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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Pins and Needles

The quilt pictured above is not one of my creations....what a beautiful quilt from the late 1800's! This photo is from

Here are some "quilting quotes and notes" from the web I have hanging in my sewing space - hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

"I made quilts as fast as I could to keep my family warm, and as pretty as I could to keep my heart from breaking." - from a pioneer woman's diary.

Old quilt patterns went west with the pioneers, and new ones were made and named for the milestones of the journey. Kansas Troubles, Road to California, and Oregon Trail are pattern names that reflect a growing nation and the diversity of the patchwork tradition. Cherished souvenirs of life in the East survived the trip west, especially signature quilts, since they sumbolized ties to distant family and friends.

"I have found nothing so desirable for summer covers as the old-fashioned scrap quilt of which our mothers were so proud. Every girl should piece one at least to carry away to her husband's house. And if her lot happens to be cast among strangers, the quilt when she unfolds it will seem like the face of a familiar friend, bringing up a host of memories....too sacred to intrude upon." - Good Housekeeping magazine, 1888.

Scrap quilts are perhaps the most beloved quilts! The patchwork quilt was created out of need - the need for women to keep their families warm. They were made by a generation of quilters who spread out over the prairies after the Civil War. Times were tough everywhere, but the West offered new beginnings and opportunities for all. The railroads moved both people and goods, encouraging settlers with news from home and bits of calico and thread!

"It took me more than 20 years, nearly 25 I reckon, in the evenings after supper when the children were all put to bed. My whole life is in that quilt...All my joys and all my sorrows are stitched into those little pieces...I tremble sometimes when I remember what that quilt knows about me." - Marguerite Ickis, quoting her great-grandmother.

The 1920's are known for prosperity and change. Women achieved the right to vote, and modern technology - electricity, gas, and water lines - liberated them from household chores. Women pieced quilts for enjoyment, more than from necessity. At the same time, magazines and newspapers began to publish quilting patterns. They fueled women's drive to quilt. Magazines, such as Successful Farming and Ladies Home Journal, and newspapers, such as the Kansas City Star, were sought after by farm women who were the most devoted and productive quiltmakers in the 20's and 30's.

Hope the quotes inspire you to keep on quilting! I love studying the history of quilting as much as I love the quilting.

I have been quilting so much (and work has been so busy) I haven't taken time to post in quite some time! Soon I should have some new pictures of works in progress. Hand sewing has become my latest passion.... good old needle and thread. I discovered how much more control I have over piecing accurately with a needle and thread vs. the speed of the sewing machine. I am content with the portability of hand sewing and the soothing pace of work in progress. There are several advantages to hand sewing and quilting:
  • Power outages won't affect my work
  • I can quilt while I travel or watch TV
  • Ripping out mistakes is a whole lot easier
  • Precise alignment of seams is really possible
  • I never have to stop and re-load a bobbin
  • Most importantly, it connects me to the women who came before me and created beautiful quilts with only needle and thread
Have a wonderful quilting day and you will be amazed at what you can do with just a needle and thread!
from the Carousel Quilter......

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