Monday, August 31, 2009

The Beginnings of Quilting, Part VII

Out of the concept of friendship quilts was born the idea of friendship medley quilts. These quilts were fun quilts that centered around two different social gatherings, or parties. The first gathering occurred when a young girl in a region would decide upon a friendship medley surprise party for one of her friends. One example for an occasion would be to declare this type of party when a mutual friend became engaged to be married. The second gathering occurred after the quilt top was finished (the first party) and a quilting bee announced (this was traditionally done by the person receiving the quilt). These types of parties could very well have been the forerunners to what we know as "showers" today.

When a friendship medley quilt was made, special care was given so that no two blocks in the quilt were alike. Sometimes the blocks were simply sewn together side-by-side, and sometimes they were put together with strips of other fabric (called a "set"), usually supplied by the party-giver. By evening, the top was complete, and it was time for "supper". Of course, what would a party be without inviting a few young men over to enjoy the feast?

So, as you can see, the announcement of a friendship medley surprise party sparked excitement from the community. It was viewed as part of the social network that provided events to keep the youngsters entertained, while accomplishing a set purpose at the same time!

You can read this article in its entirety on the Quilting Passion Web site!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

2 Days Until August Give-Away!

Just a reminder... only a couple more days before the August Give-Away!

I really appreciate everyone's support (and comments) as I get this blog off the ground!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Beginnings of Quilting, Part VI

Although the true roots of the idea of a friendship quilt are not known, it is highly speculated that the friendship quilt was born during the time when young girls were making their dozen or so quilts for their dower chests.

As most quilters know, by the time we get to the end of making one quilt, we are getting pretty tired of working on it and are more than ready to see it complete; now, imagine making a dozen! Surely, young ladies during these times were bored with their own work and ready for a little variation. As such, they would exchange pieces, patches, and blocks with their friends, of all different materials, hence making a friendship quilt. Each piece of fabric and/or patch and/or block represented the friend and made the quilts all the more special. This became a very popular tradition that continues today.

To read this article in its entirety, please visit Quilting Passion.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Beginnings of Quilting, Part V

Unfortunately, quilts are not always made for joyous occasions. For example, memory quilts. The underlying idea of a memory quilt was to create a quilt that would remind the makers of their dearly departed loved one. Many times, this quilt was made from the clothing of the deceased person. Each friend/relative made a block for the quilt, but traditionally, the center of the quilt was left blank. After the quilt top was completed, the center was then embellished with information regarding the loved one, such as full name, birth date, birth place, etc. This information was usually outlined in some type of embroidery stitch.

With the advancement of modern technology, memory quilts have become so much more today than in the past. With the addition of photos, embroidery machines, fabric die cutters, and more, these quilts have gained the potential to become more eye-appealing than before. Which, if you think about it, is a bit morbid, since it is a memory quilt in honor of a dead loved one. I can, however, understand the desire to make the quilt as beautiful as possible; you would absolutely want the quilt to best represent the memories you possess of the loved one!

To read this article in its entirety, please visit Quilting Passion!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Beginnings of Quilting, Part IV

Traditionally speaking, "album quilts" were parting quilts made for a minister's wife when the minister accepted another position in a different church, then moved. The ladies of the church would come together and make one block each, from her own material (stash!) and sign with her name. The block usually contained a Bible verse, as well.

Often, men's names can be found on antique album quilts, so not all of the blocks in a quilt were signed by the makers themselves. Men who wished to be remembered by the clergyman and his wife would persuade a female relative to do the work.

Today, album quilts are sometimes called "signature quilts". Although a part of our quilting heritage for a long time, album quilts are now not specifically designated as a parting quilt for a minister's wife, but are seen as a going away gift for someone or to simply leave as a legacy.

There are many variations of the traditional album blocks, but all hold one element in common: A place for a signature. As we step into the future with technology, however, album blocks take on new meaning. Scanned handprints, photo blocks, special graphics... all add to the enrichment of an album block.

One can only imagine the many smiles that an album quilt brought to a minister's wife, long after she had left her husband's flock. These quilts were held in high esteem and she considered herself blessed to have received one!

This article in its entirety is found on Quilting Passion.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Beginnings of Quilting, Part III

What do you think of when you hear the term "spinster"? An old maid? An older, unmarried lady? A female of an age that it is doubtful to marry? A woman who is too set in her ways to be marriage material? Any of these... or perhaps a combination of these?

