Ph.D. Student Rachel May Publishes Quilting Book

image-1 This past January, Ph.D. candidate Rachel May celebrated the publication of her first book, Quilting with a Modern Slant: People, Patterns, and Techniques Inspiring the Modern Quilting Community.

An exciting and valuable resource for quilters and potential quilters alike, Rachel’s book opens with instructions for making a quilt that even beginners will feel confident following. An illustrated, easy-to-follow, how-to guide, “Six Steps to a Quilt” introduces many tips, tutorials, and offers advice for quilters of all skill levels. Sections of the book discuss quilting in connection to history, politics, and sociopolitical issues surrounding a number of topics, such as domesticity and quilting’s gendered history.

[br] While the book provides brief historical accounts of quilting, Rachel’s main focus, as the title suggests, is to expose the reader to the modern quilting community. Rachel associates modern quilting with experimentation and urges quilters to keep things fresh, whether by using hand-dyed fabrics or through incorporating discarded natural materials into quilting projects.

More than an instruction manual, Quilting with a Modern Slant invites possibility for boundless creativity. As readers, we’re introduced to more than seventy members of the quilting community– a community that embraces improvisation and promotes a sense of play in its work. One of the greatest pleasures of reading this book is the feeling of being welcomed into that world. Each of the book’s diverse quilters invites us to glimpse their work and, in doing so, challenges us to try new things—whether it’s a new style, pattern, color palette, or arrangement.

Rachel extends the invitation into the quilting community further by encouraging readers to interact with other quilters at shows, by taking classes, attending local meetings, or by exploring the many possibilities online communities have to offer. She also shares her own early experiences as a quilter and how she first got started, taking us from what she refers to as a “hodgepodge” first attempt to practicing more complex skills and learning from patterns. Through stories like these, Quilting with a Modern Slant expresses great enthusiasm for the larger quilting community.

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