Thursday, July 9, 2015

5 Cool (and True) Things About Handmade Quilts

5 Cool (and True) Things About Handmade Quilts

Quilted Wall Hanging: Celtic Knotwork Free Shipping

You don’t need to be a handmade enthusiast, or degreed art lover, to appreciate the beauty of handmade quilts!

Handmade Rose Floral T-Block Quilt

Whether used as home decor, or warmth, a handmade quilt is a one of a kind, never exactly reproduced, piece of art … and history.

The beautiful handmade work we see today has a fascinating past.  To think that the patching and weaving of yesteryear has turned into what’s being hand made today is both cool and often awe-inspiring!

Quilt: Sails and Stars

You can’t go wrong with handmade quilts as gifts.  

Whether to celebrate a rite of passage (turning 18, graduating college, etc) or as THE gift that’s going to wow anyone who receives it … for an engagement, wedding, baby shower, special birthday … you know that no one else is going to match your gift giving!

Embroidered Heart Modern Wedding  Quilt

Basic History of Handmade Quilts:

During the early years of American colonization, most Colonial women were busy spinning, weaving, and sewing the clothes for their family, so had little time for artistic quilting. 

Commercial blankets or woven coverlets were more likely to be used, but during difficult times, when money was scarce or imported textiles limited, many Colonial women had to become creative in their use of materials on hand to keep their families warm during the cold seasons.

Those early settlers could not afford to simply discard things when they wore out; necessity required they carefully use their resources. Therefore, when blankets became worn, they were patched, combined with other blankets, or used as filler between other blankets. 

These were not carefully constructed heirlooms, rather they were functional items for the sole purpose of keeping people warm. Only in later years, when fabrics were being manufactured in America and were more affordable, freeing women from the work of making their own yarns and fabrics, did the more artistic type of quilting become more widespread.

5 Cool (and True) Things About Handmade Quilts

1.  The quilt, as we know it in America, was originally a strictly utilitarian article, born of the necessity of providing warm covers for beds. Quilts were also used as hangings for doors and windows that were not sealed well enough to keep out the cold. The earliest American quilts, made by English and Dutch settlers, were so intimately connected to everyday life of the early colonists that no record of them exists.

2.  In the 100 years between 1750 and 1850 thousands of quilts were pieced and patched, and many of them are preserved. Many of these quilts were so elaborate that years were spent making and quilting them. It is no wonder they are cherished as precious heirlooms and occupy honored places in homes and museums. Those early quilts provide a glimpse into the history of quilting as well as the history of the United States.

3.  As the frontier was conquered, living conditions improved. With prosperity and the availability of more materials, quilts became less austere. The patchwork quilt was a "utility" quilt, in contrast to the applique quilt which was a "best" or show quilt, upon which time and material was lavished. 

4.  During the 1800s in many parts of the country there was a custom that a young girl make a baker's dozen of quilt tops before she became engaged. This collection consisted of 12 utility quilts, undoubtedly pieced, and 1 great quilt, which was either a pieced or applique quilt, for her bridal bed. After her engagement, she would take final steps to turn her tops into finished quilts. 

Another custom was for mothers to make several quilts for each of her children to have when they left home to start life as adults. A variation of this custom continues to this day as quilters continue to make heirloom quilts for their children or grandchildren 

5.  During World War 2, quilting was used to raise money to support the Red Cross. The “signature quilt” was especially popular. In a signature quilt, business people, store owners, and citizens of a community would pay a small fee to have their names embroidered on quilt blocks. The blocks were sewn together and quilted, and the finished quilt was raffled off with all proceeds going to the Red Cross. These quilts are now fascinating community records.

For an amazing array of handmade quilting, please check out these shops!

Want to try YOUR hand at making quilts?  These shops have patterns for very beginners to very experienced:

Post a Comment