Wednesday, December 7, 2016

What am I reading?

I love quilt books. My friends do, too, but they mostly have "how-to" books. The ones I like best are the history books. Of course, there is lots of eye candy, but you learn so much more by looking beyond the illustrations.

You could read these books like novels, and they would be very compelling as such, but I use them more like reference books. If I am looking for information about early quilts in America, for example, I might pull out "Old Quilts" by Dr. William Rush Dunton, or "America's Quilts and Coverlets" by Robert Bishop.

If I am looking for supplemental information from around the globe, I might pull out the "Interwoven Globe" catalogue from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, or "Quilts 1700-2010" from the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Last week, a new book arrived. It is called "The Aloha Shirt" by Dale Hope, and it presents historical information about the garment industry in Hawaii. Looking forward to diving in to this book!

1970s Hawaiian scrap quilt
Pursuing research about Hawaiian scrap quilts has been a challenge. There is plenty of research about Hawaiian applique and flag quilts, but no research about the scrap quilts. It's a new and open field of research, and I've had to approach the subject from other angles; the history of Hawaii, tourism, the garment industry, and other related fields.

So, that's what I'm reading. What are your favorite quilt history books, and which ones have you been reading lately?


  1. Well, my comment disappeared. Try again. Does looking at pictures count as reading? I use to know where most of my books were but have not been pawing through them as often lately. Book order seems like a good 2017 project. Won't be doing research as you are.... is there a new book coming?

  2. Is it OK if I say Indigo Quilts of the Poos Collection (which includes a Volckening Collection quilt)? 10 years of study about indigo before we published the book. Between the Indigo Quilts and Chintz Quilts, I think almost everything shown in your photos is referenced in our books. Interwoven Globe came out afterwards, but also a great book! Good luck with your research.

  3. You may need to write a book on the subject of Hawaiian Scrap Quilts when you're done your research! A book I go to over and over again is Signs and Symbols; African Images in African-American Quilts b Maude Southwell Wahlman. I also love Hidden in Plain View; A Secret Story of Quilts and the Underground Railroad, because I am fascinated by the underground railroad and the symbols used in quilts. Another sumptuous picture book with great text is Accidentally On Purpose: The Aesthetic Management of Irregularities in African Textiles and African American Quilts (would love to find a copy of that i can afford!) I also love anything about the quilters of Gees Bend.

  4. I am a part-time public reference librarian. I would love to go through these books. You have a great collection. Currently,I am looking through, Patterns in Time. Quilts of Western New York," by Lynn Hoffman and "Mountain Mist Historical Quilts," by Linda Pumphrey.

  5. Whoa. I'd love to get my hands on a copy of that Western New York book.... My faves are Quilts of Virginia, Covering Connecticut, and The Hands That Made Them, which is quilts of Adams County, PA. Finally was able to score a copy of that on Ebay. :-)

  6. I agree I love reading books on the history and quilting traditions across the world. My recent favourite book was Making the Australian Quilt 1800-1950 from the exhibition of the same name. It is a fabulous and comprehensive of the origins of Australian quilting.