Thursday, February 26, 2015

World War I Quilts

*Note: I received this book through Net Galley, with the expectation that I would review it. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own! 

In World War I Quilts, Sue Reich takes us on a journey of the quilts of the rather short time period.

The book is a mix of information, gorgeous pictures, and newspaper stories from the time of the Great War.

The book opens by telling us what the quilt trends were going into the war: red work, tobacco flannel, crazy quilts, etc. These were the quilts women and med were making in America at the time.

But then comes The Great War and the Spanish Flu, and things take a different course.

When we think of women making things during the war, we often picture them knitting socks or rolling bandages. Which many did. But there was also a great deal of quilt making going on.

Quilts were made and auctioned to earn money to get supplies, send care packages, help support the local Red Cross. Quilts were made and sent to soldiers when they could be. Quilts were a way to be creative and to help out.

The quilts pictured in World War I quilts are gorgeous. These quilts that were handmade, hand embroidered, machine pieced, machine stitched. There were crazy quilts, red work quilts, many quilts with the Red Cross symbol. Women were busy stitching their quilts together ... stitch by stitch.

And not just women. Men participated, boys participated, girls participated. The whole country came together to do what they could to support the troops on the battlefront.

Many quilts were made by groups and quilted during quilting bees.  Though, the Spanish Flu paused this as people were encouraged to not be in groups. The Spanish Flu also had some devastating consequences: many quilts of the time were burned in an effort to stop the spread of the flu further. I was unaware of quilts (and clothing and other various pieces of cloth) being burned and I kind of want to weep about how many lovingly-made quilts were lost this way.

After the war, quilts continued to be made. These were known as Poppy Quilts (yes, like the poppies we wear for Memorial Day). Poppies became an important motif in many quilts, and some were auctioned off to support local VFW's.

In addition to the information presented in the book, there were many photographs of some gorgeous quilts. I think I could flip through and just look at the pictures many times and still never tire of them. A couple of them, I'd love to print out for my own creative inspiration wall as well!

I also thought the newspaper snippets were so interesting as well and added an extra something to the book. They gave me a good understanding of just how important these quilts were to so many, how much good they brought to people, and allowed me to see how whole communities rallied around these quilts. I also appreciate any documents from the time period when reading historical books!

I really enjoyed reading this book and learned a few things I had been unaware of previously. Now that I'm through it, my fingers are itching to start a redwork patriotic themed quilt. Naturally, I'll have to finish the million and one other projects I've got started!

If you'd like to see a couple of the quilts in this book, head on over to Reich's website!

1 comment:

  1. I was fortunate to see an exhibit of the Gee's Bend quilts. Quilts have always been such a huge part of history.


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