Quilting is such a vast tradition in America that more than 15% of U.S. households represent the homes of quilters and many Americans have at least one room filled with quilts as bed coverings, clothing and table mats.
A quilt is more like a sandwich, as it consists of three layers: a decorative top, a filling and a backing. The filling is also known as batting and provides warmth to the quilt. At the beginning of this art craft, people used whatever they could in order to fill the quilt: dry leaves, corn husks, old letters. Nowadays in the modern quilt you will find natural or synthetic fibers. To make dyes to color their fabrics, old quilters used flowers, vegetables, barks, roots, nuts or dried insects.
The quilt tops are constructed in very different ways, although there is a traditional pattern. The traditional patchwork consists of “blocks” made by stitching together geometric shapes or curved pieces.
The designs that are the end result of the decoative top are made by the way the blocks and the pieces of blocks are arranged.
The same is with the patterns of the quilts. These patterns come in an endless variety and they cannot even be classified. This is because the names of the patterns differ from region to region, from city to city around America. What is known as the Duck’s Foot in New York it is known as The Hand of Friendship in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Ohio. Some distinctive quilt designs are also assigned to some ethnic groups. African American quilts, for example, feature bold, asymmetrical patterns and large shapes inspired by African textiles. The women also produce story quilts as records of family events, traditions or as depictings of Bible stories.
And so quilts became a symbol of community and remembrance.
They were used to strengthen family ties, to preserve memories of old friends, to mark notable events. In the mid 1800s mothers would make “freedom quilts” to mark the sons’ passing to maturity at the age of 21. Album quilts, on which signitures of those who contributed to blocks were stitched, were given to brides, to mourning families or to those who moved away. At the end of the 1890s, quilts were used as fund raisers. Whoever wanted to have their names stitched on a quilt had to pay a quarter or a dime and the money would go to those in need.They are also used to publicize certain diseases and raise money for those who suffer of these diseases or to fund the research for cures.
As seen, this long tradition of quilting is a long tradition of helping, remembering, of creating. And quilters create bridges between people and events, between present, past and future, between people and society. They are bridgers of hapiness and humanity.
Article by Andy Guides Jr
The European and American quilting tradition was started as a way to add warmth and weight to the undergarments for armor. From that beginning the tradition diverged slightly.
Some European, Victorian age, quilters used every scrap of cloth they had left over from other projects in piecing together what was know as a crazy quilt. Many of these were often used as decorative showpieces for their homes.
Of necessity, American quilters created quilts for a more utilitarian purpose. They made use of the material on hand, including feed sacks, in their fabric blocks to save funds. Many made a living at selling their quilts to unattached men, but the main goal was to provide warmth on cold nights for their families.
No single quilt design is more popular than the others. Religion, end purpose of the quilt, and region in which it is produced, often are influences in the choice of pattern. One interesting use to which quilt making was put was at a time when paper and ink were not readily available was the recording of history on a local, family and national level.
Quilts could also be used as an expression of friendship and devotion to a family member or close friend. One type of quilt was even given the name friendship quilt as an acknowledgment of that fact. Pieces of the quilt would be made and contributed by individuals that would eventually come together into a quilting circle or ‘bee’ to finish it. The quilt would then be presented to the special person it was intended for.
Another version of a friendship quilt is called an autograph or signature quilt. The community, family, or friends would asked to sign their names on quilt blocks, or pieces in recognition of an individual. Then the quilt is put together by an individual, or a group, as a remembrance of an event of some importance in the life of the recipient.
Not all autograph quilts were, or are, made for the purpose of friendship. Some were made with fund raising in mind. Signatures of important people would be collected on the quilt blocks, usually one apiece, and then the blocks would be made into a quilt to be raffled or auctioned off. At other times funds were raised by having the community pay a fee for the privilege of signing a block, or piece of fabric for themselves.
The crazy quilt design was another way that quilters could raise money for a good cause. They would write to famous people asking for clothing scraps to sew into their quilt. When they finished their quilt it would be auctioned off.
Practicers of the art of quilting are able to use their skills for more than just the providing of warmth or weight to undergarments. Preserving memories and the raising of funds for charity is also a significant part of the tradition of quilting.
Article by Penny Halgren
If you want to start a quilting business, but don’t really want to make actual quilts, you can still find a niche for you. How about selling quilted accessories?
