A Must-Have Book

Yes, a must-have book. Yes, yes, I do love books, but really, this one book is one you’ll want to own.

The mail came early today, for a change, and I am so glad it did! My copy of Quilts Presidential and Patriotic was in it. Oh, happy day!

Why am I so excited? Sue Reich wrote this book, and if you have read any of her others (she has, to date, written nine, I believe), you’ll know that she is an oustanding author. Sue’s research is thorough, and her scholarship is sound and solid.

Sue and I are longtime friends, but even if we were not, I would still champion her efforts. I became aware of Sue’s research when I was really starting to delve into textile history. The first book I bought that she worked on (with the other members of the Connecticut Quilt Project) was Quilts and Quiltmakers: Covering Connecticut, way back in 2001. It remains one of my most-trusted favorites.

I am honored to have a quilt in this book (and even on the cover–look in the lower left corner). The president I chose was Zachary Taylor.

Book Zachary Taylor

While I was researching a possible tie from Zachary Taylor to a quilt I was studying, I was also adding to my own family’s history files. One evening I realized that the reason so many of the names in the Taylor file sounded familiar was that they were in my own family tree. I dug a bit further and found that I am distantly related to him. He is a second cousin six times removed. (See? Told ya! Distant!) But in that moment, Zachary Taylor became my president. When the opportunity to make a quilt honoring him came, I was all in.

Since the book just came, I’ve not had time yet to read it, but already I’m having a hard time resisting the urge to do nothing else today. Just flipping through it tells me that, once again, Sue has done an exemplary job. The books contains everything I love: well-researched history, interesting antique quilts, and fun new ones. It is fascinating to see how Sue pulled together the work of so many different quilters to create an amazingly cohesive whole. Well done, Sue!

I’ll report back after I’ve spent some time with the book, but in the meantime, I will urge you to go buy a copy. If you are at all interested in historic quilts, the presidents, or textile history, you will agree that it truly is a must-have.

The newly-made quilts have already hung in a couple of venues but have just begun their run. Look for them at the Rotary exhibit in Paducah this April, and after that at the New England Quilt Museum (Lowell, Massachusetts). If you are a member of AQSG, they will hang at seminar in Arizona in September, and after that at the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum (Golden, Colorado). I will look forward to seeing them all together, and hope you’ll find an opportunity to do the same.

Full disclosure: I did receive my copy of this book free, but that has no bearing on my enthusiasm for it. I received my copy for participating in the challenge, and I couldn’t have been happier to be able to participate!

  • shelly

    Thanks for mentioning that the quilts will be in Paducah — I’m going, so I hope to catch the exhibit there!

    • Lori East

      Oh, good! I’m going too, but probably only for a quick day trip. I forgot to make reservations!

      The quilts will be at the Rotary. I can’t wait to see them all hanging together!

  • Bill V.

    I like your quilt. Good job!

    • Lori East

      Thanks, Bill! It was a fun one. I even hand-quilted it! 🙂