I was looking for information on a particular block pattern and pulled out so many quilt books, I found some I hadn't looked at in awhile. So, I thought that I would take a minute and look them over; then provide a review of a book for all of you.
One book that caught my eye was Quilts An American Legacy by Mimi Dietrich; copyright 1996 by Smithsonian Institution and That Patchwork Place, Inc. of Bothell, WA. I purchased the book in December 1999 for $4.98, but don't know where or what made me buy it. I don't recall anything in particular happening at that time. By the price I paid, I think that it must have been a bargain I couldn't pass up. The cover has a scrappy quilt and states that royalties paid to the Smithsonian benefit the care and conservation of the textile collection at the National Museum of American History. My eldest daughter just vacationed in Washington D.C. in August and, I believe that she visited this museum. I would certainly like to see the quilts in the collection.
The book is a collection of quilts from the Smithsonian National Collection with a contemporary interpretation by the author. Basic quilt-making instructions, patterns and templates are included in the back of the book. As I leafed through the book, the quilt that popped off the page for me was "Reel" made by Mrs. Annis Lawrence Curtis of Marcellus, New York, from the second quarter of the nineteenth century, measuring 80"X85" in blue and white. The fabrics and pattern are reminiscent of the Civil War. The pattern is also called "Hickory Leaf". You can view some of the quilts online in the The National Quilt Collection. A few of the quilts from the book are shown here.
Although I couldn't find a picture of the quilt in the online collection, I was able to find an example in The Quilt Index, a growing research and reference tool designed to provide unprecedented access to information and images about quilts held in private and public hands. The Quilt Index is a joint project of The Alliance for American Quilts, MATRIX: Center for Humane Arts, Letters and Social Sciences Online at Michigan State University and the Michigan State University Museum.
Quiltmaker: Troup, Nancy Marie (Grey)
[1850, Kansas Quilt Project]
Kansas State Historical Society: Kansas Quilt Project
This pattern also reminds me of "Order #11", which was a pattern named after an order issued during the Civil War in Kansas. The pattern was published in the Kansas City Star in 1929. More information about quilts during the Civil War can be found in books by Barbara Brackman.
I hoped you've enjoyed this book review. Check out any or all of these references for a history on quilts and quiltmaking in America.