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Why We Quilt: Contemporary Makers Speak Out about the Power of Art, Activism, Community, and Creativity

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  85 ratings  ·  29 reviews
In this tribute to today’s vibrant quilting community, prize-winning quilter and teacher Thomas Knauer showcases a stunning collection of quilts from a wide range of contemporary makers, accompanied by their testimonials about what inspires and imbues their craft with meaning. From temperance quilts to the AIDS quilt, there’s a rich history of individuals and communities u ...more
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published October 15th 2019 by Storey Publishing, LLC
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Average rating 4.13  · 
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 ·  85 ratings  ·  29 reviews

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Jun 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
When a stranger learns that I make quilts I am told stories about grandmothers who made quilts. You can see in their eyes the warm memories they hold dear of sleeping under grandma's quilt, or draping a quilt over a table to build a sleeping tent, or carrying it to some shady park for a picnic. Quilts are made to be used. And they are often used up, like the one my mother-in-law gifted us in the 1980s, sun-bleached with one fabric completely decayed.

Some quilts are so precious they are folded aw
Tracy Wood
May 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: z-netgalley, za-2019
As an enthusiastic quilter I was delighted to see this book. It was not quite what I expected but the main reason for its conception came across well and resonated with me more than a few times.

The author is a statement quilter, he uses his art to address today's problems while others quilt for the exact opposite reason (me included). The testimonials from both sides of the Atlantic were varied in their explanations as to why they quilt as is to be expected and their offerings were equally diff
Mar 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: quilts
A beautifully produced book about what drives quilters to quilt, whether comfort, beauty, tradition, protest, community. As a quilter I loved this, while for non-quilters it might show you aspects of quilting you haven't encountered before. And did I mention that it's a physically beautiful book?? ...more
Mar 03, 2021 rated it really liked it
Lots of beautiful quilts, a variety of perspectives.
Nov 21, 2019 rated it liked it
An interesting book, and a good look at some of the most modern quilts out there. Many of these quilts are dissonant, social commentaries about events happening right now. It was very hard to follow on a Kindle, as the descriptions and the designer information might be on one page and the photos on another page.

This book was interesting reading, and geared to a much younger, hip audience. Someone described this work as a conversation starter about quilting, and I agree with that. This is in no
Sep 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ng, artists, sew
This book is great for inspiration to take up quilting, or to get back into the art after time away. Many quilters share passionate, creative reasons why they quilt, and, best of all, the book is full of examples of works from the past several hundred years. From symmetrical to chaotic, traditional to abstract, the sky is the limit in quilting design. You will want to broaden your own creative horizons after looking at this book.

Thanks to the publishers and NetGalley for a digital ARC.
Michelle Mallette
Nov 12, 2019 rated it liked it
See my full review ...more
Jun 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a really beautiful and powerful book exploring the multifaceted reasons for why we quilt. Whereas quilts are no longer the material necessity that they once were, why do we continue to engage in an activity which can be financially costly and is time consuming? The reasons are complex and often subjective to the maker yet they all seem to link to the main theme of connections: connections with ourselves, with others, with the world around us, with materials, with the present moment, with ...more
Diane Ferbrache
Jul 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
If you are a quilter, you will likely enjoy this book. If not, you likely won't.

Filled with lovely full color illustrations and accompanied by first person accounts of why each person quilts, this is a very enjoyable, informative, and even inspirational book. I love the interspersed history lessons & descriptions of traditional quilt blocks. I also loved that both traditional and modern quilts are featured. There are some well known names here and some not-so-well known, but all are inspiring an
Jun 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book was fascinating and beautiful. I've always been interested in quilting, but this book really explores the stories that make quilters quilt.

What this book isn't is a how-to on quilting. What it is is first a history of quilting as an art-form, as an expression of ideas and values. Then, second, it is an exploration of what draws people to quilt.. what are the ideas that they are trying to express, why do they choose to do this in quilt form, and what gets produced.

I've never read a book
Leyla Johnson
Jul 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
An interesting read, combining quilt makers reason for quilting and a little about their style and what led them to take up the fibre art form.
The chapters are divided into connecting to tradition, exploring/expressing creativity, moving beyond consumer culture, creating connections with loved ones, changing the world, and finally a chapter called "and because we cannot help but do so". There are 28 well know quilt artist, with their stories spread over these chapters, all make interesting readi
Liz Gray
May 19, 2020 rated it liked it
This is a beautifully made book (even though it has one of those clever covers that drive librarians crazy) and the illustrations are excellent. I flagged several modern quilts that I would love to make. However, it is a book that seems unsure of its identity: history? art? activism? It explores all these topics but in a fragmented way that made it hard to read. Also, I found many of the quilters' narratives repetitive. Bottom line--it's worth your time to browse through it if you are a quilter ...more
Jun 22, 2019 rated it it was ok
Thank you NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and give an honest review of this book.

