“The art of quilting integrated the European and African cultures in America during the slave period. The African folk tradition was considered inferior, and the European superior. In spite of this gap, quilting brought about the unity of these two traditions and cultures.
It brought the values of both the African and European American women together in a way no folk art tradition did before. Both of them deeply rely on the traditions of storytelling and folklore. Uniting women to sew and pass the traditions to new generations are the common characteristics of both cultures.
Not only did both African and European Americans make quilts to provide warm blankets for their families, but also to show their creativity and gain status, record family history, and to represent various themes and beliefs. Women considered it to be the best way to spend time together and display their skills.
Despite the fact that quilting is a process with individual interpretations, it is also a cultural process that came into being from the exchange and merging of both African and European traditions. The emergence of American quilting was one of the products of this process. The quilting styles of both cultures are highly symbolic. Both of them deeply rely on the traditions of storytelling and folklore. Uniting women to sew and pass the traditions to new generations are the common characteristics of both traditions.”
I make no apology for quoting these extracts, if you like, from my e-Book – The Essential Guide to Quilting. The book is basically about learning how to quilt, but firstly I felt that it was important to have a look at the history of quilting – like a lot of you reading this, I had no idea about how important this craft was to our history, indeed for much of the world.
I go into more detail on the History in the e-Book, so, as I said in my Autobiography. When I started Quilting several years ago, there was not that much good information about how to start thus I took a break from quilting to write the e-Book; The Essential Guide to Quilting, to put my readers on the right road without the hit & miss ride that I had, when I might have given up at times.
Most important to start out is to learn the main quilting terms, here are just a few:
1. Applique – Appliques are pieces of fabric applied to other pieces of fabric, using fusible webbing or stitching. The stitching can be done by hand or with a machine. Buttonhole, satin or blind stitches are the usual methods used.
2. Basting – Spray basting, thread basting, and pin basting are common methods of basting. This process involves holding the quilt top, batting (the middle layer between quilts – usually cotton, wool or polyester) and backing together to sew it all together finally.
3. Bearding – the process of pulling the batting fibers through the tops and bottoms of the quilt, through the holes created during sewing, to produce a whiskered effect.
4. Cheater’s Panel/Cloth – They are pieces of fabric printed with quilt block designs. They are made to resemble a pieced or appliqued quilt top.
Here I have selected some of the less obvious terms in quilting with a quick description to draw attention to the need to learn them to get the most out of this fascinating craft. There are lots of terms to learn – believe me when I say I am not trying to put you off, merely to help you on your way.