The truth of the matter is that the word, "spinster" originally applied to young girls who were still spinning the flax that would be woven into the linen for their dower chests (sometimes called "hope chests" now). Having a dower chest completed before entering into marriage is a centuries old tradition, but really became popular in the mid-1950's in the USA. Most chests were wooden, with ornate carvings or paintings on them. Some were cedar chests (I still have mine!) or even metal foot lockers. The amount of time it would take to spin and weave enough table and bed linen and piece enough quilts with which to start housekeeping was enormous. This is why girls began working on their dower chests from early on in their young lives, as this was a huge portion of her dowery. A "good" bride would have no less than 12 of her best quilts pieced and ready for the frame and finishing for her chest when the time came for her to wed.

The very best of the quilts in the dower chest was referred to as the "bride's quilt". These quilts were especially beautiful. By the time a young girl got around to making this special quilt, she had had plenty of practice on the rest of her quilts. She knew which colors and patterns she loved the most. She had probably planned and discarded many ideas before making her final decision. In fact, you might say that the first 10 or so quilts were her "practice" quilts leading up to the biggie, the bridal quilt.

When the time came to finish all of the quilts, the young lady would invite friends, family, and neighbors to a central location to quilt her pieced tops. This was often referred to as a "quilting bee" and it was as much of a formal announcement of an engagement as if it had been published in the local newspaper. These "quilting bee" events were seen as entertainment and provided occasions for other things (pot luck dinners, barn raisings, etc.). Although quilting bees are considered a purely American tradition for a form of entertainment, today groups of women who come together quite regularly to quilt in the northern regions of England call themselves, "quilting clubs". Quilting clubs in the USA are also popping up everywhere (and have been for many years), mostly via quilt shops, but also online.

In essence, bridal quilts gave people excuses to gather together to socialize, while at the same time helping to provide a dowery for her upcoming marriage. A quilting bee is a tradition that I have sadly not had the pleasure of participating in, but hope to one day! I would definitely want to practice on my quilting skills first, though. :)

Today, antique bridal quilts are very valuable. And high quality quilts are difficult, but not impossible, to find. These quilts can be found in museums and private collections.

Hopefully, this article has been informative and comments are definitely appreciated!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Beginnings of Quilting - Part II

The "Spanish Bombast Period" was from approximately 1545 to 1620 A.D. During this time, quilting was used on some of the finest costumes to be found in any land. The early history of the patchwork quilt is of the development of work that had been undertaken in Europe in the mid-sixteenth to early seventeenth centuries. Bombast style clothing was definitely in vogue, as the clothing was so heavily ornamented with jewels that the clothes were instantly eye-catching and very appealing. Because of the weight of the jewels, it was necessary to have a number of layers of fabric to support them. These layers were quilted to hold them all together, and many times, the costumes were quilted and/or embroidered in gold and where the stitches crossed, studded pearls and other fine gems were attached.

There are many beautiful examples of quilted petticoats that were worn from the early part of the 18th century to the latter part. For the most part, the overskirt hid the petticoats almost entirely, except for a narrow panel down the front that was designed specifically to allow one to catch a glimpse of the artisan's craftwork beneath. These historical, wearable artifacts can be found in modern museums today.

Quilted clothing has not gone out of style! There is much evidence of quilted clothes worn in the winter in China and Japan. In France, the peasant women of some of the districts wear quilted petticoats still, and in Holland, several of the quilted petticoats are worn at the same time. Here in America, quilted garments can be found in many forms, from coats and jackets to evening wear. Even sports uses quilted garments for protection, such as in hockey, football, or any sporting game where the player or umpire needs a quilted shield. A very popular quilted garment is a vest. There are many patterns available on the market. They're fast, easy to make, gorgeous, and can let a quilter show his/her magnificent creativity.

This article, including all of the parts in the series, can be found in its entirety on Quilting Passion.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Beginnings of Quilting, Part I

What does the beginnings of quilting involve? The answer to this question is simple, yet cannot easily be summed up in a few words. So, with that said, this begins a series of articles entitled, "The Beginnings of Quilting".

History, in particular Mr. Webster,
tells us that the original definition of a quilt (noun) was, "a kind of
mattress"; this has now changed to, "a
bed coverlet of two layers of cloth filled with padding (as down or batting)
held in place by ties or stitched designs
"; On the other hand, the
verb "quilt" means, "to stitch or sew in layers with padding in between".