Having been a quilter for 40+ years, I was interested in finding out what factors prompted others to take up this artistic endeavor. This was a fairly simplistic book. Besides the brief interviews with quilters, there were some references to quilting vocabulary like certain common quilt patterns. This book did not really inspire me as an experienced quilter. I would think that beginning quilt
Jun 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: quilting
Pandemic Favorite
I spent lots of time with this book because I was lucky enough to check it out just before Ohio closed the library and instituted the stay at home order.
I loved Thomas' writing because he has words for things I have thought about but not expressed.
I discovered Mary Fons' quilts that are worth spending time just looking at. I'd like to see more quilts she has made.
This book pulls together a lot of quilt history in an engaging format. Wait until you experience the cover!
Jun 02, 2020 rated it liked it
For someone who had never read Thomas Knauer previous articles about art, quilts and creativity this was an interesting perspective. I however found it a rehash of previous publications. Even the articles posted by his guest authors were rehashed from their blog/ web posts. It was like reading their "about page"

I was disappointed as I had been looking forward to new insights and conversations. Was it him or me ... not sure.
May 30, 2019 rated it liked it
I was given an advanced copy by Net Galley for an honest review.

This book is very interesting, but very hard to follow on a Kindle. I believe the end product will be more like a "coffee table" book to admire. I look forward to seeing the finished hard bound book. I would say this book is a conversation starter about quilting, and not a "how to". book.
Sherry Tinerella
Jul 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
This is an amazingly fresh look at the quilters of today. Not only is there a beautiful and diverse collection of quilts featured but the makers describe what drives them to create them. This does not offer patterns or techniques. If you are a quilter it makes you feel connected to something big and historic. If you are not a quilter you will want to be.
Apr 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: craft-books
A lovely selection of quilts to browse through. I discovered some new quilters I had not heard of, and learnt some quilt history along the way. Some of the quilters' blurbs were a little on the short side, and I had to look up some of the references e.g. references to the Gee's bend quilts (a little blurb about this in the book would have been nice). I am a causal quilter. ...more
Holly Underwood
Jan 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book is a great read for any quilter, of any style and skill level. The quilters whose work and words are included are very diverse, and some of both will resonate with with you. I found myself nodding in agreement again and again, sometimes discovering motivations for my own quilting that I'd not put into words before. I look forward to returning to this book from time to time. ...more
Oct 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
I received a complementary copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I loved the stories by different quilters and the pictures of various quilts. This was a fun, inspiring read.
Oct 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book highlights various quilt makers who describe their work. Quilts are the rare works of art that also become part of our everyday lives. I really enjoyed reading about the stories behind the quilts. It made me look at my own quilting and uneven stitches in a whole new light.
Nov 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, read-2019
“Why We Quilt” captures the profound reasons why people quilt today. The book is beautifully designed. The quilts and the quilters selected for this volume are a wonderful representation of the art. Every time I page through this book I discover something new.
1. connect with rich tradition 2. Explore and express our creativity 3. move beyond consumer culture 4. create a connection with loved ones 5. change the world 6. because we cannot help but do so.
Feb 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I wanted to underline passages on every page. Knauer and the quiltmakers whom he profiles say it all perfectly.
B. Jean
Mar 19, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is very beautiful. It's designed well, I'm sure it looks even better as a physical copy.

However, it didn't really dig deep. This was a surface level look at quilting, and if you're hoping for critical theory, etc., look elsewhere. What this book DOES do is introduce you to a lot of lovely quilters. The photographs are pristine. The end of the book has links to their websites. For that alone, this book was worth reading. (Even if it was pretty pricey!)
The well-organized Why We Quilt is a joy for quilters, artists and readers. Beginning chapters start with a concise informative quilting history. Quilting terms are described in just right amount of detail. Bright colored quilt photographs dazzle and inspire, while vivid descriptions pointing out deeper meaning. Sometimes I just marked quilts that brought me joy to look at. Chapter titles are:
1.We quilt to connect with a rich tradition.
2. We quilt to explore and express our creativity
3. We qu
Jennifer L-L
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