you seen this book yet? On the cover is a detail view of an embroidered quilt,
or is it? Like the cover, the book is full of entertaining tidbits of historical
information about quilts and quilting around the globe. They are interspersed
within concise chronological summaries of quilting in the countries and states
Spike Gillespie highlights in her new 351-page book, with 300 photographs. I
found it to be enjoyable and interestingly written, with good quality
I think what added to the book's
personality and set it apart from similar quilt books is that Spike is a
professional reporter rather than a professional quilter or historian. She read
the best quilt history book(s) written about a country, interviewed the top
expert or experts in that location, and blended facts and anecdotes together.
With each chapter focused
on one country or state, Spike wrote about the quilts and other significant
needlecraft textiles handmade there, when the craft began, due to what
influence, how their quilt styles progressed and changed, how their quilt
culture grew, where they excelled and what their quilts look like today.
Sometimes she asked a local expert to write the chapter, or part of it.
Sometimes there wasn't much to say as the country didn't have much of a quilt
culture, so a page was enough. A reporter reports on what is so, and gets
straight to the point.
The United States chapter has many
subchapters to comprise about one quarter of the book. She covered every angle
of quilting and quilts made in the US, current and from the beginning. Also
included are important US organizations, movements, ethnic/cultural varieties
seen there and capsule size summaries of notable events. For example, current
controversies such as the myth of quilts as messengers of symbols on the
Underground Railroad, the Quilter's Home magazine unmentionable article, and the
bleach thrown at an Elvis quilt on display at the International Quilt Festival.
I call these tidbits. These are short and concise and grouped on two pages
titled "Quilt Controversies, scandal and intrigue in American quilt making."
Spike's presentation of quilt history can
turn those people who don't think history is interesting into people who do and
who want to learn more. History doesn't mean old and dusty, it means past events
including those that happened yesterday.
It is the tidbits from different countries that I
found compelling, especially from guest authors talking about their local guild
and exhibits. These women are recognized experts in their craft or business.
They add a down to earth friendly sense of their area's quilters, past and
The majority of the patchwork and appliqué
block patterns provided are easy enough for beginners to make. They are blocks,
not quilts, representing various countries.
The chapters on exotic (to me) countries
contained information completely new to me, but those countries I know well, not
so much. But as I said, the writing was entertaining and concise. She rekindled
my memory by putting information into her reporter's perspective which broadened
my historian viewpoint etched in my mind.. It also reminded me of books I have
in my library that I'd like to browse again.
Spike, the reporter, definitely chose top
researchers and quilt authors to read and interview about their country's
quilts, such as An Moonen of the Netherlands.
Spike did all the work of compiling information and you receive all the joy of
reading about the development of quilt culture and trends around our planet.
Quilts Around the World would make a great
gift for your daughter, granddaughter or a friend, whether they are quilters or
not because it's so interesting. I would go so far as to say it includes pop
culture of the times we live in as quilters in the world.
I left you still wondering about the
embroidered textile on the cover. Check out the chapter on China and you'll
discover it is the top section of a vintage baby carrier. What?
Amazon has the Look Inside feature for this
book and it's priced under $25.00.
Quilts Around the World
Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Voyageur Press; First edition (November 21, 2010)