Reviewing Books

Nope, this isn’t a book review. It’s just a few thoughts about my own quilting/textile library. You’ve seen the picture below of my one bookcase, shelf bowed by the weight. Each shelf has about 24″ of space, and it was full.

I have a rule, though. That’s IT. That’s as much space as my books get. As said before, I want to be in control of my stuff. I don’t want my stuff to control me. Since I add several books to my collection every year, to stay within the confines of that bookcase, some need to go away.

My book shelf was empty, having been moved to wash walls. When I put it back, I turned the bowed shelf over. As I put the books back last night and today, I reviewed them. I looked at each one, considering whether or not they were worth their shelf space. (Okay, I’m analytical, but in truth I didn’t think about it like that. I just thought about whether they were useful to me or not.) A surprising number were not.

For those left, I made sure one of my name/address stickers was placed inside the cover. And I updated my spreadsheet that I use to keep inventory. Each is recorded by title, author, publication date, and category of book. Why keep track? There are hundreds of dollars worth of books in that little case. If bad things happened and I needed to make an insurance claim, I want a record of them.

My history books. Best? American Quilts by Robert Shaw. Worst? Hidden in Plain View.

Eighty-one books made the cut. The largest portions of them are on quilt history and what I consider to be pattern books. I have nine books on quilt design. Eight books are on medallion quilts or borders. Two of those are not very good, but I keep them because there are so few books specifically on these topics.

My small quilt group is doing a used book exchange for our holiday meeting. I’ll save one or two of the discarded books for that. The rest will go to our local Mennonite relief thrift store.

What’s in your quilt book library? Do you sort it regularly like you might a clothes closet? Are there items that no longer fit or are no longer your style?

What do you do with books and other quilty items you no longer need? Do you pass them on to other quilters?

 

 

Advertisements

18 thoughts on “Reviewing Books

  1. andimc13

    I just did a similar exercise when I was looking for books to use in a blog giveaway. I need to be more ruthless because I only found a few I was ready to let go.

    Like

    Reply
    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      I go in stages on some. I may look at a book a dozen times, each time thinking that I’m about done with it before I’m finally ready. This time I am getting rid of 12, keeping 81. So it’s about 13% that are going away. Of course, I’m getting one for my birthday, and there will be a couple new ones for Christmas… I’m never really short of books. And wonderfully enough, my guild has a collection of more than 250 books to choose from. As the “head” librarian the past few years, I added a lot of really great titles there, too! So I know where to go when I need to find something. šŸ™‚

      Like

      Reply
  2. Yanic A.

    Great follow up post to your “state of my stash” post. For myself, I have so little quilt books. I have about 1 year’s worth of magazines (Quilting Arts, Love of Quilting & Quiltmaker) an I don’t think I will renew any of them. I figure, by the time I go through all of them, a few years will have gone by. I can renew then.Most of my sewing books are books on recycled projects, miniatures, Zakka Style… they have quilting and patchwork in them, but I honestly don’t think I have one single straight forward quilting book… is that weird???

    Like

    Reply
    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      I think I only have 1 subscription left, and I won’t renew it. It just doesn’t add value any more. I flip through and then am done.

      As to weird, … ? You tell me. šŸ˜€

      Like

      Reply
  3. TextileRanger

    I just counted and I have approximately 200 books on art, the textile crafts, and textile history, and 35 more e-books on those subjects! But I have always felt I NEED to buy those books because the libraries around here have so few books on those topics. I do pass them on from time to time but most of them are so packed with information that there is still more I can learn from them. But my November project is trying out techniques I’ve saved from quilting magazines, so maybe I will at least be able to get rid of some magazine pages. šŸ™‚

    Like

    Reply
    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      I think there is a difference… Reference books aren’t necessarily easily replaced. Eye candy is a dime a dozen. And patterns are often easy to replicate. So the pattern books I still have are those that offer something unique. The history books are my reference books. (And really, 200 doesn’t seem like a BIG number to me. It’s just too big for my personal library!)

