Quilting is my hobby and passion, something I share with woman all over the world. We buy fabric, make quilts and keep our loved ones warm and happy. We love the process and the product but maybe it’s time for this quilter to do a bit of research on her passion. I’ve been poking around on the internet all afternoon and have discovered some fun facts about quilting that I will share with you now!
1. The word quilt – According to dictionary.com the word Quilt dates back to 1250 or so. The term in Middle English was quilte, based on old French word cuilte derived from the Latin word culcita for mattress. I am imagining that these items to sleep ON where several layers of fabric joined together. Language and sleep habits are dynamic and now we have our beloved quilts.
2. First quilt – The process of quilting shows up in Egypt and Feudal clothing. Who knows who used that process for the first time but the oldest quilt still around today is The Tristan Quilt in the Victoria and Albert Museum. Here is a photo from their website.
3. Average quilter today – Quilters Newsletter published a study which tells us that there are 21 million quilters in the US, predominately female and average age is 62. This date was published in 2010, I bet the next survey will show somewhat different results.
5. Modern Quilting – A movement which began on in internet was formalized by the formation of the Modern Quilt Guild in 2009 according to its website.
6. Amish Quilts – Aren’t they the first “Modern Quilts?” If by that you mean solids, they did indeed specialize in solid colors. Their quilts were created for use, not for the sake of art. Solid fabrics were used in their clothing for this same reason, you don’t need the decoration. It was a natural extension to use solids in their quilts. You can learn even more at The Amish Quilt.
7. Amish quotes – Last time I was at one of my guild meetings two different people told me the quote about how Amish quilters make mistakes because only God is perfect. Everyone knows this fact/quote/story yet it’s a myth. Yep, according to America’s qulting history, the Amish don’t say any such thing about quilts. I think it’s because we all make mistakes so someone made it up and it’s been told so many times, it’s taken as truth.
8. Juicy Quilt controversy – Yes, there are some risque quilts out there and they were featured in the now defunct Quilters Home according to this 2009 article from the Washington Post. And you thought it was the latest disagreement in your quilt guild!
9. Chintzy – I have heard Quilt historians say that this word comes from the frugal use of Chintz fabric in Borderie Perse. However, every dictionary I consulted claims its origin from George Elliot’s use of the word chintzy referring to the commonness of the fabric. Another quilt controversy?
10. Most famous quilt – According to Why Quilts Matter, the quilts of Gees bend are the most famous quilts in America.
11. US postage stamps – Besides Gee’s Bend, the US postal service has featured Amish and Folk Art quilts on its stamps. I have purchased them and used them up. I should have bought more!
12. Largest quilt – The world’s largest historical quilt is located in Antler, ND. It is 11,390 square feet and depicts the state. However it has a sad history of no home. It’s been certified by The Guinness Book of World Records and is an interesting tale.
You and I did not make this list but we are a truly important part of Quilt history. We are making quilts, buying quilt supplies and keeping this art alive. Yay for all of us!
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If you enjoy posts about the history of quilts click here to read one from last year on Lincoln quilts.