With Needle and Thread by Raymond Bial.
Houghton Mifflin Company: Boston, 1996.

"Certainly the number and variety of quilt patterns are remarkable, often breathtaking, but I wanted With Needle and Thread to be more about people and their connection to quilts. Feelings about quilts run deeply through quilters' lives, and it is this abiding love and respect for quilts and quiltmaking that I have sought to evoke in With Needle and Thread: A Book about Quilts."

Quilts are remarkable, and Raymond Bial has selected some great examples for illustration. I would have liked to have seen even more, because as a quilter I can't get enough. I hope that it is enough to convey to non-quiltmakers the awe that I feel regarding quilts.

Bial explains the history of quiltmaking. If it's not amazing enough that women used to make all of the blankets for their homes by hand, piecing them from old clothing and scraps when material wasn't available, consider how little time women had to do anything for themselves. Or that thinking beyond household work was discouraged. Sewing was one of the only arts that allowed women and girls freedom of expression. Even slaves were able to create art through quilting. It is incredibly uplifting to know that you can and have created such a work of art.

Traditions of quilting are described, including patterns, styles and quilting communities. Regions are also noted, as well as trends such as the pioneering migration and quilts in support of causes.

Quilting is still done in a traditional manner, but even more freedom is practiced. Quilting is also going in a new direction in that it is now viewed publicly as an art, pieces made to be hung on the wall and viewed rather than only to be used as household items.

It was great to see this conversation of an art that I absolutely love. The author has noted that he took extra care in choosing the pictures and text to make a "patchwork."

I was introduced to quilting by my sister Evelyn who has made many quilts for family members. I had no idea that it would become such a part of my own life when I tried my first. Now it is a heavenly thing to walk around a quilters' show. I've only been to our state show, but what a time I had viewing so many quilts at once.

related-quilting history, United States history, patchwork, arts and crafts
RL=4th and up

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