Scrap Quilts: The Art of Making Do


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Seller Inventory ZZN. More information about this seller Contact this seller. Seller Inventory M Paperback or Softback. Scrap Quilts. Seller Inventory BBS Book Description C and T Publishing, New Book. Shipped from UK. Established seller since Seller Inventory IQ Not overstocks or remainder copy!. Language: English. Brand new Book. Seller Inventory APC There is a difference between "to patch" and "to piece" as used in connection with the making of quilts. The patched quilts were commonly associated with misfortunate circumstances.

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All the people had to make quilts out of was just old patches. Patches were cut out of old garments and sewn together not forming any particular pattern to make a quilt, but many of the "scrap quilts," as they called them, were very pretty when made from gay pieces carefully blended of various shades of a color.

The pieced quilts made a special appeal to women who delighted in precise and accurate work. In the pieced quilts the pieces were usually of uniform shape and size and of contrasting colors which made a pattern, whereas the patched quilts were all shapes and colors of material sewn together. Each woman prided herself in creating a quilt that was artistic whether it was a patched or a pieced quilt.

For those who enjoyed making pieced quilts, there was practically no limit to the variety of designs available. Women tried out their own creativeness and would make up their own patterns from the basic Nine Patch to rather complicated patterns like the Mother's Dream. Among the most fascinating features of a quilt is the great number and variety of names given to quilt designs.

The many days spent in creating even a simple quilt gave the maker time to ponder over a name for the new design. Quilt names often reflected the moods and personalities of the people who named them. Some quilt patterns got their names from historical or political events.

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These quilts with political and historical names show that the women as well as the men were interested in the affairs of the country. They named quilts from outdoor life, recreation and occupations. Women who were artistic delighted in changing and improving the designs using old patterns as a foundation as they worked out new designs.

Therefore, it is not unusual to find patterns of the same design having many different names. When called Memory Wreath it was made from pieces of clothing worn by the departed with their names embroidered in the center. Even the everyday quilts not particularly beautiful perhaps, but nevertheless needed, were also considered worthy of names. The grown-ups were not the only ones who had to do with the naming of quilts. Children named them, too, and the results were quaint names such as Pig Pen and PinWheel.

They were delighted when they were able to name a quilt and to pick out the blocks of material that were once a part of their own dresses or shirts. When one woman would make up a new pattern she was anxious to give it or trade it for another one with her friends or relatives. All year in their spare time women and girls cut out quilt blocks and pieced them together.

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When the quilt top was all pieced together it was then ready for quilting. Quilting means to stitch together the pieced top, filling and lining making a sort of cloth sandwich. The lining is usually a whole cloth stretched over a quilting frame. Then the filler of wool or cotton is laid on and the finished top is stretched on last. The three layers are then stitched through following lines marked on the top. Quilting keeps the filler from shifting and bunching up. Social life in the settlements was usually very limited and some of the social pleasure of the pioneer women was due to their widespread interest in quilts.

A quilting bee was a special occasion not only for women, but also for the whole family. On a warm summer day the women would rise very early to set up the quilting frames under a big shade tree out in the yard. They stretched the lining, filling and pieced top in the frames and would start marking the design on the top of the quilt.

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Then women and girls of every age would gather around the quilt, happily visiting with busy fingers working. They would talk of all the important happenings such as the new minister, a new family moving into the community, the latest baby, the next marriage or a house burning. When these events happened, neighborhood women, friends and women of the church would often have a quilting bee to make the newcomers or fire victims a quilt.

At noon the women stopped to spread out their basket dinner on tables, calling in the children from their games. After putting away left over food, they would again gather around the quilting frames. The quilt was to be finished by suppertime because sometimes the menfolk came from the fields to supper and later played games, danced or sang songs. The quilting bee was a day of work and fun for all, as a social pleasure second to a religious gathering. Quilting bees were also occasionally neighborhood or church projects as a way of raising money.

