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Finding Women in History Through Sewing

GREAT WOMEN KNOWN FOR THEIR SEWING SKILLS!

Of late, I have become fascinated with historical fiction novels that accurately depict the story of little known women in the midivil ages up through the American Civil War.  I love the ways that they work the everyday details of their lives into the stories and how you get to see how much the little things like their sewing and tapestry work influenced their households and even nations.  So much of women’s history is recorded in the sewing, knitting and the other household tasks that they did, even and perhaps especially that done by women of royal and noble households whose work was much better recorded.  It is a great shame that for much of the history of humanity, women have not had the opportunities afforded them to read or write that their male counterparts did, but more & more historians and writers are piecing together the lives of these great women through the work of their hands, noble and common.

In a number of posts here, I will share some research that I have done on one sewing technique or another that I have been introduced to in these historical novels (all categorized under HISTORY OF QUILTING).  Today it’s BLACKWORK EMBROIDERY- also known as SPANISH EMBROIDERY because it was brought to England by Cathrine of Aragon, the first wife of the infamous King Henry VIII.

Blackwork embroidery was something that I first became aware of when reading Philippa Gregory’s novel, “The Constant Princess,” which is the very sad, but absolutely entrancing tale of Cathrine of Aragon. (Note: this is an affiliate link.  If you purchase the book through Amazon, I may get a small commission from the sale.)

“The Constant Princess” begins by diving into some of the conquests of Cathrine of Aragon’s parents, King Ferdinand & Queen Isabella of Spain during Cathrine’s childhood.  I was fascinated by the description of how they took the palace at Alhambra from the Nasrid Kingdom of Granada (Arabs/Turks to my understanding) in what is now known as the Reconquista- (translated re-conquest).  I never knew much detail of the Christian Pilgrimages to take back land in or around the Middle East that had fallen to non-believers, being Jews and Arabs, but this telling gives the reader a some idea of what they were like & why they were fought.

The battles that Cathrine- the Infanta of Spain- saw her mother take part in and plan as a child shaped her for her role as Queen of England.  This book paints a picture of the warmth of the Spanish/Arab lands as well as the intelligence of the native people- their knowledge of mathematics & medicine- of cleanliness & regular bathing, which she finds rather lacking when she goes to England!  It also shows how her mother, Queen Isabella was every inch the ruler that her father King Ferdinand was, & how she had just as much to do with the conquests of their reign as he did.  Gregory’s book paints Isabella as a strong and decisive woman who prepared her daughters to be, not only queens, but rulers & even conquerers!

SEWING IS FOR THE SOFT & THE STRONG

The story interweaves the strength of decisive women born to lead with the ability to still be associated with those things which we think of as soft & feminine, such as sewing & fine embroidery.  Queen Cathrine lead an army to victory & ruled a country in her husband’s absence (covered in the book).  She was the rod that kept him straight & on an even course for nearly 2 decades.  He only falters when he veers away from her.  She could do all of that- & influence a sewing style that would grace nearly every fabric surface in England & beyond for 200 years.

In our modern world, we tend to separate the strong women built for leadership roles from traditional crafts, like sewing and quilting, that are considered “soft & feminine.”  We have decided that any traditional art represents the weakness & subjugation of women, but they don’t have to.  Strong women can quilt.  Women who lead can sew.  One does not deter the other…

QUILTING MAKES US STRONG

This is a bit of a soapbox for me, I suppose.  There was a video going around Facebook recently of a female Astronaut who was quilting in space.  (Awesome, right?!?)  I was dismayed & quite angry to find that she was utterly & completely ATTACKED by other women online for it!  Quilting was something she loved, something she was good at- & something she was scientifically testing to see how her hobby was different in space as opposed to on earth with gravity- and there were women there beating her down for it because it was a traditional craft.  Fortunately, there were many more women from a worldwide quilting family who were happy to jump in & try to help problem solve + offer encouragement & support.  They poured out a myriad of solutions & ideas for the road blocks she was running into with plenty of encouragement & admiration.  That’s what I love about quilting- everyone trades ideas & encourages one another.  That’s what women should do.  Quilting & sewing doesn’t make us weak- it makes us strong.

