Thursday, December 4, 2014

Book Review: Quilts from the Civil War

Cover Image: Barbara Brackman's Quilts from the Civil War.

Book Review: Quilts from the Civil War by Barbara Brackman, who apparently also blogs on this platform. (Warning: lots of pretty pictures, very dangerous).

This is probably my favorite of Ms. Brackman's books.  It has all her usual strengths (original images, good research, user-friendly presentation, hands-on projects), and in my opinion has the greatest sheer amount of information about period quilts.  It also has a lot of fun history, such that an alternate title could be "A Women's History of the Civil War, With an Emphasis on Quilts".

This book is arranged thematically into 8 chapters (with 9 projects included), which span the war. Arranged chronologically, these run from pre-war abolitionist fundraising quilts to post-war commemorative ones, and include quilts associated with all walks of life and diverse occurrences: aid society quilts, patriotic quilts, quilts hidden from occupying armies, quilts associated with the Underground Railroad, etc.  The last topic is covered more fully elsewhere, but the chapter here does give a good factual background on the topic, which will be very useful for handling all the visitors who see you quilting at an event and want to come tell you about coding secret messages to help escaped slaves.

But I digress.

In addition to the history lessons and eye-candy, Quilts from the Civil War also gives a lot of useful information on getting started with historically accurate quilting.  The projects themselves give different patchwork and applique patterns (with step-by-step instructions and templates), and the book's appendices include advice on selecting the right batting, quilting in an appropriate design, binding in a period manner, and inking blocks.  For the latter, nearly two full pages of period sketches and verse are included.

Stars: 5 Stars
Level: All.
Accuracy: High.  Be sure to check whether a given image is labelled "original", "copy", "adaptation", etc. when citing.
Strongest Impression: Probably the best over-all book for solid research on quilts c. 1860.  Highly recommended for someone who wants to get started in historic quilting with a thorough, yet approachable research base.

1 comment:

Thanks for commenting!