The history of quilts began long before European settlers arrived in the New World. People in nearly every part of the world had used padded fabrics for clothing, bedding, and even armor. With the arrival of the English and Dutch settlers in North America, quilting took on a new life and flourished.
The term "quilt" comes from the Latin "culcita", meaning a "stuffed sack". The word has come to have 2 meanings. It is used as noun, meaning the 3-layer stitched bedcovering. It is also used as a verb, meaning the act of stitching through the 3 layers to hold them together.
A quilt is a cloth sandwich, with a top, which is usually the decorated part, a back, and a filler in the middle. Under the general term of patchwork are of 3 different types of quilts: (1) the plain or whole cloth quilt, (2) appliqué quilts, and (3) pieced or patchwork quilts.
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.
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. The patched quilt eventually became patterned and these designs were given distinctive names among family. Pattern names were based on common items or events such as "Log cabin" or "Maple Leaf" and "Shoo Fly". 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.
Members of rural communities frequently joined together to help their neighbors with big projects, such as barn building or finishing quilts. The quilting bee was a social event that allowed the finishing of several quilts in a single day instead of weeks or months. Today we do not have a traditional quilting bee, we have guilds that meet on a regular basis. Here at THE HENDERSON, Marion's Heritage Quilt Guild meets every Monday from 10 am to 2 pm in our quilting room. Bring your quilt or sewing projects, knitting or crocheting and join this wonderful group of artisans for friendship and support.
Sylvia Richardson, Karen Chamberlain, and Jackie Perry are only three among our growing faculty. To request a particular class or schedule a time to visit, please contact us through phone (276.706.4009) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org).