Here is a picture of Karen with Merle, her rescue dog who was a major inspiration for this book. (I’ve met Merle too and can vouch for him as well). And here is the cover of Karen’s book.
Karen started out making dog quilts as fund-raising items for her local animal shelter. Her involvement with raising money for animal shelters, coupled with adopting Merle eventually led to the writing of this book. Merle shows up throughout the book providing his own valuable “tips.” Early into her series of dog quilts, she realized that these quilts also made incredibly comforting gifts to people who had lost their pet. Her book shows some of these quilts with tips on constructing them.
This book is charming, and the quilts are really clever and will make you smile. Plus I just love the idea behind the book: all of us doing what we can for dogs and cats who end up at a shelter through no fault of their own.
To learn more about Karen, visit her website:
You can order Karen’s book from the AQS website:
Ordering information: A History of Dutch Quilts by An Moonen. ISBN 97890-75879-544. firstname.lastname@example.org . You can also write to the publisher: Van Gruting Publishers, Looijenland 13, 6931 VB Westervoort, The Netherlands. Or better still, buy an airline ticket and go get it.
; One of the things I love the most about being a quilter is that I am participating in an art form that has always been primarily a woman's art form. From my first interest in quiltmaking I have been treasured that connection. Back in the day when women couldn't vote, or own property, we owned our quiltmaking. My book shelves hold almost all of the "state project" books which chronicle the history of quiltmaking in different parts of the country and most often have good photographs of antique quilts which I love to pore over. These books also tell the stories of the women who made them and all of this makes me feel connected to the women in my family going back generations and more broadly, I like the feeling of being a part of a long tradition of quiltmaking. In talking to lots of women about this, I find many feel the same way and who value the idea of participating in and carrying on a traditional art form that is predominantly a woman's art form. Quiltmaking is indeed an art of our own.
; This book is a celebration of women and the important contribution we have made in the textile arts. So here's to all of us!
A few words about self publishing.
Here's a little story about the unexpected pitfalls with self publishing. My photographer Gregory Case and I published a small specialty art book with an online company called Lulu. When we order our books from Lulu, they come printed to our agreed specifications on high gloss paper to showcase Gregory's high stunning photographs of my quilts. However, when people ordered the books from Amazon, we discovered that Amazon had somehow acquired the ability to print the books themselves, and were doing so on flat, non gloss paper resulting in dull inferior imagines, much to our dismay. Our struggle to find any satisfaction has been frustrating as it's been impossible to get any clarification from Lulu, and so far, completely impossible to get in touch with anyone at Amazon about this issue.. I just read a major article on this topic in one of the leading magazine suggesting that Amazon has become the Walmart of the publishing business.
Time On my Hands, by Grace Snyder University of Nebraska Press,
If you liked the Laura Ingalls Wilder books (you know Little House in the Big Woods, Little House on the Prairie, On the Banks of Plum Creek, etc, etc, etc when you were twelve you will like Grace Snyder's autobiography No Time On my Hands, published by University of Nebraska Press, 1986. Told by Grace in her 80th year, this story gives you clear idea about what pioneer life was all about. Grace lived all but three of her one hundred years in Nebraska and knew well of the hardships endured by families struggling to put down roots in a new land. While not a work of literary brilliance, Grace tells her story with such unadorned truthfulness that it conveys day to day life in the middle of the vast prairies in an astounding genuine way.
She tells about her beginnings as a quilter when as a 5 or 6 year old, her daily job was to go out and guard the cattle herd from coyotes and wolves with the aid of a stick and her little dog. After several weeks of sitting out in the flat plains by herself she got bored and asked her mother if she could have two patches to sew while she watched the cattle and with that, a quilter was born.
While Grace was certainly one of the great quiltmakers of the 20th century, her book doesn't focus on quilts. Rather she mentions them casually throughout the book. Grace apparently saw her quilts as one part of the many important and interesting parts of her life.
Grace is known for a number of amazingly complicated quilts including her Flower Basket Petit Point quilt with it's 87,789 pieces, and her Mosaic, with it's 58,640 pieces. The Flower Pot Petit Point quilt hangs in the Nebraska State Historical Society Museum in Lincoln and both quilts were shown in The Twentieth Century's Best American Quilts. (Austin, Mary Leman, ed. Primedia Special Interest Publication, 1999).
A year after Grace died, one of her daughters entered the Flower Basket Petit Point in a big California show where it won best of show and a thousand dollar grand prize. Perhaps her most famous quilt, it is shown on the cover of Grace's autobiography. Her Petit Point Flower Basket was featured on the cover of the 9th issue of Quilter's Newsletter Magazine in 1970. The magazine contained a very well written book report on No Time On my Hands.
In 1980, at the age of 98, Grace was induced into the Quilter's Hall of Fame. In 1981 Molly Newman, a writer from Denver, came to interview Grace. The result was the play Quilters based partly on Grace's life.
"They had more time back then," is a comment I hear frequently in regards to the makers of antique quilts. It's undeniable that many antique quilts exhibit an amazing amount of fine needlework.
Grace Snyder grew up on a Nebraskan homestead in the late 1880's. She was a prolific quilt maker and is known for a number of amazingly complicated quilts including her Petit Point Flower Basket quilt with it's 87,789 pieces. Here is what she said about her life on the plains.
"Such busy years, when I baked our bread, churned our better, raised a big garden and canned all our vegetables, cured our meat, made all the girls' clothes on the sewing machine I had bought with the orphan calf, helped in the hay field, and still found a little spare time for piecing quilts."