Back to the book!

The author often describes the daily activities of the women in Queen Catherine’s household- the sewing they did for the Church & for charity, as well as for babies to be born & family.  It is interesting to note that making things- particularly beautiful & highly skilled sleeves, embellishments & tapestries was the work of queens & noblewomen.  It was the work of women in leadership positions!  I also loved how the author noted the way these things were received when given as gifts & the difference a handmade gift could make in someone’s life- even someone as rough as King Henry.

Greggory notes that one of Henry’s favorite gifts from Catherine was a shirt with blackwork embroidery.  It was unusual to the English court, but quite beautiful & prized- a gift of culture as well as labor & love.

If we look at the history books, we can see that Henry was not the only person impressed with her native embroidery patterns & skills.  Blackwork embroidery spread quickly throughout the English court, decorating sleeves, hems, caps, shirts, and even cushions.  It was comprised of geometric stitches sometimes filling in floral outlines.  It can now be seen in more colors than just black- hence the name has shifted to reference the stitching style & not just the black thread on white cotton or linen design that it began as.

The painter Hans Holbein the younger- famous in King Henry VIII’s court at the end of Queen Cathrine’s reign & into that of Anne Boleyn’s- apparently also influenced the craft as the Holbein stitch (often used in blackwork) is named after him.

(Blackwork Embroidery Holbein Stitch on Shirt of Hans Holbein)

Blackwork embroidery seems to have reached its height of fashion during Queen Elizabeth’s reign a generation later.  It can be seen in paintings on dresses covering the sleeves, skirt, & bodice of many upperclass women as well as the queen herself.  When I look at pictures like that & think of how many hours it would take to stitch such intricate designs into a huge skirt or sleeve I can understand why it was a symbol of wealth.  Hans Holbein, the painter that one of the blackwork stitches is known for, by comparison only has blackwork stitching on his collar!

EXAMPLES:

Queen Elizabeth Blackwork Dress

Mary Cornwallis Blackwork Dress

PRE-CATHRINEIAN BLACKWORK

I wonder, but haven’t yet found examples of what Blackwork embroidery looked like before Cathrine of Aragon brought it to England.  I suspect that it has some Arab origins or influence because “The Constant Princess” references the geometry & mathematical knowledge of the natives of her country.  Many of the native patterns that were there prior to the Spanish Conquests were geometric in nature & Greggory’s book paints Catherine as one who LOVED the native culture of her land- including the geometric designs of the palace at Alhambra.

YOSAIC™ APPLICATIONS

After having fallen in love with “The Constant Princess” & being entirely entranced with how the quiet work of Queen Cathrine’s hands influenced a nation & is still popular in many countries today (her military conquests aside!), I am determined to try mixing some blackwork stitching into my Yosaic™ designs.  Stay tuned for pictures!

PATTERN BOOKS

If you’re interested in learning more about Blackwork Embroidery, here are a few books on Amazon to get started with. (Affiliate links)


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Applied Art™

THE NEW ART OF LABOR & TRADE:

Today we think of art as something that will go into a museum or decorate a space. However, art was once a trade. Michelangelo was part of a sculpting guild & apprenticed under a master in the same way that masons pass on their knowledge of building & stone work to upcoming generations- both in ancient times and today. Artisans who formed these guilds & did the work of both building & beautifying their communities were ​highly revered specialists ​who performed extremely important work.

CHANGING PERCEPTIONS:

Today, when we think of an artist, the word “starving” is usually the first to come to mind. We do not value art or an arts education as we once did, much less folk art like quilting. Fine art is separated from craft & trade, devaluing folk art, craft & trade further.  All are pushed to the sidelines of “core curriculum.” This is evidenced by the budget cuts to arts & trades education categories. They do not get the same funding that scientific programs garner because we do not see their application in society as readily. In our current culture, you’ll never hear a teacher say,​ “If you don’t learn how to draw or take things apart & make something new out of them, you won’t have a good future.” ​They say, “If you don’t study for this test & keep your grades up, you won’t get into college & you’ll struggle for the rest of your life.” ​We need a wholesale change in our education system to include applied arts that balances the heavy usage of technology with the practical everyday folk art, trade & skills of our ancestors.

