Quilts have been around for a long time but they started out as a necessity. They were made of old clothing, ragged blankets, or whatever fabric the pioneers could find. I guess you could call it, early recycling. If they were wealthy enough or lucky enough to get hold of some nice fabric then those quilts turned into beautiful artistic treasures that were handed down through the generations. All the piecing and quilting was done by hand and could take years to make depending on the designs. These quilts were made of many different blocks or one or two of the same blocks
The “blocks” as they are called all had specific names and for the most part those names have survived and not changed much since their inception. There are always new ones that creative quilters come up with but your traditional blocks are still the same, like the Churn Dash, Pinwheel, Rail Fence, 9 Patch, the various stars and my favorite, the Log Cabin.
Quilts were made for different occasions. Like for a wedding, for a new baby, or just because! But during the Civil War, they were made to help direct escaping black slaves to the next safe house on the Underground Railroad. These quilts were made of one pattern. A pattern that would tell the slaves if that house would give refuge, or food, or a warning that slave catchers were nearby. I’ve heard some people say this isn’t true. Knowing quilters, I would like to believe these stories are true.
Today quilts are a work of art that are mostly made by machine piecing and machine quilting. Piecing is now much easier using the wonderful sewing machines that we own today. They can be made with new modern fabrics and designs, but I guess I’m still a traditionalist. I like the traditional looking fabrics and block designs. This is what I teach. I want my students to learn the tradition and terminology first and then they can fly in any direction their creativity will take them. .
If you would like to know more about quilts and their history, there are a lot of very interesting books you can read. Better yet, get into a quilt class and learn for yourself how much fun making a quilt can be.
Until next time ………
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