Saturday, December 6, 2014

Book Review: Encyclopedia of Applique

Cover image: Barbara Brackman's Encyclopedia of Applique

Next up: Barbara Brackman's Encyclopedia of Applique (2000, 2009).

This is a two-part book: the 45-page first chapter offers a history of applique and five different applique projects (with templates).  The usual pictures, etc., are included with the history, though this time the projects are grouped together at the end and not mingled throughout it. The remainder of the book is a 130-page index of applique patterns, arranged methodically according to design elements. Each design is designated with its appropriate century, and, where possible, its year.  The author notes that the designs run from 1835-1992 (most are pre-1960s).  Definitely read the "How to Use The Index" advice on pages 48-49.

As someone with minimal applique experience, there very little I can say about this book on that level.  What I can say is that I liked the straightforward presentation of the history section (another good overview for people quilting at reenactments), and that I now really want to get my hands on her encyclopedia of patchwork designs.  Also, I am awed by her organizational skills in categorizing the applique patterns--how does one even start on such an immense topic?  However she got started, the system seems to work.  It's also precisely the sort of easy-to-use, logically-arranged format that I like in my reference books.

Stars: 5 Stars (I don't do much applique, but now I really want to)
Accuracy: Beautifully specific.  Sources are cited in the history section. As always, look carefully at the date information if using for historic re-creations.
Difficulty: Intermediate and up (It's hard to say).
Strongest Impressions: I recommend this book to anyone who likes doing historic applique.  It's a comprehensive reference.  The patterns are grouped very broadly (mainly 19th v. 20th century), so care should be taken in selecting designs for historic reproductions.

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