A Common Question:
Part 2 - I have been asked many times what textile references I have found helpful. That all depends on the textile involved...
For Quilts -
Anything by Barbara Brackman:
"Clues in the Calico"
"Encyclopedia of Applique"
"Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns"
"Patchwork Souvenirs of the 1933 Chicago World's Fair"
"Textile Designs" by Meller & Elffers
"Dating Fabrics" by Eileen Trestain
"American Quilts" by Miller
"Vintage Quilts" by Bobbie Aug, Sharon Newman, & Gerald Roy
"Antique Quilts & Textiles" by Bobbie Aug & Gerald Roy
"Old Patchwork Quilts" by Ruth Finley
"Historic Quilts" by Florence Peto
This is a very abbreviated list. If you are looking to research a specific quilt type, there are many books out that specialize in Amish Quilts, Chintz Quilts, Crazy Quilts, and more.
Feature Article: "Collecting Quilts"
They say "two of anything, is a collection". I started making my own quilts in 1994, my now husband had taken a second job to help pay for the wedding and I needed a hobby to keep me out of trouble. I saw a little old lady in HGTV's "Simply Quilts" making these wonderful quilts, and she made them so fast and with such ease, I just knew I could do that…that lady's name was Mary Ellen Hopkins. I made my first quilt in a matter of weeks, it was a small Log Cabin Quilt. I have been quilting ever since. But as I sat there and pieced my Double Irish Chain, or my daughter's SunBonnet Sue in 1930s reproduction fabrics, many questions popped into my head…where did these patterns come from, why were pastels so prominent in the Depression Era…and so began my love of quilt history and collecting Antique Quilts.
First, Collect what you love…never mind what the trends or fads are…if the quilt is singing to you, then take it home with you (believe me, it will be the "one that got away" story if you don't).
Second, Collect the best you can afford. Always strive for the best condition. Condition is very objective so be sure to always inspect the quilt carefully. Make sure you can live with any tears, split seams, or spots.
Be sure to care, store, and display your quilts properly. You can find tips for doing so on my website here.
My first quilt purchase was 4 years ago, a quilt top from the 1970s, pink and brown…the pink was a polyester…but with 2 baby girls, pink was on my mind and I had to have it. I paid $20 for that top and display it on my quilt rack today. I still am drawn to pink quilts…a love my pink and green 1930s Orange Peel Quilt…and I am presently hand quilting a top from the 1880s made with Double Pinks and Overdyed Greens. Buy what you love…but that's also the problem with selling what you love…it's so hard to part with such sweet treasures.