If there is a lesson we can learn from the doll quilts of the past,
it must be to accept the beauty of simplicity and to bring all of
the wonders of childhood into our hearts. Kathleen Tracy
Kathleen Tracy's book, American Doll Quilts, is a joy to read while still being educational. It presents the story of quilting in America from 1776 through 1945 through doll quilts. Examples of the projects are photographed with antique dolls, doll furniture and toys. The result brings you back to those long ago times.
These little patterns would be a delight to make and each one represents a period of time in America's history. Having viewed many vintage and antique quilts I find these little quilts are true to their periods in history both in the fabric and the patterns.
Any of these quilts can be made in a fairly short time using the clear instructions. Although it is a special treat to pick out reproduction fabrics for these projects they would be fun to make in modern fabrics as well.
The Prairie Quilt made up of squares and the Nine Patch made up of rectangles and squares would be ideal for teaching a child to quilt. They can be done by hand, on the machine or both. Even the more advanced patterns like the Medallion Quilt and the Victorian Crazy quilt could be made by a child with some sewing experience.
These quilts can made by an adult, child or perhaps a team effort with mother and child or grandmother and child. They would be ideal for school projects or as part of a quilting class for children. And they would be perfect to accompany a vintage and antique doll collection.
In spite of the charming patterns in this book it's greatest value is it's ability to give you a sense of what it was like to be quilting during different times in history.
It is good resource for historical information about the styles and periods of each project but the greatest value is in the learning the history and then making the quilt. There is something about doing something with our hands that makes the history we have learned so real.
I would love to see this book used for school projects or any other history related project. I know the kinesthetic experience of creating something makes the history so real in a way children would remember long after anything they just read or hear about. But the value goes beyond children. Adults both young and old can have this same wonderful learning experience.