'Sugar Sack Quilts' by Glenna Hailey

Krause Publications £14.99

ISBN 987-0-89689-521-8 (s/b 112 pages)

This book gives a comprehensive overview of feed sacks produced between 1930 and 1960 and twelve coordinating projects using fat quarters/fat eights of original feed sack or reproduction feed sack fabrics. At this point, you are probably wondering what a feed sack actually is? In the US, in the late 1800s, wood and metal grain storage containers were replaced with fabric bags as they were much easier to move between store areas and wagons. Manufacturers produced dress-print feed sacks that were a big hit with women who recycled them into clothing and household items. The book includes swatches of fabulous florals, plaids and geometric prints in various colourways. Itís easy to see why so many bags of fl our, sugar and other staples were bought for the fabric rather than the contents.

For us in the UK, reading about this slice of US textile history is fascinating and whilst this type of fabric is likely to turn up in markets or antique shops, you always shop online (reproduction feed sack fabric is available to buy online from Genna Hailey, the author, visit www.hollyhockquilts.com). Having said that, the projects featured in the book would be ideal for any stash of lively vintage fabrics.

The book contains 12 patterns including two small wall hangings, eight medium wall hangings, one queen size quilt and one king size quilt . The designs are packed full of colour and vitality and allow the bright, cheerful prints to be seen in all their glory. I particularly liked the quilts with large sections of white, which when contrasted with bold solids, stripes and prints, worked perfectly. Rickrack braid, floral appliqué and decorative hearts are all used to embellish the quilts and fit well with the spirit of the quilts.

Sugar Sack Quilts will appeal to those with a love of colour, vintage fabrics and an interest in exploring Americaís diverse textile history.