Hold a history of American quiltmaking in your hands (+ giveaway!)

Whether you fall head over heels for every antique quilt you see or you’re intrigued by quiltmakers of the past—our latest coffee-table book, American Quilt Treasures, was made for you. We’re elated to introduce this beautiful new book to you today!

American Quilt Treasures

Inside this exquisite hardcover volume, you’ll take a fascinating behind-the-scenes journey through a curated collection of quilts housed at the International Quilt Study Center & Museum in Lincoln, Nebraska, the largest publicly held quilt collection in the world. The museum graciously allowed Martingale to photograph 65 one-of-a-kind quilts, ranging from just 30 years old to an incredible 197 years old. Many of these quilts have unknown makers; but in this lavish coffee-table book devoted to a visual storytelling of American quiltmaking, those makers’ voices are heard through their stitches—and their talents are celebrated.

Prepare to be whisked away by astonishing patchwork and awe-inspiring appliqué, all captured in lavish, detailed photography. Here’s a little peek:

You’ll marvel at the variety of quilts included, such as a jaw-dropping 1870s quilt featuring 2,750 half-square triangles (see below); a 1940s quilt embellished with more than 11,000 buttons (it weighs 65 pounds!); and an astounding Civil Warera appliqué quilt that sold at auction for more than a quarter of a million dollars in 1991. You’ll be captivated by the creativity and persistence of quilters from the past—and as you turn each page, you’ll discover the enduring impact that quilts of yesteryear have on quiltmakers of today.

Here are a few more favorite examples from the book, chosen by Martingale’s publisher, Jennifer Keltner, who was at the museum when photos were taken for the book.

Birds in the Air quilt
Of this circa 1890 Birds in the Air Quilt by Mary Linderburger, possibly made in New Jersey, Jennifer says, “Everything old is new again—at least it seems that way when you study the strong visual graphic of this quilt. From a distance, the quilt appears almost as if you’re looking through a screen. The careful placement of bubblegum pinks in each block, composed entirely of half-square triangles, is the key.”

Prairie Point Bull's Eye quilt
Of this Prairie Point Bull’s Eye, possibly from Tennessee by an unknown maker, Jennifer says, “I look at this circa 1960 quilt and wonder: what was the maker thinking? Where did the fabrics come from for her to make this? It includes cottons, polyesters, sheers, solids, and prints—and an incredible amount of patience. ’Round and ’round she goes. How she knew when to stop? Nobody knows.”

Flying Geese quilt
Of this Flying Geese quilt, known only to be from the United States and created by an unknown maker, Jennifer says, “Do you see an ugly duckling or a beautiful swan of a quilt? This circa 1860 quilt, more than any other in
American Quilt Treasures, seems to illicit a ‘love it’ or ‘don’t like it’ response. It’s one of my favorites in the book for its simple repetition, the changes of direction, and the red and green scrappy prints used.”

From simply breathtaking works to quilts that seem simply impossible to create, you’ll be inspired to keep this book close to enjoy for years to come. And as the publisher of this visual account of important American quilts, we hope we’ve helped give a voice to those quilters with one collective name: “maker unknown.” Please note: patterns are not included in the book.

There’s one more exciting thing we got to do when we visited the museum to photograph the book. Museum volunteers were kind enough to allow us to film how they store the amazing quilts in their collection:


Reading this post in email? Click here to view the video.

If you aren’t storing your heirloom quilts this way, you may want to start now! Don’t forget the white gloves. 🙂

American Quilt TreasuresWho would you like to give a copy of American Quilt Treasures to (besides yourself, of course!): a mother, a grandmother, or maybe a daughter, son, or friend? Tell us in the comments and you could win a copy of American Quilt Treasures! We’ll choose a random winner one week from today and let you know by email if you win. Good luck!

If you’re ready to start your history lesson now (or to give the book to a friend this Christmas?), you can get your copy of American Quilt Treasures at your local quilt shop or at ShopMartingale.com.

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