Quilt Block of the Month Club

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  • Some examples of our quilt designs
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  • Some examples of our quilt designs
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  • Some examples of our quilt designs
  • View this quilt's detailed image
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  • Some examples of our quilt designs
  • View this quilt's detailed image
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  • Some examples of our quilt designs
  • View this quilt's detailed image
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  • Some examples of our quilt designs
  • View this quilt's detailed image
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  • Some examples of our quilt designs
  • View this quilt's detailed image
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  • Some examples of our quilt designs
  • View this quilt's detailed image
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  • Some examples of our quilt designs
  • View this quilt's detailed image
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  • Some examples of our quilt designs
  • View this quilt's detailed image
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  • Some examples of our quilt designs
  • View this quilt's detailed image
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  • Some examples of our quilt designs
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  • Some examples of our quilt designs
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  • Some examples of our quilt designs
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  • Some examples of our quilt designs
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  • Some examples of our quilt designs
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History of Quilting

Quilting is a time-honoured method of sewing that is commonly believed to have originated in the time of the Crusades, when soldiers needed warmth as well as padded protection under their heavy armour. However, there are ancient Egyptian sculptures showing figures that seem to be wearing quilted clothing, which may date the origin of this craft even earlier.

America is often recognised for having a long tradition of quilt-making. In Colonial times most women were kept busy spinning, weaving and making clothing for their families. Usually commercial blankets or woven coverlets were a more economical bedcovering option for most households.

The wealthier classes tended to have more leisure time for making quilts, so Colonial Quilting was done by only a few. It was a source of pride for these women on their fine quilting of wholecloth quilts with fine needlework. Quilts made during the early 1800s were not constructed of pieced blocks but were instead whole cloth, broderie perse and medallion quilts.

By the mid 1800s, with the Industrial Revolution and the invention of the cotton gin, the textile industry had grown to the point that commercial fabrics were affordable to almost every family. As a result women no longer had to spend all of their time spinning and weaving to provide fabric for their family's needs. With more leisure time, and a good range of coloured fabric readily available, quilt making became widespread. With this trend came the rise of patchwork patterns.

The first of these block designs were simple: squares, rectangles, and triangles. Then, more creative and complicated designs were developed. The Mariners Star for example became popular with the more highly skilled quiltmakers and we still see variations of it today as a favourite centre medallion in many quilts.

These pieced block quilts, commonly called patchwork quilts, did not become the primary method of quilt making until the mid-19th Century, and indeed it is still not the most common form of quiltmaking in parts of Europe, and India.

During this period of innovation and growth of new ideas and methods in quilt making, the invention and ready availability of the sewing machine had a huge impact. In 1856 The Singer Company started the instalment plan so that more families could afford a sewing machine and by the 1870s a good many households owned a sewing machine.

This really impacted quilt making in two ways. Firstly, women could sew their family's clothing much more quickly, which left them more time to devote to quilt making, and secondly they could use their sewing machines to make all or part of their quilts. The sewing machine was used primarily to piece quilts but occasionally the quilting was done with the sewing machine also.

Towards the end of the 19th Century the most popular quilt style was the Crazy Quilt. Crazy quilts were made of simple random abstract shapes sewn together, and embroidery was then used to embellish the quilt. A large variety of fancy stitches were sewn along the seams and often the quilter also added embroidered motifs including flowers, birds and sometimes a spider and web for good luck. This fashion in quiltmaking was promoted in the magazines of the time, and young women in particular were keen to make them to showcase their skill in embroidery. Due to the time consuming nature of making crazy quilts, they usually were of a smaller size and used as decorative throws rather than as bedcoverings.

In the 20th Century, and particularly the Depression years of the 1930s, when money was more scarce, several companies that sold bags of everyday products such as flour, sugar, and chicken feed, made these bags of printed cotton fabrics. As a marketing tool, this had great value, as women looked for the prettiest fabric, and made clothing from these feed sacks and used the left over scraps for quilts.

Today, art quilts have become popular for their aesthetic and artistic qualities rather than just for their practical use as a bedspread. There are many different ranges of pattern designs now available, including the popular Block of the Month program. Quilts are still sewn either by hand, or by sewing machine, and these days quilting is done not only on bedspreads, but also as textile art on quilted wall hangings, clothing, and a variety of other practical and aesthetic domestic items.

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