by sule greg c. wilson. Rosen publishing group, inc., 1999. In my recent quest for books on how to machine quilt I found this one at the library. It's an introduction to the history of African American quilting written for middle grade and up readers. Topics include an explanation of what quilting is, the history of quilting from a world-wide perspective ("there is evidence of cotton cloth in southwestern Asia between 3000 and 2500 BC"), textile work in Africa ("there is evidence that cotton cloth was being produced in the upper Nile Valley between 500 BC and AD 300"), quilting in America, and quilting today. The illustrations are photographs of quilts from museum collections, detailed examples of West African fabric samples, clothing decoration styles, and people quilting alone or in groups.
Mention is made of the theory of quilts being signals on the underground railroad. I have heard mixed ideas about whether this is accurate or not, with experts coming down on both sides, so I am not sure of the scholarship of this point. The book mentions that certain patterns of quilts hung outside safe houses could be markers for slaves running to freedom. Harriet Tubman was a quilter as well as a conductor on the underground railroad. Other well known African American quilters from previous centuries include Harriet Powers, a famous "story quilter" born in Georgia in 1837. She is known for her "Bible quilts", which told stories from the Bible. Elizabeth Keckley is another African American quilter. She was able to earn money sewing while a slave, supporting her family and the family of her owner. She bought freedom for herself and her son in1855. She later became seamstress and quilter for Mary Todd Lincoln. Martha Ann Ricks, and American that emigrated to Liberia in the nineteenth century, made a quilt for Queen Victoria as a gift from herself and Jane Ricks, the wife of the president of Liberia in 1892.
The final section of the book focuses on quilts of today, drawing in threads from southern quilting bees to the Civil Rights movement. Did you know Rosa Parks was a quilter?
There is a glossary and further resource list at the back of the book. This book would be a good addition to a library or home.
I am enrolled in graduate school for my Library Science degree now, in a two year online program. I've ordered my textbooks and joined the discussion boards. I am afraid I'll have to put my sewing machine away and push my interest in quilting to the back of my mind. Here's a few more pictures of what I've done the past two weeks:
Here's the orange bars quilt out in the sunshine on my porch swing. There was a nip in the air yesterday morning and we enjoyed a snuggle under it. After I washed and dried it the quilting puckered up and made it quite cozy. Here's the blue and green one:
Folded up and put away: