Sunday, June 14, 2009

Quilty as Charged: Undercover in a Material World—a book review



I’m not good at reviewing books, and even though I read somewhere in the neighborhood of 100 books a year, I rarely try to review them.   But, I’m going to make an exception.


Spike Gillespie, (yes, it’s a she!) was introduced to the world of quilting at the Houston International Quilt Festival in 2002.  What started out as a story assignment for her newspaper, turned into a..well, love is too strong a word, let’s just say an admiration for quilting and quilters.

Did you know that there are 22 million quilters in the US, and that they spend over 1 billion dollars a year.  Wow.  We’ve come a long way from the days when women made quilts out of scraps and the only artistry was in their use of colors and fancy stitches.

The story about the festival turned into interviews with 16 different quilters, of all genres.  Their is a crazy quilter, there is an award winning male quilter, there are art quilters, painted quilters, and several other quilting styles that I wasn’t aware of before now.

She includes the story of the irate vender who threw bleach on an award winning quilt, worth $6500, and did a stretch in jail.

The book was filled with interesting people, and some great photos, although I wished for more pictures.  The trick of putting in a color picture of a quilt, then using the same photo in black and white later in the book was a bit irritating.  I understand the reason for b & w, but I wish she had used a different picture. 

While I enjoyed the book because it is a subject that interests me, it wasn’t the best written book I’ve read recently.  I think she couldn’t hit a happy medium between writing a newspaper story, writing a blog, and writing a book.  It was a little loose and wandering sometimes, but she did a nice job with the individual stories.

I give it 8 of 10 stars, mostly because I enjoyed this new look at quilting.

This was a library book, so it isn’t registered on BookCrossing.

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