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Archive for the ‘Quilt History’ Category

Book Review: Urban and Amish

Sunday, February 8th, 2015

Urban Armish book

Urban and Amish: Classic Quilts and Modern Updates
Myra Harder
That Patchwork Place; $24.99


Amish quilts have stood the test of time, looking both contemporary and traditional at the same time. In this book, Myra Harder has taken Amish designs, which she knew as a child living for a few years in Lancaster County, Pa., and used them as a jumping off point for what she terms urban quilts with their bold fabrics. The urban quilts are not just reproductions of the Amish quilts in today’s fabrics. They have their own style. She includes eight Amish quilts and their eight counterparts with patterns for all. It was fun to see how the Pineapple block became her Chinese Lanterns or how the strong Amish Bars became pieced Horizontal Lines. You can either recreate Myra’s designs or set off on your own modern interpretation.


Look for this book at your favorite quilt or book retailer. Here’s a link to Amazon if you would like to learn more about the book.



Book Review: Away From Home

Sunday, July 28th, 2013

Away From Home

Away From Home
Nancy and Oliver Rink
Kansas City Star Books; $25.95

Subtitled Quilts Inspired by the Lowell Factory Girls, this book features a sampler quilt with an appliqued center along with nine pieced and applique blocks. An additional eight projects are included. The basis for the book is the The Mills Girls 1830-1850 fabric collection from Marcus Brothers and Judie Rothermel in conjunction with Lowell’s American Textile Museum. What I found most interesting was the story of the New England textile mills and the women, or “mill girls” who worked there.

Look for the book at your favorite book retailer. Here’s a link to if you would like to learn more about the book.

What’s Your Why?

Wednesday, March 20th, 2013

photo[1]Saturday was Worldwide Quilting Day. Of course, quilters knew all along it was bigger than a national celebration, so it was nice to share with the rest of the world. The celebration got me thinking about my own quilt beginnings and why I ended up creating a business from what I love. I could actually write a lot about this, but I’ll try to be brief. After all, you’re running a business and need to focus on that!

I did not come from a tradition of quilting, and only after I began quilting did a couple of quilts find their way into my home. I did come from a tradition of sewing and art. My great-great grandmothers were professional seamstresses, and family lore has me threading their needles at the age of three. My mother was a professional watercolorist and taught the subject. So I can see my background was filled with thread and color.

After starting with sewing (and selling) Barbie clothes as a youngster, progressing through my own personal sewing and multitude of arts and crafts (knitting, crochet, embroidery, painting), I happened on a quilt show in the fall of 1976 at Queens College in Charlotte, NC. That was all it took for me to ask about classes. As I often share, I had the sewing machine and all those scraps so it couldn’t be a costly hobby.

Fast forward just a couple of years and I wanted to share my new found love of quilting and I began teaching at the local adult ed program. At that point, my accountant suggested I form a business and I did. As I look back over the past 30 plus – yikes – years, I went from teaching to creating patterns to selling my work at arts and craft shows to working in a cooperative to taking commissions. They were all ways for me to express my own creativity and share it with others.

Back in 1994, my business took a turn and I began to work with more creative entrepreneurs who wanted to know how they, too, could create a business from their passion at quilting. That was the beginning of my tenure as editor and publisher of The Professional Quilter. That led eventually to the International Association of Professional Quilters. As I look back, it’s always been about providing information for growth as creative entrepreneurs.

So why do you quilt? I quilt because I love thread and color and creating. It’s fills a deep need in me. Why do you have a quilt business? I have one because I want to empower women (OK, and cool men) who have a passion for creating and sharing that with others to craft a profitable business for themselves from that passion. It’s also about creating a legacy so that Worldwide Quilting Day continues well past the time we all celebrated it.

Please share your thoughts on your “why” below.

Book Review: Quilting, Frolicks, and Bees

Sunday, March 17th, 2013

Quiltings, Frolicks and Bees

Quiltings, Frolicks, and Bees: 100 Years of Signature Quilts
by Sue Reich
Schiffer Publishing; $29.95

Is there a quilter around who hasn’t added her name to a signature quilt? I know I’ve signed several over the years, and I created a basket quilt for my grandmother’s 90th birthday with blocks signed by her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. What I like best about the process is that it involves non-quilters. Sue Reich takes a look at 100 years of signature quilts from the late 18th through early 19th centuries. Much of the text comes from actual newspaper articles documenting gatherings of quilters to quilt, or “frolick.” The book includes numerous photos of quilts with family, patriotic, community, charitable and religious themes. I enjoyed the newspaper accounts, e.g., the “clever scheme for raising money to pay for a scholarship for a heathen girl.” Of course, once completed, “the question arose as to the method of disposing of the coverlet.” In this case it went to the first to be married, with rumors of weddings and the announcement that “several members had set the fateful day.” A valuable addition to quilt scholarship.

Look for the book at your favorite quilt or book retailer. Here’s a link to Amazon if you would like to learn more about the book.


