'Civil War Quilts'

‘Civil War Quilts’ (Schiffer Publishing) is now in a revised, updated and expanded edition by Pamela Weeks and Don Beld.

If you have never envisioned reading a book about quilts, prepare to suspend judgment until you’ve opened the second and revised edition of co-author Pamela Weeks’ and Don Beld’s seminal work.

Let me explain.

“Civil War Quilts” (Schiffer Publishing) is a masterstroke of production from concept to cover and all points in-between because ... it’s not really about quilts.

Or at least, not only about quilts. Much like a mid-1800s potholder quilt, itself — “quilts made from one block at a time and … finished as it is made” — “Civil War Quilts” is a cornucopia of the art form, equal parts quilt making, Civil War history and guide to contemporary production of quilts from a bygone era.

That Weeks and Beld are at their core not only professional-level needlework artisans but historians is evident from page 1. Through meticulous research — first-hand sources, artifacts, photos and voluminous note sourcing — the authors not only present a history of Civil War quilts, but of the Civil War itself.

Through the telling of the stories of 14 exceptional quilts — that is, the stories of the lives that crafted and received them — “Civil War Quilts” presents an exhaustive survey of the period. Here are love stories, stories of determination and heroic tales of patriotism wrapped in a literal neat package.

For the quilter, patterns and information for making “block-by-block” quilts are included with information about reproduction fabrics.

For the history lover, intricately told stories weave an unusual slice of Civil War narrative you’ve likely not encountered before.

For aficionados of both, “Civil War Quilts” is a seamless and indispensable guide.

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