I just read this article about stories of people, and their quilts. I loved it and have to agree, quilts do connect people.
Today was my first day back teaching at the Quilt Shop, since Dec 9th. That is well over a month, but it was important for me to take that time off and away. There was Christmas to prepare for and enjoy with my family, we had our last two kids to help get packed up and sent off to college and a trip to see family and friends. It was a great break and well needed but…I really missed the shop, my class and QUILTING!
As I saw my class fill up today, I realized this class has become so much more to me than just a few ladies coming every month to do a quilt project, these women have become my friends…good friends and I felt so blessed to be able to feel that way. Each one is different and unique. Each one has there own story to tell about life and how and why they started quilting. Each one has their own battles that they are fighting but some how, I think the connection they we all have with each other, helps in some way. And not in just some little way… but in a very big way! At least I know it has in my life.
How fun and important these classes have become to me, I feel blessed to be there. So thank you for each one of you, that takes the time out of your busy day, to come to my Demo classes. I hope they mean as much to you, as they do to me? It has been wonderful, and to think… just about 10 years ago, I thought there is no way I would ever be able to really quilt. Oh what I would have been missing, or I should say WHO I would have been missing?
Good night dear friends!
The Story of Quilts
As a history buff, my initial attraction to the craft of quilting was its history. Quilts have a rich past that has embedded itself into American history. As I learned more about it, the more I realized how deeply quilts have also embedded themselves into our personal histories as well.
For women in America, quilting began at least as early as 1750 as an opportunity for them to channel their creativity. Quilting was considered an important skill for women. Young girls were given quilting projects to help teach them to sew, such as creating small quilts for their dolls. The American Girl’s Book from 1831 recommended quilt making for girls, noting that "little girls often find amusement in making patchwork quilts for the beds of their dolls."
Quilting is a unique craft that can allow many people to work on a quilt at the same time, and many women found companionship in quilting with friends and relatives. These social Quilting Bees were opportunities for women to discuss everything from recipes, to child-rearing, to politics.
The quilts themselves became significant symbols. Quilters in the 19th century regularly created quilts as political statements, using them as raffle prizes to support various causes such as abolition, temperance and during the Civil War. Quilts were one way that women of the 19th century were given a voice in their contemporary world.
And, of course, quilts became precious family heirlooms. Quilts were traditionally made and used to mark life’s most significant experiences. Baby quilts were given to new mothers and larger quilts were given to couples when they were married, often with symbolic block patterns like a Lover’s Knot or Double Wedding Ring.
When a family relocated to a new home, friends and family members would often make a quilt as a parting gift. These friendship or album quilts, made by a group for a departing friend, were especially popular during the 1840s when there was a great surge of population moving to the western United States. The recipient of these quilts could leave with a symbolic, tangible reminder of the loved ones left behind…loved ones they probably never saw again. Margaret Seebold of Pennsylvania said, "Quilts make you think a little of the person who made it or whose dresses were in there. Maybe you don’t think of them any other time except when you see that quilt."
“Friendships are sewn...one stitch at a time.”
“Our lives are like quilts - bits and pieces, joy and sorrow, stitched with love.”
“Friends are like fabric - you can never have enough!”