Quilted accessories include a wide range of products: home décor, apparel, pet products, you name it!
In the home décor category, your business could make and sell quilted potholders and matching aprons with pockets that coordinate with the potholder pattern. Make and sell quilted oven mitts.
Table runners and mantel drapes are also popular quilted items for the home. Quilted placemats and coasters are other possiblities.
For a living room, den, bedroom, dining room or kitchen quilted wall hangings are popular. These can be custom made to coordinate with your client’s own interior colors and style.
For a guest room or bathroom, why not quilt covers for a tissue box or photo or mirror frame? Quilted pillowcases are also good sellers.
Take the idea of home décor to a smaller scale and perhaps your quilting business could be making quilted items for doll houses. Many collectors will pay top dollar to have their dollhouse beds accented with tiny little quilts. Such quilts would also be a niche business for baby dolls. Little girls love their dolls and many parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles would pay good money to have a special quilt made for a special doll!
Holidays open up a wide range of options for home décor as well. Keep that in mind if your quilting business will focus on home décor. Your quilting business could actually focus on holiday items.
Christmas ornaments, stockings, wall hangings, table decorations…the possibilities for that one holiday alone are endless! Imagine if your quilting business focused on all holidays.
For January, quilted décor featuring snowmen and snowflakes would be popular for the winter theme. February is Valentine’s Day. Focus for that holiday would be on quilted items with hearts, cupids, etc. March brings St. Patricks’ Day and Spring.
April is Easter, and brings another slew of quilted holiday items to mind. Baskets made from quilted strips of fabric would be gorgeous. Patchwork eggs stuffed to perfection would also be fun items.
May and June bring graduations along with Mother’s and Father’s days. These months are great for quilted photo frames or scrapbooks with a quilted cover.
July’s patriotic theme would be great inspiration for quilted home de’cor as well. August and September sends children (and teachers) back to school. Quilted notebooks, tote bags, pencil cases would be great accessories for those months. Halloween and Thanksgiving also offer endless possibilities for home décor, too. Use your imagination!
Quilted apparel could include a number of items as well. Belts and headbands are popular accessories. Quilted jackets are a higher ticket item you could make and sell. You could add small quilt blocks to simple cardigans as pockets. Combine your jackets with a matching quilted cap or tote bag and increase your price accordingly!
Other quilted accessories you could make include cell phone holders, lip gloss pouches, and eye glass cases. Coin purses and wallets are other ideas for quilted accessories. Purses and tote bags are also very popular items that translate nicely into quilted products.
The pet niche can be so much fun. People of all ages love to buy things for their pets. For cats and dogs, quilted carrying cases are good sellers. Pet beds are another top item.
Pet clothing is also very popular. Small dogs generally need the added warmth of a coat in the winter. Quilted coats, jackets and shawls are good sellers for pet clothing. Create a package deal by including the quilted coat or jacket plus a matching quilted hat.
No matter which niche you choose, any of these areas would offer great sales opportunities for your own quilting business.
Article by Jerry Cahill
A quilting kit is a bed covering made out of quilt top, a layer of batting, and a layer of fabric for backing. The technique used to combine the layers is called quilting, hence the name quilting kit. Usually the top layer of the quilting kit is designed in numerous squares and of different pattern, and the bottom is just plain fabric joined with a fine soft layer of fabric in between. Of course, quilting kits provide comfort on cold nights, but many quilts are made with decorative purpose, in fact some them are not even used as bed covering at all, but instead, they are made to be hung on a wall or otherwise displayed.
Quilting kits can be made by hand or machine. Both methods can be durable. As with anything, the quality of the work-spacing of stitch lines, thread used, and placement of quilting will all influence the life of the quilt as will how it is used, stored, and laundered. Quilts will generally show wear first along the edges of the binding. Therefore, it is preferable to use double fold binding to provide some reinforcement along these edges. Both methods have their advantages and disadvantages. For example, the machine quilting is faster and some think it is more durable, can hold up better wash after wash and the threads don’t come out and have to be repaired. On the other side, hand quilting is more relaxing and there are hand made quilting kits that are almost one hundred years old and still look pretty and people use them.
The top of the quilting kit is created either from one large piece of cloth or from a number of smaller pieces of cloth called blocks that are sewn together, either edge to edge, or with separator strips of cloth. Those blocks can be embroidered with an image. To make the whole quilting kit stronger and more durable, borders are added and then a binding is added to edge the quilt after the quilting is done.