APPLIED ARTS™:

Applied Art™ can influence not only its own field of craftsmen/women & fine artists, but can also enhance other subjects as well.

SCIENTIFIC EXPLORATION:

Art, Trade & Craftsmanship is scientific exploration. In order to learn how to draw, you first have to discover what the different materials do. Why does this pencil draw darker lines than another? Which one is harder to erase? Why? How do you draw with something other than lines? (Shading creates contour & depth- the perception of a 3D image.) In order to learn how to quilt, you have to know which fabrics with stretch & in what ways, how one color & pattern choice will affect another in the overall design of the quilt, the numerous ways that the fabrics can be joined together & the pros & cons of each method, etc.  A good artist knows how to expertly manipulate the materials he/she is using. Practice in these fields lends itself easily to manufacturing. How does this material work? How far can I bend or manipulate it? What can I combine it with to create something that will solve a problem? How can I look at raw materials & imagine different uses for them? (Creativity & imagination!)

Close-up of Yosaic™ Quilting

PROBLEM SOLVING:

Art is also problem solving. When you have an idea of what you want to create, you both mentally & physically take it apart. You look at all of its components & figure out how they compare to one another. Nothing comes out perfectly the first time you draw it on a page, play it on an instrument, or weld it into place. An artist/craftsman/woman is continually looking for what part of their project is “different” from what they want. These pieces aren’t matching up the way they’re supposed to.  One piece is longer than another.  There’s puckering of the fabric where the thread bunched up.  This fabric gets eaten easily by the sewing machine.  Why?  And how do I fix it?

As you move through the project you make changes until it becomes what you want. This is a constant problem-solving process from start to finish & produces patience, persistence, critical thinking & creativity.

A LANGUAGE:

Art is a way to learn other things. Indeed, it is often referred to as a language. We study language by itself, but we also use language to study other subjects. One pursuit does not detract from the other. In like manner, applied art™ which includes both art, craft & trade applications could be brought into the regular classroom & used to explore other subjects. It would be ideal for each school to have one or more arts & trades counselors who could work with the regular classroom teachers to create projects that allow the students to use creative reasoning & include hands-on experiences as they explore all of the other subjects. Indeed, Applied Art™ could be the solution to the Skills Gap.

APPLIED ART™ IN HISTORY:

There is historical precedent that tells us that this type of approach would not only bridge the skills gap but enhance “core” curriculum. During WWI there was a movement to ​“Knit Your Bit” for the soldiers. Not only women, but men left behind & children were called on to knit socks, scarves, hats & mittens for the soldiers. It was a patriotic duty that compelled some to knit in church & eventually in school. An amazing thing happened. Teachers everywhere noted ​betterbehavior in class AND improved testing. Today we know that the patterning & mathematical elements of this craft are highly important in a number of fields. As a result of this understanding, Waldorf Schools worldwide teach both knitting & crochet to improve reading, writing & mathematical scores beginning as early as kindergarten. The only question that remains is, ​“Why hasn’t the world followed?”

REFERENCES:

No Idle Hands : The Social History of American Knitting
TEACHING KIDS TO CROCHET AND KNIT: WHY WALDORF SCHOOLS INCORPORATE CRAFTING INTO THEIR CURRICULUM

©Christy Grace Collins, 2018.  All Rights Reserved.

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The Quilting Lies I Told Me

A LOGICAL EXCUSE…

One of the most common phrases I hear when I’m demonstrating or talking with perspective students for art, quilting, or any hand craft is,

“I wish I could do that, but I just don’t have the patience…”

And it’s true.  Part of what we have lost in modern society are the values of patience and persistence that are learned through handcraft and cottage industry arts.