Our early ancestors, those who made their homes in caves, dressed and covered themselves with the skins of animals. At night, our kinfolk needed additional warmth as they slept, so they layered skins together somehow, and unknowingly laid the foundation for quilting
Hopefully, this brief summary has sparked enough interest to cause you to want to read this article in its entirety on Quilting Passion!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Keeping a Quilting Journal

How many times have you found a quilt that you made long ago and tried to remember what year you made it? Or you remember making a quilt for a baby shower, but can't remember who's baby you gave it to? Or maybe you've made a quilt that you absolutely loved, gave it to a very close friend that lives far away, and wished you could see it again? Or have you ever made a complicated quilt, only to forget exactly how you laid it out, can't remember the measurements of the block, or how it was pieced or exactly which fabric you used... and wished you could see the original again?

If this article has captured your interest, then perhaps you should consider keeping a quilting journal. You can get started by reading this article in its entirety at Free QuiltSheets® are available to get you started by sending an e-mail to Terry Crawford.

A Quilter's Journal is also for sale (actual photo shown to the right). Details may be found on the Web at Quilting Passion Sales.

Begin journaling your projects today!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Applique Quilt Gallery Submission

Occasionally, someone sends me an e-mail of a quilt that has been made using a design/patterns from my Web site, Quilting Passion. I cannot begin to even describe the awesome feeling I get when this happens! If you have a photo, please feel free to share it with me!

With that said, that is the case for today. Susan, from New Hampshire, submitted me a photograph of her interpretation of my floral applique quilt, that I taught through Quilting Passion University several years ago. The patterns are still available online, by the way.

Susan did a fantastic job! Wouldn't you agree?

Monday, August 10, 2009

Sunny Floral Applique Quilt Online!

All 12 applique blocks for the Sunny Floral Applique Quilt are now online!

I, personally, have finished the first three blocks (pictures are on the Web pages and also scattered on the blog) using the button-hole applique technique and am working on the fourth block. The instructions for the last few blocks aren't as detailed as I like, so they will be fleshed out when I begin appliquing each. Particularly the more difficult blocks, with a lot of layering.

I haven't yet decided whether to make it using the straight setting (shown above) or on-point, shown to the right. Which do you like best? I may just let my readers decide!

I've decided to give this quilt to my sister for Christmas (or maybe her birthday in November), so I'm putting the pedal to the metal!

So many quilting projects to do, so very little time!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Saturday, August 8, 2009

New Rose of Sharon Applique Block!

The Rose of Sharon applique pattern is now available. It is block #5 in a series for the Sunny Floral Applique Quilt.

To view my finished block #4, visit the Rose and Buds Web page.

Stay tuned for the continuation of this project!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Handkerchief Quilt

I am currently working on a commissioned, antique handkerchief quilt. My client didn't mind if the handkerchiefs were cut, so here's my block idea. I'm calling it, "Crossing Time". I am using my very favorite method of applique, the button-hole technique.

Instructions for making this quilt will be online within the next few weeks!

I also have a second block, based on the same method of cutting. Sort of. Instead of cutting the handkerchiefs into quarters half-way through the hanky, I also cut each hanky into quarters, diagonnally. This newly cut, handkerchief corner is centered onto the edge of the background and appliqued into place. A sample is shown below, but a block photo will follow when the instructions are released. As you can see, when cut half-way, it creates a "cross" effect. When cut diagonally, it creates an "x" effect.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Three-Part Rose Block Finished!

The three-part rose is a very simple block to applique. Again, I've chosen the button-hole applique technique, as this is my favorite method and is also block three of the Sunny Floral Applique Quilt design.

If you're making this quilt along with me, I would love to hear about and see your photos! You can e-mail them to me (I can post them here if you give me permission) if you wish.

Happy quilting!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

August Give-Away!

The winner of the July fabric Give-Away was Nina. Thanks for your support by posting comments, Nina!

The August give-away will be drawn from the comments (entered as many times as you comment - includes all threads the entire month) midnight August 31st.

I really appreciate your support. If you aren't already, please click to the lower right to follow this blog.


Radical Rose Pattern - Block 3 - Sunny Floral

Block 3 of the Sunny Floral Applique Quilt is up. It's a very simple rose applique called, "Radical Rose".