Quilty as Charged: Undercover in a Material World

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In the United States today, there are more than twenty-two million quilters who collectively spend more than one billion dollars on quilting every year. The annual International Quilt Festival attracts more than 50,000 dedicated visitors from around the world. Festival prize money can reach $100,000. Drawn into this material world by a newspaper assignment, Spike Gillespie soon found the personalities who populate serious quiltmaking as compelling as the art itself. Quilty as Charged is not a history or how-to guide; it is a collection of many small stories, including Gillespie's, stitched together in the spirit of quilting, separate scraps made into a cohesive cloth.

Quilting today is a world of traditionalists and visionary artists, collectors and connoisseurs, and it encourages the same intrigue, innovation, and inspiration found in "fine" art. (Many of the quilts themselves hang, deservedly, in fine art museums.) Inevitably, Gillespie begins piecing together a quilt. But while her effort begins as a helpful tool for understanding her subjects, what she ultimately understands is that she, like all inspired quilters, is sewing her own pattern.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Gillespie-freelance journalist, avid knitter, novice quilter-has produced a crazy quilt in praise of the million Americans who devote endless hours to creating bedcovers or works of art from small pieces of fabric. Stitched together from her own discovery of the world of competitive quilting at the 2002 International Quilt Festival in Houston and her interviews with a spectrum of quilters, embellished with the frequent sewing pun, the book combines the exuberance of quilters with illustrations of some of their creations. In Part One, Gillespie takes us along on her first attempts at piecework. Part Two presents 16 quilters, including Jote Khalsa, a Sikh in Texas; Belgian fabric artists Inge Marddal and Steen Hougs; and Ricky Tims, the rare man in the quilting world who teaches Caveman Quilting. She tells the story of Dan Puckett, who sold a defective sewing machine to Arlene Blackburn. After she sued him, he threw bleach on her $6,500 quilt at the Quilt Fest and served six months in jail. Some interviews could have been more specific, but as the Amish say when they put deliberate mistakes into their quilts, only God is perfect. Color and b&w photos. (Oct.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780292705999
  • Publisher: University of Texas Press
  • Publication date: 10/1/2007
  • Series: The Surrealist Revolution Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 232
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Spike Gillespie is the author of Surrender (But Don’t Give Yourself Away) and three other books. Her essays and journalism have appeared in the New York Times, New York Times Magazine, Smithsonian, National Geographic Traveler, Texas Monthly, and the Dallas Morning News, among other publications. She lives in Austin, Texas.
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Table of Contents


Part I: The Mysteries of Quilting Revealed
Chapter One. Quilt Show Virgin
Chapter Two. Sew What?!
Chapter Three. Seams Challenging Enough
Chapter Four. My First Real Quilt (An Attempt)

Part II: Meet the Quilters
Chapter Five. Felonious Punk
Chapter Six. Caveman Quilting
Chapter Seven. Je Ne Sais Quilt
Chapter Eight. Another Kind of Quilting Cotton
Chapter Nine. Give Us This Day Our Dailey Thread
Chapter Ten. Meet My Famous Mother . . . er . . . Daughter
Chapter Eleven. Reaping What They Sew
Chapter Twelve. You Can't Break Rules You Don't Know
Chapter Thirteen. Peacing It Together
Chapter Fourteen. Those Who Can, Do; Those Who Can, Also Teach
Chapter Fifteen. Sewing on the River (and Everywhere Else)
Chapter Sixteen. Manly Quilt Man
Chapter Seventeen. One Quilt, One Love
Chapter Eighteen. Bee Queen
Chapter Nineteen. Binding


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