CHILDREN LEARNED HANDCRAFT EARLY IN LIFE

The concept that “children should just have time to be children” is extremely new and is leading us towards a society that doesn’t know how to take care of itself.  For millennia, children were part of the family industry from age 4-5 on up.  It is well documented that not more than 100 years ago, children were required to knit a certain amount of rows on a stocking or sew a certain amount on the family tally before they were allowed to go out to play (“No Idle Hands: The Social History of American Knitting” by Anne Macdonald).  They had chores and responsibilities- and it was good for them.  They developed patience and persistence in trying and trying again until they gained proficiency in a skill or craft.  They had pride in being part of their family’s survival and in being depended upon.  They grew up self-sufficient and able to care for younger brothers and sisters at a very early age.

DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT!

So, yes- there’s a reason that so many people today feel like they just don’t have the patience for sewing, quilting, knitting and other forms of handcraft.  They haven’t learned to try and try again, and to keep on trying until they become proficient at a skill because they haven’t been taught.  Fortunately, there’s a cure for that!

  1. Just start- knowing that it’s going to take some persistence at first.
  2. Choose initial projects that are small and quick to finish.
  3. Progress to harder projects that build both skill and your will to work on something that takes more time.

I’M STILL FRUSTRATED…

We are too used to instant gratification in our society today & I think it can have a negative impact on us mentally.  Traditional arts and crafts remind us to slow down and get involved in enjoying the process of something.  They provide healing from modern stresses and mental storms.

That being said, if you do try a form of needle craft and are completely frustrated with it, there may be a reason outside of our new societal norms that many will never consider.  That is to say that different forms of fine art and craft have different intrinsic rewards and it depends on what you are individually motivated by as to what you will enjoy.  What does that mean?  Here are a few examples to help you sort it out.

ENJOYMENT OF THE PROCESS

Someone like myself who likes to take on extremely long term projects (See the waterfall quilt at the beginning of this post!) that are often intricate as well as repetitive is motivated by the enjoyment of the process itself.  This type of person often enjoys the rhythm of the work.  They will likely enjoy knitting and crocheting in addition to hand embroidery or hand quilting.  They don’t mind how long it takes to complete a project.  The process of working on it is the reward itself.

ENJOYMENT FROM COMPLETION OF PROJECTS

Someone like my cousin’s wife is driven by the exact opposite- the completion of a finished project.  She rarely works on more than one project at a time and often makes the same pattern over and over and over again because each repetition of it gives her greater speed.  She feels like she has accomplished something when she completes a quilt or project and flies through several per week!  AMAZING, right?!

HOW WE GET MIXED UP!

I would be extremely frustrated if I took her approach and she would be very discouraged if she took mine.  If you have an interest in something- enough to say, “I wish I could do that,” you probably have a talent in it that can be developed.  The trick is in staying with something long enough to know whether it is simply not the right type of hand craft for you- or if you just need some time to develop your skills.  It takes real courage to let yourself fail at something when you first attempt it and to continue to persist until you can find the joy- whether it is in the process or the completion of the project.

MATHMATICAL 

Think about the kinds of things that you already like to do.  If you are more mathematical and precise, you will probably like something with a pattern and instructions.  You may be one who needs to finish one project before starting another.  You may like the precision of using a machine instead of hand-sewing.  Blocking out time specifically for your sewing might be important in making it an enjoyable experience.  Following the pattern precisely and having perfection in your finished piece is likely to be what gives you satisfaction.  You may become easily frustrated if there aren’t sufficient instructions or if you don’t have a pattern or class to follow.  Or, you may master each step before you start to invent your own patterns or make variations.  You probably get frustrated when someone else doesn’t do it the “right way.”  And that’s okay.  That’s your mojo.  Go with the flow!

