Of Quilts and Quilters

Proverbs 31:13 She seeketh wool ,and flax,and worketh willingly with her hands.31;18b,19 Her candle goeth not out by night.She layeth her hand to thespindle and her hands hold the distaff.
Cathedral window,very difficult, made by my mom

Quilts or coverlets have been the end product of women’s endeavors to properly decorate   the family beds for centuries. Most in the very early times were mainly utilitarian but with woman’s penchant for decorating along with practicality Quilts began to take on a life of their own displaying great masterpieces produced by women in candle light,kerosene light or fireplace light what ever the lighting fashion might be. Not only were these artworks beautiful to look at but they had an additional practicality in that they were made from scraps left over sewing projects or even better from old clothing.
I cherish a quilt that was made by the women in my then hometown of Monterey ,N.Y.Many of the quilt pieces were from my childhood dresses.

The women in Victorian times often would come together for a day in what was called a quilting bee. Often it was a missionary society making quilts for the needy or for missionaries.Sometimes it would just be a reason to get together but they were all given the moniker of  “Quilting Bee”.It was a time to get together and enjoy a good meal and catch up on the gossip.
The only quilting bee I really remember was one my Grandmother Gross hosted and I must have been barely 5 years old. I remember a large wooden frame spread out over the dining room table with material stretched across it and all the women sitting around it, needle and thread in hand and conversation flowing freely. I was very short then being only 5 and my biggest impression of that day was a forest of dark stocking clad ankles in black “red cross” shoes.You know the kind of shoes with laces up to the ankle and tiny little perforations along the top and sides,I guess for ventilation more than fashion. Oh yes I also remember that the current hairstyle was long hair pulled back in a bun…so much for the fashion of the day,..back to quilts.
Quilts that were made before the cotton gin was invented will reveal the dark shadow of a cotton seed when held up to the light. I happen to have a baby blanket that displays that curiosity.

a black dot in the middle of the picture is a cotton seed
another visualization of a cotton seed in middle of picture,outline is a little indistinct  as it is embedded in the cotton
the baby blanket in it’s entirety
large pompom quilt ,another time consuming production
postage stamp quilt made of wool
2 examples of crazy quilts,made of silks,taffeta,and velvet. Very poor condition but I enjoy them anyway.the quilt on the left is  a true crazy quilt ,just random pieces placed together,not as easy as it sounds!
dresden plate made by the ladies from my home town for me
quilt made for my daughter by my mom
quilt made from old suits
very old and fragile quilt in poor condition but I love it. the filler is not cotton or flannel but carded wool
carded wool seen through the tear
note very,very old style gingham backing and the carded wool through the tear
flying geese pattern, one of my best bargains $3.00 at Jewish Council Thrift Shop
note the deatailed quilting, though not readily visible it is a poinsetta
my 2nd best bargain $3.00 at Jewish Council Thrift Store. Does anyone know the name of this pattern?
my one attempt at quilt making
hand loomed coverlet , take note of how well my flow blue china serves as a filing cabinet for my husband. I just love it!

At the same time women were making patterned quilts,they were also making coverlets on looms. the earlier ones were made in 4 pieces and sewn together. They were usually blue and white and signed by their creator along with the date they were finished. Later a loom with larger dimensions enabled  the coverlets to be made in one piece. I latched on to one of these in Ohio and it now adorns my fireplace wall in my family room. It is beautifully and intricately rendered and what I like best about it is that it is worn thin along the edges. To some that may be a flaw but to me it says it was well used and served it’s purpose.These coverlets were made of wool.

Any quilters out there that would like to share their stories! Would love to hear them.

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