In the midst of the pandemic, many quilters have expressed that they have experienced creative blocks. Whether it due to exhaustion, stress, or reorienting to the new normal, where there is normally joy, a void is found at the sewing table.
Take hope! Sometimes the best way to work through a challenge is to embrace it. Give yourself a break from the activity that isn’t serving you and switch to something else. In these kinds of moments, when creativity seems out of reach, the perfect alternative activity can be to pick up a book and immerse yourself. To help to that end, here are a few quilt-related books that we think you will love.
Threads of Life: A History of the World Through the Eye of a Needle by Clare Hunter
Recently, a quilt group member posed the question, “During a zombie apocalypse, what one quilt-related item would you take with you?’ (Yes, this was actually the question.) The resounding consensus was that each of us would take a needle.
Threads of Life: A History of the World Through the Eye of a Needletells the stories of women and men who took up needle and thread and used the art of stitching in a myriad of ways. From using the needle to stitch through severe mental health problems to welding the needle for political purposes, the needle has long been a powerful tool, beyond the utility of making clothing.
Threads of Life explores what it means to be a maker through the stories we stitch about ourselves and our time. It shows the power the needle has had throughout history to give a voice to the voiceless. Hunter’s writing is gripping and fascinating, and a delight to read.
The Quilts of Gee’s Bend by Susan Goldman Rubin
Abrams Books for Young Readers
As any parent will tell you, it is difficult to find non-fiction books that keep the attention of young children.The Quilts of Gee’s Bend by Susan Goldman Rubin is one of those diamonds in the rough. Filled with photos of beautiful quilts and the women who made them, the book tells the history and hardships of the Gee’s Bend quilters and their journey from obscurity to becoming one of the most recognizable names within the quilting and art communities. A portion of the author’s proceeds is donated to the Quilt Makers of Gee’s Bend.
Sewing Stories: Harriet Powers’ Journey from Slave to Artist
by Barbara Herkert, Illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton
Knopf: Random House Kids
“Sing a-ho that I had the wings of a dove; I’d fly away and be at rest.” -slave spiritual
Harriet Powers was born into slavery in 1837. She grew up watching enslaved women create textiles. Only at night could enslaved women create for themselves, and from them, Harriet learned early on how to sew stories into quilts. The illustrations in this picture book are fantastic, especially alongside included photographs of Harriet’s quilts. The book is a combination of historical fiction and factual snippets about Harriet’s life. Children and parents will enjoy learning about Harriet’s priceless story quilts in this book.
In the ‘Curated Studio’ section of each issue ofCurated Quilts, we highlight a curated selection of modern patterns and fabrics, book reviews, and quilting tools available on the market. To find more of our recommendations, get your copy ofCurated Quilts today.
By Brittany Bowen Burton