To be able to create an excellent quilting kit, you must choose the right fabric for the project. The choice of fabrics is very important. It determines whether or not your quilting kit will be long lasting and good looking. The material should not shrink and clasp when washed, and colors should not fade. The chose fabric must be able to withstand excessive use and abuse, as well as several washings and drying. The general rule is that a fabric that has added threads for every inch is suitable for quilting. The most widely used material is cotton, because it has all this necessity, it is light, yet durable and very comfy to the touch. Cotton also holds pleats well and is very easy to handle making is easy to sew on designs.
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Handmade quilt as an economic activity is an interesting study in this competitive world of globalization. Quilt making is a traditional art form that is restricted to certain communities and geographical regions. Quilts have many uses ranging from bed covers and furnishings to pet clothes and rugs. Handmade varieties have to face a tough competition not only among themselves but also with machine made varieties.
Quilt making which started off as a necessity gradually became a profession and then a fine art. After man started agriculture and began a settled life they stopped migrating from one place to another in search of food. They grew settlements and started staying in groups. With settlements new professions evolved like weaving, knitting, cattle rearing, fishing, pottery, metallurgy and so on. Division of trade was established with a few families specializing in a particular trade. This was the common trend in all early civilizations.
Weavers and knitters were such specialized craftsmen. Their specialty lay is creating marvels in cloth. The art and technique of weaving, knitting and quilt making were taught by ancestors to their descendants keeping the trade within the family. Different techniques developed with passing generations. In addition to weaving and knitting of quilts, variations were created in forms of appliqu and stitching. Each one of these types has its own distinctive features. Master weavers combined all these techniques together to create wonders in cloth.
Handmade quilts took a long time to be completed. The more intricate a design the longer was the time required to finish it. Often an entire family got involved in making a bed quilt. It was a painstaking and creative process. Being labor intensive it offered employment opportunity to a large group. There were communities where weaving and quilt making was the main occupation.
After industrial revolution a drastic change came over the weaving and knitting industry. Power looms made the process of spinning yarn unimaginably faster. Invention of knitting machines revolutionized knitting techniques. What could be done by 50 heads could be done by one machine and at much cheaper rates. The competition gradually became tougher for hand weavers and knitters. The more well off weavers bought their own weaving machines to survive, or perhaps to participate in this competition between man and machine.
The invention of machine was inevitable because of the rising demand of products across nations. With use of machines production cost got minimized which in turn brought down the price of commodities. Hand based industries had to innovate ideas to remain in this competition. Hand weavers also adapted their weaving techniques to suit current demand.
From producing quilts of mass consumption they gradually shifted to making exclusive designs using the best fabrics. They have shifted to customized patterns for which charges are always at a premium. Many of the weavers who were scattered have organized themselves into associations. Trade shows and exhibitions are arranged by these associations to encourage weavers and new entrants into this trade. Governments and art colleges across nations organize conventions and shows to promote hand weavers and quilt makers.
With all such activities taking place in different countries the cause of quilt makers are being highlighted regularly. Consequently the art of handmade quilts has survived the test of times and is here to stay for more generations.
Article by Eddie Lamb
I always associated Hawaii with the beauty of the land – people say that Hawaii is a sample of what you will see in paradise. Not only is nature at its best possible in Hawaii, you have the people, all without any exception, personally worried for your safety and well-being. Such warmth and love overwhelms and sometimes even embarrasses the Americans and the Europeans who are not used with so much affection being displayed in public.
Hawaiian Quilting: How it is Different
Quilting is an art involving the leftover pieces of fabric. However, Hawaiian quilting is a special type of stitching. The method involves a unique method of design and stitching that is inimitable. Each one of the Hawaiian quilting designs will give you a scene which will ‘say’ something. Since it is so complicated and so demanding, Hawaiian quilting is a long process, easily taking three to six months to complete.
The Hawaiian quilting involves designs which need direct overstitching of applique work all over the quilt. The method involves the use of two types of fabrics: one that will be the background and the other (there could be many secondary ones) would be the applique material which would be cut in specific shapes before being attached to the main quilt material.
This method has a funny legend. It seems that the women of Hawaii already knew stitching and were good at it, because they used to stitch the whale skin into mattresses, and clothes. When the quilting was introduced, the women took to like ducks to water. However, it puzzled and irritated them that they had to use small, small cloths. Since there was no surplus of cloth in Hawaii then, it looked ridiculous to the quilt-making women to first cut the whole material and then stitch it.
