The early settlers brought with them their skills and techniques for quilting on cloth. From there, quilting grew in many ways. From decorations on cloth, to layers of cloth quilted for bedding and up to elaborate quilts and quilted wall hangings. Quilts were known to have become family heirlooms and handed down to the next generations and it is even reported that George Washington's mother left him a quilt. If that was a quilt for sale, I wonder what the price would be. For years women would often get together in quilting bees during the spring and summer months to make quilts on larger frames, and then the smaller hoops that they would typically use at home. After getting some quilt tops made during the winter, women would get together to have a Quilting Bee to finish the quilts.

Quilting Bees were not just for sewing, it was a day to spend with their friends to share their day to day experiences or possibly share a recipe or two. Today, we still have quilting bees for a lot of the same reasons. Some churches or other organizations have groups of women that will get together to make a quilt that can be sold as a fund raiser or possibly given as a gift for someone special or someone in need. It was a tradition for mothers to hand down their quilting skills that they had acquired to their daughters; hopefully that tradition will never end. Not only was quilting a means of utilizing worn clothing, but it was also used to tell a story in many cases. Women who didn't have the skills to write, the courage to voice a political statement or to voice their opinion, would often tell their story with material by quilting. In a time of war, women would often quilt in memory of a loved one that they had lost using bits of their clothing, a way to record and remember their heritage or give direction during the Underground Railroad era.   

Recently, I was going through my Hope Chest that I had gotten from my grandparents when I was young and came across the beautiful hand tied quilt that my mother had made. I can remember when I was younger not appreciating all the time and love that Mom had put into the quilts that she made for us. Little did I know then that I would be a quilter one day and have a whole new respect for quilting. We grew up out in South Dakota, and like so many areas, the winters were cold and often times windy. We had a big old farm house with a wood heater in the middle of the living room floor that kept it warmer downstairs then upstairs where our bedrooms were. It always seemed like the wind would find its way into the house and up the stairs, particularly to my room, so we had homemade quilts to help keep us warm. I can remember complaining to Mom that they were too heavy to be bedspreads and when they were on the bed I could hardly move underneath them at night, but I was never cold. Dad would often hang a quilt at the bottom of the stairs to keep the heat downstairs and I'm sure Mom would love it when he would nail them to the wall. We didn't have today's technology of easy to hang and remove hooks, and being on the farm, Dad never seemed to have a shortage of nails and a hammer laying around to tack them up with.

One of the quilts that I treasure today is a velvet one where Mom used her favorite stitch, the feather stitch, which she would use to tie a lot of small pieces of different colored fabric together, called a patchwork quilt. That is one of my favorite types of quilts. A Patchwork quilt contains a variety of fabrics and pieces cut into different shapes and sizes. Once the fabric is cut into smaller pieces, the task of first stitching them back together into blocks and then putting the blocks together into quilt can begin. As like the early settlers, Mom would use fabric from clothes in her quilts. I can still look at those quilts today and remember one of my dresses that a certain piece of fabric had come from or maybe one of Mom's blouses. A lot of the patterns that we can find today for patchwork quilts have been passed on for many generations and will hopefully continue to be handed down to future generations.

There are so many types of quilts for sale available today and the colors are simply beautiful.  No matter what your taste or style may be, there is a quilt for sale that would be perfect for you.  There are single or multicolor quilts, quilts from the size for a doll bed up to a King Size bed, square, rectangle and even star shaped quilts and the list of variety goes on forever.  So you see, you can always find a quilt for sale that would be just what you were looking for.
QUILTING
MEMORIES