Top positive review
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Phenomenal reference book for quilters and historians
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."
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.