I sent for this book from the American Amazon website, not the UK one, because I had won an online voucher which was only redeemable from the former site. I had doubts as to whether it would arrive safely, or even at all, across the Atlantic, but it made it before the predicted time of arrival in pristine condition! It is not available here yet, so felt doublely excited!
In fact I first discovered quiltmaking when my husband came back from the USA on a business trip with a copy of "Quilts, Quilts, Quilts!" for me in his suitcase as a gift, in the late 80s, which shows how old I am, 60 next week! Until then, I had made clothes (since a young girl) and some English paper pieced patchwork, then the perennial curtains (drapes), blinds, cushions (pillows) and so on after marriage. I was so excited by that book and sent for a rotary cutter and ruler/mat set via details in the back of the book - nothing like that was available here and no one I knew made patchwork in that way in blocks here in the UK at the time. It felt so much more creative than making clothes following patterns (which were becoming cheaper to purchase anyway) and I was totally hooked. I helped to start a local quilt group in the early 90s, was spurred from that into starting to draw and eventually made it all the way to art school to study Textiles part time (ending with an MA - "Master of Arts" degree) to my utter surprise! I taught Textiles on a degree course for 10 years following that until recent retirement, wrote a "serious" blog and took an academic view of all things Textile.
The point of this long winded story is to prove - quilting changes lives! True, here in the UK art schools don't do much quilting, if at all, they take a more conceptual approach to textiles. A lot of my students couldn't sew, didn't want to sew and were happy binding blocks of concrete or wood together for installations etc. I think the USA takes a different view, honouring actual making skills more, but someone will maybe put me right on that one?
So, it was interesting to re-discover quilting all over again, for myself this time and not for serious teaching purposes. And oh the sheer joy of it - I have bought a new Janome quilting machine with a small legacy left me by an aunt, the same aunt who left me piles of cotton dressmaking remmnants from the 60s/70s. I have discovered Modern Quilting at just the right time; it needed a new invigeration of blood. I like the way its become fun again, relates to mid twentieth century art and design and has a simplicity/love of the actual act of sewing as well as excitement with colour.
As a retired college tutor, and just as a ordinary quilter, I can see where Rachel May was going with this book - it lays out the foundations of what Modern Quilting is all about. A lot of the stuff - quilt groups, etc and little bits of history/touching on important points in quilting history - is known to old hands like myself, but it doesn't hurt to read it again. Anyone coming new to quilting, with find it invaluable. I hope to start up a new quilting group when I move home soon and pass this book around; it is essential reading and an excellant intro to the subject. The approach is sweetly naive at times, just touching on some important topics relating to all Textile forms, but not over academic as to frighten new quilters/sewers away. I applaud her work on this book as I am excited all over again and feel just what I felt with that first quilt book many years ago - the possibilities are endless! Thank you Rachel.