Non-Fiction Book Reviews

Book Review: American Quilts in the Modern Age

By Sandy Amazeen Apr 23, 2009, 6:35 GMT

Book Review: American Quilts in the Modern Age

Pulitzer Prize‚Äďwinning historian Laurel Thatcher Ulrich has remarked,¬†‚ÄúMuch of the social history of early America has been lost to us precisely because women were expected to use needles rather than pens.‚ÄĚ This book, part of the multivolume series of the International Quilt Study Center collections, recovers a swath of that lost history and shows us some of America‚Äôs treasured material culture as it was pieced and stitched into place. ¬†American ...more

Selected from the International Quilt Study Center & Museumís extensive collection of over 2,300 quilts and growing, this stunning first volume focuses on pieces made in the United States between 1870 and 1940. Seven chapters examine block, log cabin, colonial revival, kits, one of a kind and crazy quilts with future volumes slated to cover Amish, African American to name a few. More then just a beautiful, full color representation of the quilt makerís art, this absorbing work includes a wealth of historic and technical information while revealing a great deal about the socioeconomics of the time.

Visiting scholars and knowledgeable Center staff have contributed their expertise to identifying the diverse styles and construction details including in-depth fiber and fabric analysis, dyestuffs, printing techniques, embellishment considerations and so much more. Particularly helpful to those looking to reproduce the look and feel of vintage quilts are the many close-up photos, full dimensions and often, the all important stitch counts, plus the number and sizes of pieces used. Yet for all the technical information, this is no dry dissertation. Where possible, illuminating details of the artists are included; a rarity when dealing with vintage quilts and invaluable when trying to get a feel for what inspired them. This is certain to become a valued addition to the quilterís or textile historianís reference library.

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