Thursday, January 27, 2011

A History of Dutch Quilts-- book review

In my last post, I referred to this book, "A History of Dutch Quilts" by An Moonen.   Taken from the back cover..
This book provides a comprehensive insight into the distinctive history of Dutch quilts. It becomes clear that Dutch quilts made a contribution to the development of quilts in the United States of America. The first Dutch inhabitants of New Amsterdam, which later became New York, brought quilts with them from their mother countries in the seventeenth century. Descriptions of these quilts can still be found in the emigrants' estate inventories that have been preserved in the New York State Archives in Albany."

I first saw this book while in Fries Museum, Leeuwarden, the Netherlands, but of course, in Dutch. I just was notified in December that it finally was available in English.  Being of Dutch heritage, it was extra special to me.  My grandmother was an exquisite quilter and sad to say, I'm the only descendant of hers that quilts. I often think of her when quilting and sometimes imagine her looking down upon me from heaven, grinning from ear to ear that not only do I quilt, I have close friends in the Netherlands and travel over there quite frequently.  I haven't learned to speak the language, maybe that's next on my plate.  Anyway..back to the book...

The first half of the book is dedicated to the history of how quilts came to be, the fabrics that were used, patterns used and techniques.  The last half of the book has a collection of quilts from various museums and collections.   One was a Patchwork coverlet from around 1830.  She states in her book, "Coverlets of this kind was referred to as a bedeldeken or 'beggar's coverlet', because it was assumed that anyone who had such a variety of printed cottons at her disposal could only have come by them by begging from others."  Isn't that funny?  Now we all have our own collections! 

 Just lots of beautiful little hexagon flowers... Quilt is 71 x 80 inches. 

Another one that totally intrigued me was a patchwork quilt from Hoogeveen around 1830 and is 81 x 101 inches. And although it doesn't say how many, there are thousands of hexagons!  And we thought the Japanese started that trend!

and a closer look...

isn't is cool how it is also kind of a colorwash look as well? 

I had a hard time getting a close up picture--with the overhead light glaring and trying to hold the book with one hand and hold the camera --as still as I can-- with the other hand!  But it does let you see the tiny little hexagons. They measure 0.9 inches! Whoa.  I love to do hexagons, but don't think I'll be going that small. 

If you are a history buff at all, or like to learn as much as you can about the history of quilting, the fabrics that were available at the time, this is certainly a great book to have. I'm just thrilled that they had enough interest to publish it in English.  After all, it is part of our heritage as well. In An's words, 

"This book is the long-awaited, lavishly illustrated review for quilters, quilt lovers and everyone interested in textile history."


Beatrice said...

it's in English now ! Great news !! Thank you. I hope to purchase it soon (if I can get hold of it). Beatrice (from France)

Nana's Quilts said...

Marvelous. I met Ans in Houston in November and got my book then (she even signed it for me). I'm excited to hear more about your trip.

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