Quilting: A Little History on a Classic Craft
May 16, 2011
“Make the most of what you’ve got” – there’s a saying that’s truly at the heart of the American spirit. And what pastime embodies that spirit more than quilting?
Quilting in America is as commonplace as it is diverse – it’s been practiced by all sorts of folks since the 18th century, with the Baltimore, Amish, Native American and Hawaiian traditions being quite renowned. The need for warm bedding was usually the reason for the craft, and due to the high price of imported fabric, people decided to just make the best of what they had. Using discarded fabric and older, more worn bedding, quilters would weave this scrap material into fantastic and colorful geometric patterns, making unique and artful coverings that families could cherish for generations.
Necessity always being the mother of invention, the need for inexpensive and warm bedding gave rise to an original American art form. Quilting bees have been important community events throughout the country for decades. For many, the quilting craft is as much a family heirloom as the quilts themselves, and techniques are often taught to children by their parents and grandparents.
If quilting is a craft you want to take on, don’t be intimidated by those master quilts you’ll see in museums; there are scores of different quilting you can take on, both big and small! You can find (and make!) a wide array of different quilts, incorporating unique approaches, patterns and styles. Contemporary quilting projects can open up a whole new world of ideas. Your imagination is the limit!
So what are you waiting for? Get stitchin’!