Book Review: Uncoverings 2012

Sunday, February 17th, 2013

Uncoverings 2012

Uncoverings 2012
Lynne Zacek Bassett, ed.
American Quilt Study Group;

I look forward to this annual compilation of the research papers presented at the conference of the annual American Quilt Study Group. This year’s collection includes four articles that span history from the mid 1800s to current day. The earliest, “Textiles, Print Culture and Nation Building in the 1840s,” evaluates two rare textiles made during the Mexican War era (1846-1848). One is a whole-cloth chintz quilt at Winterthur and one a whole-cloth comforter at the Winedale Quilt Collection of the Briscoe Center for American History at the University of Texas at Austin. The color plates accompanying this article illustrate the vibrant colors preserved and lost. On the more contemporary end is “Common Threads: Nine California Art Quilt Pioneers,” which looks at nine quiltmakers and their lives between 1966 and 1986. The goal was to discover what led these individuals to pursue quiltmaking. I enjoyed reading what drew them to their art and and the economics of being an artist. The other two papers are “Hortense Horton Beck Tells Her Story,” which tells the story of Beck’s mission to interpret and recreate important appliqué quilts, and “The Palladian Quilt,” which studied a 50th anniversary commemorative signature quilt of the Palladian Literary Society founded in 1871 at the University of Nebraska.

Look for the book at your favorite quilt or book retailer. Here’s a link to Amazon if you would like to learn more about the book.

Book Review: Barn Quilts and the American Quilt Trail Movement

Sunday, January 27th, 2013


Barn Quilts and the American Quilt Trail Movement

by Suzi Parron with Donna Sue Groves
Swallow Press; $29.95

The American Quilt Trail, large colorful quilt blocks painted and mounted on barns, is truly a grassroots public arts movement. In this book, Suzi Parron travels across 25 states and Canada to visit the barn artists and barn owners to learn more about the movement, which started with Donna Sue Groves’ project in 2001 to paint barns in Adams County, Ohio. From those humble beginnings designed to honor Groves’ mother and draw economic attention to one part of Ohio, the quilt trail now encompasses 45 states and more than 3,000 “quilts.” The stories are fascinating, and the quilts are just fun to see. I was fond of a Grandmother’s Fan that wrapped around the side of a barn in Ohio and the trompe l’oeil Lone Star quilt on a barn in Illinois. Recommended.

Look for the book at your favorite quilt or book retailer. Here’s a link to Amazon if you would like to learn more about the book.


Book Review: Barbara Brackman’s Civil War Sampler

Sunday, December 16th, 2012

Barbara Brackman’s Civil War Sampler   
Barbara Brackman
C&T Publishing $29.95

Noted quilt historian Barbara Brackman created a blog devoted to Civil War quilts about two years. It was to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War. She began to attract a large following for the weekly block with a first-person story about the war. By this week, she has attracted more than 1,000,000 viewers to her blog. Her book is a collection of 50 8″ x 8″ or 12″ x 12″ blocks with the accompanying stories. She choose the blocks based on the symbolism of their names, as most were published in the 1930s, well past the end of the war. It is fun to read the connections she makes between the history of the war and the blocks.

Look for the book at your favorite quilt or book retailer. Here’s a link to Amazon if you would like to learn more about the book.

Book Review: Fresh Perspectives

Sunday, September 23rd, 2012

Fresh Perspectives
Carol Gilham Jones & Bobbi Finley
C&T Publishing; $29.95

We often see well-done reproductions of antique quilts and marvel at how the design was captured. What Fresh Perspectives does is take a look at those quilts with a new eye. The quilts are used as inspiration, and current fabrics are used to create dynamic, contemporary quilts. The original inspiration quilts came from the antique quilts in the collection of the International Quilts Study Center & Museum. The 18 contemporary quilts mirror the qualities of those original quilts. I was struck by so many of the pieces, from the bright “Happy Houses” to “Stars and Snipes,” the Variable Star quilt with its large whimsical bird placed in the solid blocks, to “Pot of Flowers Medallion,” which focuses the weight of the quilt on the medallion rather than the pieced border.

Look for the book at your favorite book retailer. Here’s a link to Amazon if you would like to learn more about the book.

Book Review: Hexa-go-go

Sunday, July 1st, 2012

Tacha Bruecher
Stash Books; $23.95

Everything old is new again, and English paper piecing is seeing a resurgence. I love author, Tacha Bruecher’s take on it. She says, “Hexagons are so wonderfully portable – quilting’s answer to knitting! She starts you off with with detailed instructions on creating your paper templates, making the hexagons, and hand stitching them together. Once you’ve got the basics and a stack of hexagons, you’re ready to make any of the projects in the book. She offers you 18 projects ranging from a lovely rosette needle book to full-sized quilts. The projects are fun and I especially liked the “Stars and Stripes Quilt,” perfect for celebrating American holidays. If you decide to give hexagons a whirl, watch out. I hear they are addictive.

Look for the book at your favorite book retailer. Here’s a link to Amazon if you would like to learn more about the book.



Book Review: Liberated Medallion Quilts

Sunday, May 13th, 2012

Liberated Medallion Quilts

Liberated Medallion Quilts
Gwen Marston
AQS Publishing; $24.95

Don’t you just love the whole idea of “liberated quilts,” quilts that let you interpret basic concepts in your own personal fashion? This is Gwen Marston’s fourth “Liberated Quilting” book and her 26th book. The quilts in this book came from a retreat she holds each year in northern Michigan. After the 2010 retreat, she was struck with how many of the quilts created over the five sessions were medallion style and that begged for her to write another book. What is interesting is how these modern liberated medallions had much in common with early medallions, e.g., one made by Martha Washington. Gwen offers seven how-to projects to get you started, though you will definitely veer off the path. I love the construction tips she includes to help you solve problems. She even shows how Martha Washington solved her construction problem. If you are interested in keeping your traditional roots, yet becoming liberated, give this a try.

Look for the book at your favorite book retailer. Here’s a link to Amazon if you would like to learn more about the book.


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