Close-up of Yosaic™ Quilting

CREATIVE

On the flip side, if you are more artistic and free-spirited, you may want to learn handcrafts that allow you to make a lot of modifications on the fly.  (Yosaic™ Quilting is great for this!). You’re likely to be someone who has a number of projects going at once- which is perfectly fine!  In fact, once upon a time I thought there was something wrong with me for having so many projects in progress and made myself finish them all before I started new ones.  I have never been more depressed or artistically uninspired in my life!  I discovered that flowing from project to project is what kept my creative juices flowing.  So– good news!  There’s NOTHING wrong with that!  Work it, Girl!  Work it!  You’ll probably carry your projects with you and be perfectly fine with multi-tasking, getting in a few stitches here and there at the ballpark, in a waiting room, or wherever you have a chance.  You’ll see opportunities and ideas everywhere.  Something that has a precise pattern will probably frustrate you.  No worries.  Go with what you enjoy.

THE SECRET…

And, that’s basically the secret.  If you don’t have the “patience” for something that you wish you could do, it’s either the wrong type of art or it’s time to learn patience simply from doing it- the same way our ancestors did for thousands and thousands of years.  If you experiment, you’ll figure it out.  Good luck & have fun!

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Suffolk Puffs/ YoYo’s Since 1601!

Just east of London, the County of Suffolk has a rich and long-standing history on the East Coast of England.  (For full details, see Wikipedia.)  It’s an account that details how the Angles that England is named for became the northern folk (shortened to Norfolk) and the southern folk- which eventually became the county of Suffolk around the 5th Century.  The area is one that archaeologists like to frequent for artifacts from the Stone Age, Iron Age, and Bronze Age.  Charles Dickens found it so interesting that he chose this area as the setting for his well beloved tale of David Copperfield. So, it’s no surprise that Yosaic/ Yo-Yo/ Suffolk Puff Quilting can trace it’s history here as well.

There are mentions of Suffolk Puffs as early as 1601 in England.  Among the rural farming families that produced many of the textiles of their day, Suffolk Puffs sprang up out of the frugality and ingenuity of hardworking housewives determined to use every last scrap of fabric and puff of stuffing material.  Suffolk Puffs, as they came to be known, were used to make scrap-work dolls for children as well as for decorating clothing, making “patchwork” coverlets, pillow shams, and the like.  Often children and beginning sewers were called upon to create these puffy circles out of worn out clothing, scraps of fabric, and stuffing materials (such as sheep’s wool) that the economical homemaker saved and put to use.  By the 20th Century, it was widely known as Suffolk Puff Patchwork Quilting and was particularly popular in the Victorian era.

In America, they’re called (fabric) Yo-Yos.  It is widely assumed that the name comes from how similar the fabric circles look to the popular toy by the same name which arrived in the US around 1921.  They were just as popular in the west as they were across the Atlantic.  McCall’s patterns for Yo-Yo dogs, clowns, etc. date back to the 1970’s.  Today you can find Yo-Yo templates to aid in making various shaped Yo-Yos such as hearts or flowers.  They’re just as easy to make by hand in any size you choose without the template and one of the most portable quilting projects you’ll ever have!

There are SEW many things you can make from Suffolk Puffs or Yo Yo’s that one quickly becomes addicted to making these fast and easy scrap busters!

  • Yosaic™ Quilt Blocks
  • Yosaic™ Quilts
  • Yosaic™ Jewelry
  • Yosaic™ Purses
  • Yosaic™ Shawls
  • Yosaic™ Scarves
  • Yosaic™ Belts
  • Yosaic™ Clothing
  • Yosaic™ Aprons
  • Yosaic™ Accessories
  • Yosaic™ Ornaments
  • Yosaic™ Decor
  • Yosaic™ Bridal Wear
  • Yosaic™ Hats
  • Yosaic™ Facinators
  • Yosaic™ Hair Accessories
  • Yosaic™ Holiday Decor
  • Yosaic™ Little Sewers Early Learning Projects
  • Yosaic™ Paintings (The new Impressionism!)

