Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Album Quilts of Ohio's Miami Valley

I have a book to recommend to you: Album Quilts of Ohio's Miami Valley by Sue C. Cummings. "From 1888 to 1918, a community of Miami Valley farm families who were neighbors and relatives made album presentation quilts to celebrate life passages. Their sharing of designs and construction techniques led to the development of a distinctive regional quilt style that has never been duplicated in any other region of the state or country." 

This is one of the liveliest, most wonderful quilts I've ever seen pictured here on the cover. It's the Jesse Arnett Quilt, dated February 4, 1912.

The blocks were made in different sizes. To put them together, blocks were either cut down (look in the bottom left corner - the Pineapple block and whatever that one is beneath it were just whacked off - no splitting it in half or trying to make it look symmetrical) or spacer bars were added when needed.

Can you imagine how hard that would be to do without the rotary cutter and ruler? Now it's relatively easy...

Admittedly, not all the quilts featured in the book were made exactly like that, but my favorites definitely were. If you go to the publisher's website and look at the image gallery here, you can see more examples.

When Gwen Marston says that Liberated Quiltmaking is nothing new - she gets so many ideas from antique quilts - she's not kidding. Inaccurate wonky piecing is just ANOTHER way to make quilts.

The book is told as a detective story as Sue Cummings finds her first quilt with the Miami Eagle and then begins to track down more of them. There's admittedly more genealogy than I needed, but I can certainly see its value to historians.

There are loads of wonderful quilts pictured and the photos are fabulous. The publisher got a grant from Robert and Ardis James to help cover the cost. So the price is actually very slim for all that you get in the book. 

There are other bloggers out there who love this book, check out reviews by: Craft Lust, and Inspired by Antique Quilts.

One other thing you may discover in this book is how horrible polyester batting is. Truly. Compare the barely quilted quilts that have the dreaded poly with the heavily quilted beauties from years earlier. They're just sad - the poly quilts. Oh, that's another thing to recommend this book - the beautiful hand quilting. In many of the quilts it was done block by block so there's a fun variety of motifs.

So get the book, it's fabulous.


Sharon said...

How did I miss this book?? Thanks for recommending it, I will definately check it out as I tend towards "innaucurate wonky piecing".

Reminds me of the quilts of Gees Bend.

Here's what I've read on the subject of quilting:

Take care ~Sharon

Sharon said...

Thanks for sharing this book, I went to their site and ordered 4 books, what great gifts for my quilter friends. Thanks for the heads up!

Joyce said...

I'll have to have a look at this book. I think that in addition to not having rotary cutters, lots of women had to make do with very dull scissors. I remember even when I was young, trying to saw away at fabric with dull scissors. There is no way to be accurate.

Beth said...

Yah for Ohio quilters!


this looks like a keeper! thanks for sharing!

Marge said...

Hi Tonya! Once again, you are costing me money. Your recommendations always speak to my style and interests. These pictures look like the 19th century quilters were kindred spirits with Gwen Marston. I've ordered the book, and I have a feeling that I'll be doing my own versions of some of the quilts. Marge

KathieB said...

Yup, I definitely need this book as I lived in that area for several years and that's when and where I got bitten by the quilt bug. Thanks for pointing me in that direction.

LauraJ said...

i will go the extra expense and buy the good stuff (batting) rather than seeing my treasures fall apart.

Kathie said...

oh this is such a great book, everyone should buy it!
don't you love how she just made a quilt from her blocks without any boundaries???
lots of great pictures in this quilt and oh the quilting beautiful.
anything printed by the Ohio University Press about quilts is worth buying
LOVE that eagle quilt on page 113, someday I will make that!

ROZ said...

Tonya, you are correct. But I can testify that polyester batting has improved so much from years ago. When I first tried it back in the 70's it was very poor quality. It was just left-over stuff from furniture making. These days, it holds up much better. And it can be spread out without it falling apart, like it used to. I look for the higher quality batting companies.

YankeeQuilter said...

What a great book! Robert and Ardis James have done great things to preserve our quilt history...

jacquie said...

i am so inspired by antique quilts...this book looks right up my alley...thanks for the recommendation!

Sharon said...

Wow, I can't believe I got so behind on reading your blog while I've been sewing. I guess that's a good thing.
This book looks so inspiring! I may have to get this one. I've always loved that Gwen has pointed out all the old quilts that are NOT perfect! They're much more interesting and inspiring. These look wonderful! Thanks for highlighting this book! Don't know that my checkbook thanks you but that's another matter.