      Like

      Reply
  4. Joanna

    Ah, books, my downfall. I have approximately 50 quilt/fiber related books. Most of them I use at least once a month. Fewer and fewer are pattern books. I’ve given those away as my tastes have changed. What remains are books about techniques or inspiration, plus a few quilt collection related books. I check out new books bought by my public library, and decide if I want to purchase a copy. That has saved me a lot of money as some books just aren’t worth the hype or I just want a few pages (which I can scan.)

    And I’ve really whittled down my magazines. If there’s nothing I want to keep in a new magazine I take it to a guild meeting where I know it will get snapped up.

    Like

    Reply
    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      That sounds like how I work, too. We have a pretty good collection in the public library, and also in the guild library. So there are resources available if I want them. I have a number of books that I own, which I finally decided to buy only after checking them out multiple times. And yes, the books I have are ones I actually use. A couple of pretty pictures is not enough!

      Like

      Reply
  5. KerryCan

    I don’t even know what’s in my quilt library anymore. I got into quilting a long time ago and bought most of my books then–I doubt most of them are very relevant now. I need to take your approach and pass some of them along to a new owner!

    Like

    Reply
    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      For me it’s easy enough to work on it over a day or two. But it’s the kind of task that can be broken into a few minutes at a time, too. The real challenge is to stay ON task, instead of just getting immersed in a book!

      Like

      Reply
  6. Thread crazy

    A few years ago I went through my sewing magazines (Threads, Sew Easy, etc), kept a couple and called the local high school and donated to the Home/Sewing class. Teacher was thrilled to receive and I was glad to pass on to the younger students. I’ve since gone through my quilt magazines which I only took 2, (now only 1), and pass along to my quilting bee. As far as books goes, I have just a few, but as I do go through them, I donate to our local library as they have a resale program and it helps the library in the long run. The few books I have mainly are of patterns and techniques that I want to try. Since I volunteer twice a month at the library and process all new books, I get first dibs on any new quilting books. No need to go buy them for me!

    Like

    Reply
    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      Sounds like you have a system in place!

      I can donate books through our libraries, my guild, Goodwill or Salvation Army, or the Mennonite store. Because there ARE quilters who frequent the Mennonite store, that’s where the guild takes books, and where I do, as well. And I’ve found a couple books to buy there, also… šŸ™‚

      Like

      Reply
  7. Beatrice

    Hello, I should “take a leaf from your book” as the British say and “review” my books too.
    I’d be interested to know which books you own on medallion quilts. I love them too!
    I’ve got Jinny Beyer’s Medallion Quilts; Gwen Marston’s Liberated Medallion Quilts, Cindy Vermilion Hamilton’s Medallion Quilts (Inspiration and Patterns). I’d also include in the list Making Welsh Quilts (the Textile Tradition that Inspired the Amish?) by Mary Jenkins and Clare Claridge and the pattern for Alexia Abegg’s Marcelle Medallion quilt (from a magazine but you can also find it in her book Liberty Love). I think I’m missing Classic English Medallion Style Quilts by Bettina Havig. Any other you’d like to recommend? Thank you!

    Like

    Reply
    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      I have the books by Beyer, Marston, and Havig. I don’t own Hamilton’s but my guild owns it, and I check it out fairly often. I haven’t heard of the Welsh quilts book.

      I’ve searched high and low. There are not other books that are specifically about medallions, AND that discuss medallion design rather than just offering a pattern or two. Sally Collins’ book on borders is very good, but it isn’t a medallions book per se. Sounds like you have them all already!

      Like

      Reply
  8. OSuzyQuilts

    I have two magazines and three books I didn’t inherit from my mom when she passed. I never thought I would use all her books, but now wish I had kept them all. Still, I have around 20 or 30. I don’t really use the patterns in them so much as look for assistance when I have an idea.

    Like

    Reply
    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      It’s so helpful to have some resources right at hand. Great as it is to look things up on the computer, there are some things a few of my books offer that I’ve never seen online. And I’ve paged through all of them often enough to have a pretty good idea of what is in them.

      AND how wonderful for you that you have your mom’s books. I’d love to have my mom’s costume design books, and some of those. Not because I ever sew costumes, but because they were hers… šŸ™‚

      Like

      Reply

I love your comments!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s