Friday, January 27, 2023

Brief History of Quilting, part 1

 When we think of quilts, we most often picture bed coverings comprised of cut pieces of colorful fabric stitched together in pleasing patterns. But possibly the two oldest quilts are from 14th century Sicily and are of white whole cloth, not pieced, and contain both intricate quilting and trapunto, a technique where cording is used to increase and define the raised surface.  The craftsmanship denotes skilled workers who designed and stitched scenes from the legend of Tristan and Isolde. Both quilts are in museums—one in Bargello Museum in Florence, and the other in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

photo credit Geta's Quilt Studio

During the Crusades, Europeans discovered Turkish soldiers wore quilted garments under their armor. Multiple layers of fabric with a lining provided both warmth and padding. The fashion soon migrated to Europe, especially the northern countries. Able seamstresses easily saw the benefit of using the technique for bed coverings. Although only the rich could have bought fabric with the intention of sewing a quilt, resourceful and thrifty housewives would have saved fabric wherever it could be found.

credit Pinterest

The practice crossed the ocean with the colonists, especially from countries like England, France, Holland, and Italy. The earliest surviving American quilts were calamancos made of whole cloth, usually a wool top (often imported) layered with wool batting and a home-woven linen or linsey-woolsey backing. The most common quilting pattern was large plumes. Cloth was most commonly imported from England and France until the early 19th century when American mills started producing cheap printed cotton fabric. Quilts of this time were often medallion style with a patchwork center surrounded by multiple borders.

The heroine of my latest release, Holle, is a quilter and a quilt needing repair is the way the hero and heroine meet.

Blurb for Holle, book 4 in Christmas Quilt Brides multi-author series.

Holle Berthold thinks love is a curse. Her first fiancé died, and the second one jilted her two days before the wedding. Then the man who funded her train ticket to Montana as a mail-order bride rejected her because of her partial deafness. Abandoned, she must find a job.

Widower Eduard Lambrecht discovers his late wife’s Christmas quilt is damaged. At the seamstress shop, he learns the woman to repair it is also the mail-order bride his cousin rejected. Can their bruised hearts dare to try again?

Amazon link

This novella is featured in N.N. Light’s Wintertime Reading Bookish Event. Click here to learn about all the books and enter to win a $10 Amazon gift card. 

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