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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Beyond the Book: Quilting 101

Hello and welcome to Beyond the Book, Elaine's way of giving you glimpses into the lives of characters you've grown to love.  My name is Kara Cochrane, and I was Elaine's heroine in Her Kind of Man.  One thing my mother-in-law and I have in common is a love of quilts.  She's the one who taught me how to make them.  Here's a little quilting 101.


People have used quilts for many, many years.  They’ve been used for clothes, bedding, and even as armor.  .The oldest quilted clothing ever found covered a carved ivory figure of a pharaoh who lived during the Egyptian First Dynasty.  That would be somewhere around 3400 B.C. In 1924 archaeologists discovered a quilted floor covering in Mongolia that they estimate date from the first century B.C to the second century A.D.  Crusaders brought quilts to Europe during the Crusades.  Knights wore them under their armor for comfort and sometimes used them to protect their armor from the elements.

When colonists came to the new world they brought knowledge of quilting with them.  The oldest quilt in America dates from 1704.  It’s a pieced quilt known as the Saltonstall quilt.  We know exactly how old it is because during colonial days, people sometimes pieced newspaper to see how the quilt would do before they used their expensive fabric.  One quilter put the paper between the two outer layers, and when the outer cover wore away, a dated newspaper was underneath.

Quilts were of great significance in the New World.  Conditions were harsh without central heat, so quilts kept people warm.  They were also used as wall hangings in drafty homes.  Most of the quilts were utilitarian, not works of art.  They were mostly pieced quilts too.  Fabric was too precious to waste, so every scrap was saved and used for something else, including quilts.  Of course, as time went on and people grew more prosperous, they could purchase new fabric.  They could put their artistic tendencies to work too.  Quilts became works of art.

They satisfied an important social impulse as well.  Women loved getting together to quilt at quilting bees.

For a time, quilting lost popularity, but during recent years it has made a big resurgence.  Not only do many people make quilts at home, you can also buy them at many department and specialty stores.

There are three types of quilts.  Here’s an example of a pieced quilt.

 File:Quilt with triangle pattern.jpg

 

This is an appliqué quilt.  In this quilt small appliqués are stitched to the top which is of one piece.

 

File:Hawaiian Applique Quilt detail.jpg
 
Whole piece cloth quilts are sometimes called counterpanes.  They are made of two whole pieces of fabric.  You quilt designs into the fabric.


File:Les dorlotines.JPG
 
So far I've only done a pieced quilt, but my next project is a whole cloth quilt like the one in the picture above.

Did you see the video Elaine did for Her Kind of Man?  Scroll down to watch it.  It'll tell you where to buy my book.  :)
 

 Picture credits:

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Hawaiian_Applique_Quilt_detail.jpg



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