Books, Books, Books
I’ve collected books full of antique quilts for many years.
I buy most of them second-hand. They are a great source of inspiration and I return to them again and again. Many of their titles are similar, and so I struggle to remember which ones I own.
What’s interesting is that many weren’t written for quilters. Each book’s aim is slightly different, but only a few feature patterns for making the quilts inside.
Instead they seem to be “coffee table books.” Which makes me wonder, is there a more official name for these? Surely the publishing industry has a term, but I don’t think I’ve ever heard it.
Many of my books attempt to cover the history of quilting in America, which makes me feel sorry for them. It’s like trying to write one book called “World War II.”
I believe it would be difficult to even cover all that has happened in the quilting world since the 1970s, when a couple of key events caused a rebirth of our art (or craft—you can make a case for either). Do you suppose someone will try?
Wouldn’t it be fun to research the birth of quilt guilds around the US? Nebraska’s state-wide guild was born in 1984 and for decades its annual meeting was a wonderful tradition for quilters here.
It’s still active but membership has declined because, almost 40 years later, we live in a different world. In the 80s and 90s, the yearly gathering called QuiltNebraska was our only opportunity to take classes with nationally known teachers.
It was a rare chance to shop a variety of vendors. And hanging out with other quilt lovers was just a ridiculous amount of fun. In those days I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.
How entertaining would it be to write about the way quilt documentation projects sprung up around the country? I wonder how many states have yet to document the quilts made by their people. I have a collection of books from those projects, too.
I think a book about the contemporary giants of the quilt world would be fascinating. I’m talking about regular people who made extraordinary quilts, or those who spread ideas about quilting far and wide.
My list would include Mary Ellen Hopkins, Roberta Horton, Jinny Beyer, Elly Sienkiewicz, Mary Mashuta, Judy Martin, Laurel Barrus and dozens more.
I don’t think I’m the one to write such books. I stay busy making quilts. But I hope someone will write them! In the meantime, I will keep adding to my book collection…if I can just remember which ones I already have.
Quilt like there’s no tomorrow!
I have trunk shows available on six different topics and I teach a variety of classes. I’d love to present one for your quilt guild! I mostly book online events, which I’ve come to believe are the best kind of all. Give me a buzz. Let’s Talk Quilts!
Tags: antique quilts, books, quilt books, quilt history, vintage quilts