Quilts evoke the past - they stimulate our earliest memories of security and comfort and resonate with historical and cultural references challenging the assumption that stitching is simply 'women's work'. Using stunning new photography, this book explores the personal and social histories which reveal the maker's complex engagement with the wider world. The myths and narratives handed down with each intricately pieced patchwork and stitched whole cloth are as much a part of our heritage as the silks, velvets and cottons which document our textile history. Primary sources, such as inventories, diaries and letters add context to the personal narratives documented by the quilts, exploring responses to marriage, childbirth, love and loss. The book includes contemporary material to show how artists such as Grayson Perry and Tracey Emin respond to the tradition of quilt making.