Quilts for family use though, were usually quilted at home. Many women had frames set up in a room of their house or later some had smaller lap frames on which to quilt. When it was time to put a new quilt into the frame, a neighbor would come to help and sometimes stay to help quilt. Helping each other quilt made the work go faster and more pleasantly. Tongues would work as rapidly as the busy fingers.


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Skill and speed in quilting could only be acquired through much practice. Quilting was a slow process especially if the quilt was to have lots of fancy designs. One of the most popular used quilting design was the feather design. Patterns of quilting are not as plentiful as designs for pieced tops of quilts.

Only about eight or ten standard patterns are in general use. These designs are arranged in wavy lines and circles and when the work is well done, they are beautiful. The finest quilts that the women had with fancy quilt designs and color coordination were sometimes taken to county fairs.

The women would bring jars of jellies and jams, homemade breads and needlework to be exhibited and judged.

Scrap Quilts : The Art of Making Do

The exhibits gave the women a chance to display quilts from new designs they had made themselves. Each hoped to win the blue ribbon for the best stitching, best color coordination and design. The exhibit aroused enthusiasm among the viewers to start a new quilt that would surely win the blue ribbon at the next year's county fair. Mothers and grandmothers made special quilts for each child in the family for the time they would set up housekeeping, boys as well as girls.

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Cherished heirloom quilts were sometimes passed down to the grandaughters as a wedding gift. Most quilts were used everyday.

However, the best quilts were often saved for special occasions such as when the minister or other special guests stayed overnight. Sometimes to protect the quilt an extra binding like a slip cover would be placed over the top of the quilt that would be near the face. This would cut down the number of washings needed, because though quilts are washable, washing is hard on them and they rarely look as nice afterwards. In pioneer times and in some areas up through the first two or three decades of the twentieth century, women in rural areas had no access to nor knowledge of formal art forms such as painting and sculpture in their isolated homebound lives--nor would it have been possible for the women to have spent time on them had they been available.


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But far from being artistically starved, the American woman has continually turned the producing of basic necessities into works of art, using a skill that has been traditionally hers--needlework. In addition to making rugs, crocheting, knitting, embroidering, tatting and needlepoint, perhaps the finest, most accomplished and sophisticated, as well as most widespread endeavor, was the making of quilts.

From this need she created works of artistic beauty and fine craftsmanship which at the same time afforded her a means of expression, an enjoyable individual pastime and a reason for neighborliness and social gatherings. She accomplished all this from tiny scraps of waste material. Quilt making epitomizies the best of the American woman's pioneer spirit of conservation, ingenuity and appreciation for fine things in deprived circumstances.

And the quilts they made do one more thing for us today. They give us pieces of the past. The Nine Patch quilt is one of the oldest and probably the most popular of the quilt patterns. Though there are many variations, they are all based on the basic simple Nine Patch pattern which we are describing here.

Some patterns have a variety in the size and shape of the squares, changing from the straight squares to rectangulars and to the more difficult curved sides, but most of the variety in the quilt is in the color arrangements of the blocks. There are endless possibilities for originality even within the simple square Nine Patch, ranging from a hodge-podge of colors with no pattern at all to the stylized arrangement of our quilt.

Each person piecing a Nine Patch will create her own design. This is the one we created.

Since the Nine Patch is perhaps the simplest quilt to piece, it is a very good one for beginners. It is easy to piece because it is based on the square, all the seams are straight and there are only two basic sizes of blocks to cut out. The equipment you will need is a hem gauge, scissors, tailor's chalk, needles, thimble and thread.

If seams are not all the same the block will not be square, and if the blocks are not all square, then the finished quilt will not be square either. The needles and thimble are very important parts of your equipment. You need size 7 or 8 quilting needle and a thimble that is comfortable, but not tight on your middle finger.

Scrap Quilts: The Art of Making Do Scrap Quilts: The Art of Making Do
Scrap Quilts: The Art of Making Do Scrap Quilts: The Art of Making Do
Scrap Quilts: The Art of Making Do Scrap Quilts: The Art of Making Do
Scrap Quilts: The Art of Making Do Scrap Quilts: The Art of Making Do
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