What if you could only own one book on American quilt history? You would want it to include all of America's history including all the styles and fads in quilt making. But most of all you would want fantastic pictures of the quilts. With The American Quilt: A History of Cloth and Comfort you get all of this.
This book starts with the fabrics. Dying and printing methods that were available had a great influence on the quilts made during each period. As a result the earliest quilts were far different than quilts of today. Once you read about the evolution of fabrics you will have a much better sense of fabric changes and related changes in quilt styles.
Then the book goes through different periods from 1750 to 1950. Not only will you learn about the quilts made during these periods but you will discover how events and trends during each period influenced quiltmaking. Sprinkled throughout the book are two or three page inserts featuring different topics. Specific cultures like Amish and African American quilting are included as well as styles like album quilts and crazy quilts. Different purposes for quilt making including those made for a cause or for competition are there as well.
Throughout the book are the pictures. Luscious fabrics and quilts that you can spend time just gazing at. The photography is very well done. As a result you can clearly see the quilting on many of the quilts. Since by definition quilting is what makes a quilt I'm so pleased there is finally a book that lets us see the wonderful variety of ways quilts were quilted over the years.
I am recommending The American Quilt as a great first quilt history book. This is not to say you wouldn't want it if you already have several books. It is a handy reference for overall history and of course any quilt history enthusiast will love the photographs of historic quilts. I do have to warn first time buyers though. Once you start you will want to own more of the wonderful quilt history books available today.
© 2006 Judy Anne Johnson Breneman (Do not reproduce any material from this site without permission.)