This is a bit of a cheap date review for a couple of reasons: little text, old book, iffy quality. Since I have been talking about blocks and their structure I am going for it.
I don’t know why or when I originally bought this book, but it was awhile ago. The publication date in my copy is 1981. The age and some of what the author says makes me think it may not have the same level of scholarly research that the Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilts or Jinny Beyer‘s The Quilter s Album of Patchwork Patterns. This is not a bad book, but I think, at the time, the provenance of blocks may not have been considered important AND there is nothing about where the author got her information I don’t think anybody thought it was important, but this book may have been a step in the direction that ended up as the two books mentioned above. There is a bibliography at the end, but no footnotes or reference notes.
The books starts with an introduction in which the author describes her theory of teaching as well as a bit about the book and block structure. The introduction also directs the reader to a section on drafting.
This book has one of the best lines about drafting I have ever read, “The major advantage of being able to draft a pattern is the flexibility it allows you in designing a quilt.” The section goes on to enumerate the variety of ways knowing how to draft a pattern can help you in your quiltmaking. It was awesome to read why drafting is important. While I prefer to draft blocks in EQ, knowing how to draft really helps in the process and in designing quilts in general. The thing I like about this section is the practical tips on how to use the drawings in the book to start learning about drafting. There is an example of some of the math that is useful.
After a couple of pages of introduction and the few pages on drafting, there is a very little additional text in the middle of the book. All the rest of the book is comprised of pictures of blocks until a few sections at the end of the book. I actually like this, because I have enough text in my life and sometimes I want to just look at blocks. I tend to focus on the text, and skim the photos, so little to no text is better in this kind of book. I also like it that the blocks are black and white, mostly line drawings. It keeps the distractions minimal.
Towards the end of the book, there are the ‘obligatory’ pages on Determining the Quilt Size, Fabric Requirements, Quilting and Setting the Top. The final pages of the book include a bibliography and index.
In looking through the book, I saw a lot of blocks that are now showing up in the Modern Movement, such as some of the circle blocks (pg.192-193) so popular in quilts now such as The Circle Game. The #854, the Rising Sun, looks pretty familiar as well. The Snowball Wreath, #974, is also shown, though none of these blocks have any piecing directions. This is an inspiration book only and you have to know how to draft in order to use these blocks. Of course, there are directions elsewhere on the web.
I hadn’t ‘read’ the book in a while. It called to me when I was looking for blocks to suggest to TFQ. When I pulled it off the shelf I was pleased to see that the blocks were divided into section by the structure of the blocks, as mentioned before. When I started looking through the first section, I had to wonder if all of the blocks were categorized in their proper structure? One I wonder about is #274, Golda, Gem Star. I can see where it could have a Nine Patch structure, but I still wonder. It is not listed in the index of Beyer’s book, though I see blocks that look similar in Beyer’s 5×5 Base Grid category. After doing some additional research, I found this block on Pinterest and in BlockBase under the same name with #2741 from the Brackman book. Also, there is a reference to QNM 1978. This block makes me wonder where she got her information. The blocks are great and that is just my librarian brain.
This book is really good inspiration and a great start to the drafting of blocks.