Within the last number of years, I have devoted much time to learning about the southern French needleart of boutis. Aside from describing the technique, I have also learned much about the rich heritage and tradition of this craft from books. Learning about the history of French needlework has made me understand the importance of the design of a quilt. With information that I have retrieved from books, I feel that it has added a new dimension and significance to the things that I make.
"Piecework" is one of the few magazines I subscribe to. Each issue has articles and stories describing the rich history of different types of needlework from around the world. Some recent articles were about the Bayeaux tapestry in France, the handwork described in novels by Jane Austen, Fanny Burney, Charlotte Bronte, etc., the history of Estonian lace, Chinese embroidery, etc.. A great read for a rainy, dark Sunday afternoon.
"Selvedge" magazine is another favourite. It is informative of the contemporary fibre art scene, and often discusses the history of a specific technique as well. The photography and style of the magazine itself is a work of art.
"Mastering Precision Piecing" by Sally Collins is an excellent how-to on piecing. The Quilt Show, an on-line quilting program (www.thequiltshow.com), recently made Sally's accompanying video available for all of it's members. It was one of the best classes in piecing that I have seen, and is meant both for new quilters as well as more experienced quilters who have perhaps given up precision for speed. A very good remedial class.
"Piece by Piece" is by award winning quilter Sharon Schamber. Her quilts are amazing! The intricacy of her designs and the precision workmanship is worth a study.
Discussing quilts and the women who made them in 19th century America is "Hearts and Hands: The Influence of Women and Quilts on American Society" by Pat Ferrero, Elaine Hedges and Julie Silber. I have not yet had time to read this book, but it looks very intriguing and includes some great photography of life in the 19th century as well as photos of 19th century quilts.
Since beginning my study of boutis, Kathryn Berenson's book, "Quilts of Provence: The Art and Craft of French Quiltmaking", has been my textbook. Much of my interest in boutis, as well as much of what I have learned, comes from this book.
"Marseille: The Cradle of White Corded Quilting" is her newest book on the history this French needlework, focussing on "white corded quiting", or boutis. It is already a new favourite of mine.