligent fashion, with a fabulous array of photographs to document each junture of North America's quilting heritage. There are many fascinating paths of interest that take one off of the beaten path, and into other domains of history, spanning 200 years of society, tradition and data concerning work, love, and the pure romance of this subject.
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52 of 53 people found the following review helpful
The quilt, as a craft, is a well-explored area for authors. Quilting, you needn't be told, is enjoying a huge popularity with television shows, websites and shops for fabrics in almost every town. Even a friend of mine in a small village in the Black Forest of Germany quilts enthusiastically and wanted to visit American quilt shops on her first trip to the USA.

If you are a quilt lover, you can profit by reading author Kiracofe's examination of quilts, from a study of fabrics and dyes, to the change in pattern popularity over time. For example, postage-stamp quilts, or quilts made of the tiniest squares, were in vogue as a sort of stunt or show of skill.

African American quilts are an important part of quilt history and have unique and very characteristic design as well as marking the course of history from slavery to freedom. The Baltimore area, near where I live, is known for a style of applique quilt that bears the name of the city. I myself own a quilt from Kentucky that I now believe dates to the 1930's; I was able to research more about the type of print used in the fabric by reading this book.

This book is beautifully photographed and rich in historical detail. If you know a quilter or if you are a quilt enthusiast yourself, this volume will not only delight but prove useful in research and education.
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39 of 39 people found the following review helpful
on July 7, 2004
This book was given to me as a gift. How fortunate that I had such a friend! The most beautiful quilt book, the best selection of quilts, the best range, the best details, the best photography, the best printing, and comprehensive scholarship text to boot (I just can't get past the pictures). Includes some familiar quilts, but also many, many, many wonderful ones not seen elsewhere. I have a wall of 25 years of well-loved quilt books and I rate this at the top. Splendid. Exquisite. Be so fortunate.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on June 4, 2007
As a history buff, Civil War reenactor, and (very) beginning quilter, I wanted a basic reference book to help me learn about quilting styles and techniques from the Colonial through Victorian periods. This book provides that information and much more. In simple yet evocative language the authors lead us through the development of American quilting and discuss how social, economic, and political circumstances affected how quilts were designed and constructed over the years.

This book is a fascinating glimpse into the past, tracing the evolution of our country through the stitches of quilting. The supplies and tools that were available at any given time, together with the imagination and ingenuity of women at each point in history, resulted in the emergence of new techniques and designs. It's amazing to page through this book and see how something as seemingly simple as a quilt block takes on a whole new meaning in the context of its time. For example, in the 1840s, a time of migration to the West: "As family and friends were uprooted and separated from one another, a great many women carried quilts composed of blocks with precious messages from those left behind, whom they would likely never see again."

Chapters include:

Fabrics - fiber production; weaving and dyeing; fabric printing; fabric designers

1750-1825 Preindustrial America - how the settling of the colonies related to trade and in particular the production of fabric; seaports; the role of women in the New World; quilt styles of the period including whole-cloth, medallion, and mosaic piecework

1825-1850 Rise of the Cult of Domesticity - how social and economic changes were reflected in the fabric arts; women working in the mills; friendship and album quilts

1850-1875 A Tranquil Nation is Ripped Apart - reform movements; effects of the Civil War; children's and dolls' quilts; new block designs; indigo and white designs; influence of the sewing machine

1875-1900 The Grand Epoch - prosperity in the centennial period; effect of availability of education; crazy quilts; log cabin quilts; decorative styles shown at the Centennial Exposition of 1876; Hawaiian quilts; mourning quilts; fundraising quilts

1900-1950 A New Century of Quiltmaking Begins - influences of the World Wars, Depression, and the New Deal; small piece "competitive" quilts; fairs and exhibitions; African-American women's quilting; Amish quilting; flour and feed sack quilting; 20th century quilting personalities

Additional resources include tips on dating and investigating antique quilts, how to conserve and maintain antique quilts, where to view antique quilts, and more.

'The American Quilt' has hundreds of beautiful color plates of quilts, quilt blocks, and textiles. This is a lovely and engrossing book for anyone interested in American history or women's history, as well as in quilting and other fabric arts. Highly recommended.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on October 18, 2001
If I could own only one book on the quilting history of United States this would be it. Yes, it costs more, but it is worth every penny. The quintissential source of American quilt history. Ask for this one for Christmas.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on May 7, 2010
I LOVE this book. I've read every single word--studied every picture. It's been fascinating matching the history of American women to the evolution of the various styles of fabrics and quilts. I have a large collection of rather shabby but beloved quilts that span 170 years. After reading this book, I finally feel that I could arrange them all in a timeline format. I have little post-its sticking out from all edges of my book so I can continue to use it as a reference. If you have a passion for older quilts and an interest in understanding their importance you will enjoy reading this big, heavy book. If you're not a reader, the photographs alone will suffice.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
This book expands on the history of the quilt with other interesting events in the era. If you like quilting and history you will enjoy this book.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on May 26, 2007
The benchmark of quilt book histories. Anyone interested in the history of quilting in America should include this book in their library. The photographs are striking and the accompanying explanations add to the reader's knowledge of the quilter's stories. The author's have given the quilter a priceless resource to which I refer often.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on April 28, 2008
I love this book, having received it last week. I read it cover to cover by the second day it arrived. I have already picked it up again to research a specific quilt type. A wealth of information and wonderful color photographs of numerous quilts. I recommend this book highly for those of you who are looking for inspiration, as there are no patterns. All in all, quality reference material.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on November 29, 2007
I'm very picky when I purchase books because I want them to be worthy of my time, money, and shelf space. This book fits all of my needs! It contains excellent information about the history & culture of quilts and has fabulous photographs. It's 264 pages have a welcome spot on my shelf.
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