In my case it's not so much a matter of desert island, as desert country...
What are my five most important quilt books? I used one criteria to start with - I had to actually have the book here with me. If I put it in storage, it couldn't have been that desperately needed, right? (Unfortunately I chose my heaviest books to leave behind, cuz we have weight restrictions on shipping our belongings, and those are the ones with the most photos.)
Now it gets hard because I've narrowed the field down to six and I'm having problems letting go of one more. Ack. Okay, here it is in alphabetical order:
The Amish Quilt by Eve Granick
I have six books on just Amish quilts so it was extremely hard to narrow the field down to just one. I finally went with this one, which is pretty funny considering that the first time I bought it (1991?) I wasn't that interested in it and sold it to a friend. I already had pictures of Amish quilts. I had to buy it again when I realized it had pics of Amish cotton crazies and utility quilts that I didn't have in my other books. Those are the big draw now for me.
Liberated Quiltmaking by Gwen Marston
Not a shock that it's here, is it. Maybe it will surprise you to know I actually considered leaving it off the list because I've already read it cover to cover probably 20 times and just looked at certain sections countless more. This is the one that set me free.
Liberated String Quilts by Gwen Marston
I'm not nearly as passionate about this one as I am about the previous one. I hate the exact yardage amounts and precise instruction to make it the same way Gwen did. The Quiltmaking book has more of Gwen's spirit in it. BUT it has great photos of string quilts and so it's still inspirational.
Scrap Quilts by Roberta Horton
I like this one for its improvisational style and focus on folk art. I love that it encourages people to design their own applique - no templates. The antique quilts are excellent as well - the Sunburst quilt on page 49 is my fave.
Signs and Symbols by Maude Southwell Wahlman
Admittedly, I'm not interested in the text for this one - I just love all the pictures of the rural African-American quilts. If I had my Gee's Bend book it might very well take its place.
Wild by Design by Janet Catherine Berlo and Patricia Cox Crews
Has lots of antique quilts that were considered wild or innovative for their time. Maybe I shouldn't say lots - I think there's only 48 color photos and not all of those are quilts that I like. Still, this is probably the book I'd take if I couldn't have any of the others. There's a little bit of this and a little bit of that, whereas the others are more specialized.