In order to do away with this ridiculous habit (that did not help them, rather annoyed them to no end), they invented their own way to make quilts. They learnt to cut out the whole material in one-piece individual clothing. In this way, the quilt will no more be a patch work of different clothes, but a wonderful story of the character that has been the explanation.
This type of applique captured the hearts of all people all over the globe. The applique designs comprise of people, historical characters and mythological creations, etc. which are what the market has been promoting for about two years now.
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People in earlier days quilted to have warm coverlets to cover their beds. They used any cloth scraps they could find and learned to sew them together in interesting patterns. They filled them with cotton or old pieces of quilts, anything that would make a warm covering. Today most quilters have many colored fabrics to choose from and make quilts more as art work than a necessity.
I buy new fabric for my quilts and I use colorful fabric from discarded blouses or any fabric that I find attractive. Simple patchwork is what I especially enjoy doing. I have made all my children and grandchildren quilts in different patchwork patterns from the Windmill to Jacobs Ladder.
You can sew your patchwork quilt completely by hand or you can use a sewing machine. I sewed one by hand some years ago and it took me a few years to complete. I was working full time and my quilting sessions were limited. You might finish yours faster. What I especially like about quilting is you can choose a pattern and fabric that suits you and your quilt will be one of a kind. Unless you copy someone else’s work, there will be on other like it. Some quilters do faithfully copy a designer quilt and intend it to be a replica. Their joy is having a perfect copy. My satisfaction comes from making a quilt in my own choice of design and colors, having it decidedly my own.
There are many simple patchwork patterns. You can make your own patchwork patterns or you can buy patterns to be traced, then cut into quilt pieces. First find the size by measuring the bed. Give plenty of room for the overhang and make allowances for seams. It’s best to err on a larger size than small. If your quilt does come out too small, you can add quilted strips of fabric around the edges. Decide how large you want your blocks to be, how many to go across the bed, and how many for the length. Your fabric should be medium weight. It shouldn’t be too thick or too thin. Any medium cotton or cotton polyester will do. Don’t use stretchy material.
When you choose your material, choose colors that look well together. Solids or small prints usually work better in patchwork. The backing should be the same type as the top. You can use a sheet for your backing if you wish. The batting is sold in different sizes. Try to buy polyester batting that is large enough for your quilt without having to be pieced. If you do have to piece it together. Do so with needle and thread. Large basting stitches are okay. Or you can use an old blanket instead of batting. For your first quilt using old clothes for patchwork and an old blanket for batting is a good idea. You will have learned to quilt by the time you finish your first one, and can then branch out to your next quilt.
I prefer polyester for batting because it doesn’t shift after it’s quilted onto the patchwork, and doesn’t require quiet as much stitching. It also holds up well to laundering. Use regular needles, called sharps for quilting by hand and all purpose thread. You can buy thread with a glazed surface but running your all purpose thread over wax will serve the same purpose.
You will need a a ruler, lead pencil and sturdy cardboard to draw your templates. Fit your pieces together after you cut enough quilt pieces to make a block so you are sure your pattern works. Sew and press each block. As you finish making the blocks, lay them across your bed to be sure you have enough, if not cut and sew more. If you have plenty of room you might use a large quilting frame when you begin to quilt your three layers together. I use a quilting hoop, which works very well.
To fit your three pieces together, lay the backing fabric down in the floor. Lay the batting over the backing. Smooth and fit them together. Then lay your patchwork topping on top of batting. Smooth the three layers out together. Start in the center and pin the three pieces together in a sunburst. Now baste the three layers together and remove the pins. Large basting stitches will be fine.
Now you are ready to begin quilting. Use your quilting hoop and sew along all patchwork seams through all three layers in small stitches. After you finish this, go back if you have areas without stitching and stitch those. You might sew a leaf or zig zag patterns, you choose the design. When you have finished quilting, it’s time to sew on the binding. Cut strips of fabric about 2 inches wide to bind each end and side of your quilt. Lay the right side of binding down on the backing. Sew in place. Flip binding over and sew to patchwork top. The right side of binding will be facing out. Your quilt will be finished. Be very proud of yourself. You have made your first designer quilt. And don’t forget to pull out the basting.
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