From tiny scraps the size of a bottle cap to giant circles the breadth of a yard of fabric, any piece of fabric can be your Suffolk Puff!  You can use a variety of circles you may have around your home to trace a pattern or for more precise measurements and cutting simply purchase a rotary circle cutter.  Your finished Yo-Yo/Suffolk Puff will be about 1/2 that size.  (If you want to create a specific finished size, the circle you cut out should be 2 1/2 times that size.)

For more ideas on what you can make out of Suffolk Puffs/Yo-Yo’s, check out my Yosaic™ shop page for patterns!

Here’s a great link for: Everything Suffolk Around the World.  You’ll be surprised at how many places and things have originated from Suffolk, England!

 

 

 

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History of Quilting in America

A brief history of quilting in America + current trends!

*This post may contain affiliate links.

QUILTING- AN AMERICAN LEGACY

Quilting as we know it today is a uniquely American invention.  Yes, there were pre-cursors to it in Europe long before the Pilgrims came, but it changed and developed into something quite different here.  The latin word for “quilt” means ‘stuffed sack.”  In medieval times, many, many layers of fabric were sewn together with the running stitch that we know in quilting today to form a protective layer under soldier’s armor called a Gambeson.

There are many different types of quilts:

  • Patchwork Quilts
  • Appliqué Quilts
  • Whole Cloth Quilts
  • Yo-Yo Quilts
  • Art Quilts

A LOST HISTORY

There are not many records of early American quilts.  Women made the things that their families used on a daily basis without thinking to document them.  Homespun fabric and handmade quilts were a necessity, not an art form.  Patchwork quilting came into existence quite naturally.  The amount of time that it took for a family to first buy the sheep necessary to grow wool or raise crops for cotton, then manufacture it into thread, weave it into cloth, and turn it into clothing and other household items was enormous!  Frugality was a fact of life in a way that we can never comprehend today.  When a child outgrew a piece of clothing and there was no other child in line to wear it next, the woman of the house cut it up and made it into something else.  Patches quickly became patchwork, and scraps of fabric found their way onto beds across the nation.  Naturally, women love to trade ideas and try beautiful things they’ve seen, and so, from cottage industry an art form was born.

INDUSTRY CHANGES EVERYTHING

Quilting flourished between 1750 & 1850 as manufactured fabrics became more easily accessible.  Women began to spend years on heirloom quilts, which were typically wholecloth and medallion quilts, made to show off to friends and family.  With more time to devote to her quilting, the early American woman was able to exercise creative abandon.  Appliqué quilts came into fashion among the wealthy that were able to import more expensive fabrics and spend enormous amounts of time creating elaborate designs.

AMISH QUILTING BEGINNINGS

It may be surprising to note that Amish women did not join the quilting craze of the 1700’s at the beginning.  They brought traditions of feather bedding with them from Europe and only gradually admitted American quilting into their rich heritage as they had more and more contact with the New World.

Amish quilts are revered and coveted today. They often have distinctly traditional designs; with some of the most recognizable being the black and gem toned color blocked quilts. Many are hand quilted by groups of Amish women together in Quilting Bees, which means you’ll see a variety of quilt stitching lengths on the same quilt depending on which quilter was working on which section of the quilt.

YO-YO QUILTING/ SUFFOLK PUFFS

Yo-yo quilts came into fashion in the early 1900’s, around the war years.  (1920’s-1940’s). It’s not surprising to note that with the scarcity of the Great Depression, and the world wars, women turned to using up scraps of fabric again.  There is some speculation that fabric yo-yo’s are named after the toy that gained great popularity at the same time. Whatever the reason, it’s certain that women loved them because of their portability and frugality.

Yo-yo’s are one of the easiest forms of quilting to carry with you.  You can make them in any size and use new or re-purposed fabric.  Brits call them Suffolk Puffs, with some evidence that points to their origin among the poor in the county of Suffolk, in 1601.  It’s sometimes called, “Suffolk Puff Patchwork Quilting,” and looks the same as it does in America.

FUTURE OF QUILTING

What will the future of quilting in America look like? With new inventions to aid the way, it’s hard to say. Digital products allow for programmable stitches and a whole host of techniques that enhance photo transfer and/or the creation of unique fabrics from the comfort of home!

