Saturday, December 11, 2010

Book Review: Fons & Porter Presents Quilts from The Henry Ford

For some reason I have a tendency to take on projects that some may consider too challenging for someone on my level of quilting. I began in 2002 and am mostly self taught. I like to find websites or books that have patterns that challenge my abilties because if I fail doing a quilt square properly I can see what I did wrong and correct my mistake myself. Don’t get me wrong I have no problem taking a class or following the instructions of a teacher or of someone who is more experienced then me. However I think I learn more when I figure it out myself.

With that said I have found a book that has helped me regain my inspiration in quilting and that book is Fons & Porter Presents Quilts from The Henry Ford. One of the reasons I was drawn to this book its historic value. For those of you who are not familiar with The Henry Ford here is a brief background. Henry Ford had a vision about history. He wanted people to learn about history from the everyday items that the average person used such as sewing machine, plows, bicycles, etc. That is when he created The Edison Institute (known today as The Henry Ford) to house all of these items in a museum setting where people could come and stay in touch with the past. Well in a nutshell that is what The Henry Ford is, a place to keep connected with our past.

I grew up going to The Henry Ford (then known as Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village) for school field trips and then later on my own and then much later with my daughter. I have always had a desire to learn history I guess that’s why I love going there so much. Well this year while there I found a book I had no idea existed even though the book has been out since 2005 and that is the book I am reviewing today.

When I first picked up the book Fons & Porter Presents Quilts from The Henry Ford I couldn’t believe my eyes. I was very familiar with the names Fons & Porter (Marianne Fon & Liz Porter) from watching there show Love of Quilting from it’s brief run on the public television station in my area. So of course I knew the book would be good. I got even more excited that the subject of the book was the quilt collection from The Henry Ford. I knew I had to have this book for my collection.

This books has wonderful full color photographs of the quilts in the collection including ones that are displayed in various houses in Greenfield Village. There is historic background of the growth of technology that helped to make life a bit easier. As well as the history of fabric and the technological advance that occurred in the fabric making process. There is also the background about the origins of patterns, how they may have gotten their names and of some of the quilt makers themselves, who by the way were everyday women just living out their daily lives. Along with the photos and historical information they have offered quilt project pages of some of the very quilts that you see in the book, so you can make your own.

The project pages are laid out in an easy to read format and they include templates for piece work and applique¢. I consider myself an advanced beginner because I had a laps in my quilting time. However there are a few of the quilts I feel that I am able to attempts and have already begun. I will be following my progress on these quilts in my blog so stay tuned.

Well that is it for my review. This is my first book review but not my last so keep a look out for more. I hope you will look for this book and try some of the projects yourself. You can find it on Amazon, on Fons & Porter’s website as well as the publisher Landauer Corporation’s website. However if you are in the Southeast Michigan area and are able to stop into The Henry Ford you can still pick this book up there. I recommend this book for any quilter who is interested in quilt history, challenging projects or just for the wonderful photography.

As I said above I have begun working on one of the quilt projects in the book. That project is the Double Wedding Ring. It is a challenge for me and I will be tracking my project so come back and see it’s progress and outcome.

Till then happy sewing.

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