Get your crafting hat on, because today we’re looking at a new book due to be released by the V&A next month to celebrate the Quilts 1700-2010 exhibition. Author Sue Prichard is Curator of Contemporary Textiles at the V&A, and has put together a handy little guide with some simple projects to get you started if you’re a patchwork virgin.

The book starts with a brief history of patchwork in Britain, followed by a useful list of all the bits and bobs you’ll need to get started on your own patchwork creations. The projects are straightforward with simple step-by-step instructions and handy templates at the back – choose to make a lovely hexagon patchwork pincushion, a square patchwork cushion cover, an appliqué (Mwah ha ha, WordPress, I have finally worked out how to get an accent!) cushion, or a cot coverlet.

Here are some pics from the book – hexagonal ceramic tiles that echo patchwork patterns, and vintage Liberty & Co printed cotton fabrics. I like the little snippets of history throughout this craft book. Prichard has found references to patchwork in Jane Austen’s letters, old editions of Sylvia’s Home Journal, and in various works of literature, and has sprinkled these fascinating and sometimes amusing quotations throughout the book which makes it a really interesting read. There are also photographs of various patchwork items from the past which we will no doubt see in the exhibition when it opens.

This is a great little book and brilliantly written, but some of the photography is a bit low-budget – don’t expect a visual feast. However, it only costs £7.99, and it’s inspired me to FINALLY make a patchwork quilt, so I’m sold! Sue Prichard has written another book to accompany the exhibition called Quilts – hidden histories, untold stories so I’ll be keeping my eye out for that too. – Ellie


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