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Archive for the ‘Quilting’ Category

Memorable Stitches, A Review of Nineteenth Century American Quilt Styles

Origins:   American quilts have their origin in Europe and, not surprisingly, the quilt traditions of England greatly influenced her North American colonies.  Other early settlers contributed their quilt traditions also. To understand the general development of American quilts in the nineteenth century, a look at their English roots provides insights into popular American quilt designs. The earliest quilts in England and the European continent were wholecloth quilts, made of one fabric.  Looms were not wide enough to weave fabric of sufficient width to cover a bed, so long lengths and, sometimes, smaller pieces were seamed together.  Fabric is subject to damage from use and from the environment.  As a result most of the textiles created before 1800 have not survived; however there are a few examples of quilts dating from the late 1300s, including one from Sicily. Recently an even older European quilt has been discovered.     Wholecloth quilts:   Many wholecloth quilts were made of solid colored fabrics.  The act of quilting holds the two layers of cloth and the middle batting layer together while creating designs in the fabric that can be geometric or figural.  These designs are shown to best advantage on a quilt of one solid color. Whole cloth quilts are a long-lasting trend in quilts with a few examples still being made by today’s quilters.   Traditionally England produced fabric for clothing and room furnishings using wool and linen produced on the island.  The introduction of silk from Asia into Europe created a luxury product used in personal fashion and for quilts, available only to the wealthy classes among the British.  These silk quilts, many imported from India, were wholecloth ones.     Whitework quilts, a type of wholecloth quilt:   France, particularly its city of Marseilles, was well known for its white wholecloth quilts, called broderie Marseilles.  These quilts, often called whitework today, were stuffed and corded to give emphasis to the quilting design, which often had a central focus.  They were exported in great numbers, particularly in the 1700s. Today this type of stuffed work is often called trapunto and is practiced by skilled quilters. The addition of a cord below the top layer of the quilt is rarely seen in modern quilts.   These elegant quilts were exported from Marseilles to many countries, including England and America.  American quilters produced whitework quilts, with stuffing and cording, in imitation of the French quilts.  These were particularly popular during the Federal period of furnishings in theUnited States and remained popular…
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The Evolution Of Quilting: Quilts Then And Now

“There is no antique more expressive of our foremothers than patchwork, which, in the main, took the form of bed-quilts. Pieced or appliquéd, the quilt has been, in America, a wholly feminine creation.” ~ Ruth E. Finley (1929) Old Patchwork Quilts and the Women Who Made Them           Play with variations in color and texture for a visually appealing quilt! Weeds And Tweeds provide a twist on traditional classic fabrics.           The most traditionally feminine art form in American history is the quilt. While historical evidence suggests that quilting existed in ancient cultures such as that of China and Egypt dating back to at least 3500 BC, quilting in America is often thought of being most closely associated with America’s colonial roots.   Early American Quilting   America’s quilting traditions came courtesy of European settlers, who had become familiar with the use of quilting as a means of creating armor for soldiers in battle. At the same time, quilted clothing and quilted bed coverings (known today as “the quilt”) became popular among those who were not on the field of battle. Quilts quickly became a means of displaying handicraft talent and were decorated with a variety of intricate needlework designs. While current designs more often display pieced quilting techniques, earlier quilts were often made in the whole-cloth style, making use of a single piece of cloth, stitched with complex and beautiful designs.   American colonists brought quilting with them, though patchwork quilts most often thought of as historical designs in this country didn’t really become popular until the 18th century. After the Civil War, fabrics became more readily available, and thus patchwork quilting grew in popularity.   The Beginning Of Block Quilting   The 19th century saw the rise of block quilting (repetition of a pattern on many blocks of quilting fabric) in the United States. Block quilting offered the ability to divide the work of a quilt among many quilters who could then carry their work with them and store each block of quilting fabric separately until the squares were ready to be joined to create the fabric quilt top. As a result of the emergence of block quilting, the art of quilting became a much more social endeavor, and the so-called quilting bee arose as a popular form of social gathering for women. Not only was this a wonderful form of creating community for women, but it was also a means of sharing new patterns and designs for creating…
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Want to learn to quilt?

Diary of a Quilter has a great Beginning Quilter Series at http://www.diaryofaquilter.com/p/beginning-quilting-series.html  Amy Smart is a self described “thirty-something-year-old wife, mother and quilter.” Follow Amy’s blog as she lists supplies needed, describes how to select fabric, find patterns, cutting fabric, pressing pieced quilt, backing the quilt, quilting then binding.  I am sure I have forgotten one or two steps but Amy doesn’t.  Enjoy! Judith

Jean – QuiltVisions

July 2006 Quilt colors for summer weather: Are you ready? If spring and summer came a little late this year, you may now be experiencing a sudden riot of color in your gardens. At least this is my experience. The jacaranda tree outside my window overnight, it seems, turned from barren branches into the largest and most beautiful lavender flower mass, brilliant against a royal blue sky, the best ever despite a colder winter. My tiny garden, just outside our front entrance provided the first, somewhat elegant flowers: nine orchids on a single stem! When high school proms were a part of my life on the east coast, I always got rose corsages. Only a few ever got orchids and thus became belles of the ball. We understood that orchids were expensive and probably wouldn’t last long, but oh, how we coveted them. Fast forward to my first orchids, on a surprise plant delivered by a friend from his garden. So far, all nine are lasting well over two months, changing color a bit as it stays. Beautiful. This is just a small garden but now, all around, colors are bursting their little petals. Half a dozen miniature rose bushes, each grafted with two or more colors, have come to life in great array. Reds and pinks, oranges, apricots, and cream, yellows and corals — all cheerful and inspiring. Surrounding them like ground cover are lobelia, almost neon blues and purples, depending on the light. First time Easter lilies, planted several years ago, chose this year to burst forth all together, over a dozen large blooms. And there was gold, three golden California gold lilies, shining in profusion against a beautiful expanse of wide deep green leaves , dotted with white circles. And keeping them company, a profusion of California poppies. In back of me on the lawn, green grass is speckled with the lavender jacaranda petals, fallen there by a gentle breeze. All the colors would work beautifully in a quilt, When asked where I get ideas, certain fabrics, and sew on — whoops! — so on, I could easily, for this moment in time, say honestly, ” Why, just open the door and there they are!” True statement, but moments are moments and they change continually. Like artist Georgia O’Keeffe, when we take the time to appreciate each bloom and look deep inside and around and around, we can discover the exquisiteness God offers us and take full advantage of it. We have to be alert…
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