More women than ever are also going Green in their quilting and finding new and innovative ways to use up every last scrap of fabric. As we’ve seen with the start of quilting & the popularity of yo-yo quilting during the world war years, this is both new and old. The new part of it is how they are using the scraps and the technology that is available to aide the process!

Modern quilts are also highly customized! In today’s world, most quilts are not made from scraps of fabric cut out of worn out clothing. They dazzle the eye with brilliant colors and incredible designs! Quilters have an almost limitless supply of patterns- both free and available for nominal prices at their local quilt shops or on the web. There are classes available everywhere, and tutorials for every level. Limits in creativity are more a matter of the quilter’s willingness to take risks and try new things, than available materials and ideas. Nearly anything is possible today.

NOT JUST QUILTS!

Quilting today is not limited to just bedspreads to wrap up with. Today’s artists can choose from patterns and ideas of every shape and size. Beginners may want to start with a quilted pillow, table runner, ornament, or other small object. More advanced quilters are looking at new ways to apply their art everyday. You might look around a quilter’s home and see:

  • Quilted Shower Curtain
  • Quilted Purses, Diaper Bags, or Backpacks
  • Miniature Quilts
  • Quilted Aprons
  • Wall Hangings
  • Mug Rugs
  • Quilted Clothing
  • Furniture Re-upholstered with Quilts
  • Hand-made Oven Mitts/Hot Pads
  • Casserole Warmers
  • Christmas Tree Skirt
  • Christmas Ornaments
  • Quilted Gifts
  • And more…

QUILT GUILDS

Women need the strength of one another in our modern day just as in days gone by. So, it’s no surprise that one of the elements driving today’s innovation is the same thing that developed the art originally- women gathering to help each other. In modern quilt guilds, just as in days gone by, women gather, share ideas, friendship, support, and love for one another over the common thread of quilting.

Most quilt guilds are advertised through local quilt shops and may have rules governing the number of quilters who can join before the group needs to subdivide to keep it manageable. Guilds often offer classes, guest speakers, and weekly work sessions in smaller themed groups, as well as annual trips and other fun events.

If you can’t find a guild close by, you may want to consider starting one! Churches are often open to hosting such groups, and all it takes is a few friends to get a group going. In no time at all, you’ll have a lively group with a lot going on! “If you build it-“ they will truly come!

BENEFITS OF QUILTING

There are more benefits of quilting than can easily be summarized here. They include:

  1. Friendship
  2. Talent Gained
  3. Memories
  4. Art Therapy
  5. A Visual Legacy
  6. A Place in Quilting History!

What’s the only bad thing about becoming a quilter? You may have to add a few more rooms onto your home for your fabric stash! Don’t worry. It’s a risk worth taking. 😉

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

FOUR CENTURIES OF QUILTS; THE COLONIAL WILLIAMSBURG COLLECTION, By The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation

DESCRIPTION FROM THE AMAZON SITE AS FOLLOWS:

“An exquisite and authoritative look at four centuries of quilts and quilting from around the world

Quilts are among the most utilitarian of art objects, yet the best among them possess a formal beauty that rivals anything made on canvas. This landmark book, drawn from the world-renowned collection of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, highlights the splendor and craft of quilts with more than 300 superb color images and details. Fascinating essays by two noted scholars trace the evolution of quilting styles and trends as they relate to the social, political, and economic issues of their time.
 
The collection includes quilts made by diverse religious and cultural groups over 400 years and across continents, from the Mediterranean, England, France, America, and Polynesia. The earliest quilts were made in India and the Mediterranean for export to the west and date to the late 16th century. Examples from 18th- to 20th-century America, many made by Amish and African-American quilters, reflect the multicultural nature of American society and include boldly colored and patterned worsteds and brilliant pieced and appliquéd works of art.
 
Grand in scope and handsomely produced, Four Centuries of Quilts: The Colonial Williamsburg Collection is sure to be one of the most useful and beloved references on quilts and quilting for years to come.” 

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