In days gone by, quilting was a typical form of activity for the social elite. Even earlier, quilting fabric was something that the wives of farmers did as a way to come together to share news and gossip that was a part of their lives. These times were an opportunity for them to walk away from the stresses and strains of the farming lifestyle and relax, sharing something lighthearted with each other. This was during a time when quilts were a vital part of peoples’ lives. And, they were used for everything from curtains to bed linen, as well as clothing such as waistcoats and petticoats, where cold climates required warm clothes. As a case in point, the patchwork quilt was developed during a time of fabric shortage, where articles of fabric that were on their last days would be sewn into these makeshift quilting patterns.
Nowadays, quilting has gone out of favor in the activities of the social elite, and even the lower social echelons have lost touch with the social necessity of quilting; it is rather taken on out of enjoyment and as an expressive art form. Patchwork isn’t an economic necessity either but in fact has evolved into another art form. There are still quilts made from scraps of fabric but mainly for achieving that antique patchwork look rather than to recycle worn out fabric. Another reason for patchworking quilts is to honor a special event. What mainly drives the quilting nowadays is creativity and artistic expression rather than frugality. The best trait about quilting is its versatility and its ability to adapt to the changing times that it finds itself a part of.
Quilters today turn to the craft of making quilts out of the sheer enjoyment it produces, as well as the rewarding experience when one is done with a project. Quilting gives people an outlet for their creative energy and brings a level of joy that enhances their life. There are several aspects to quilting that those who do it find appealing – from selecting or creating the pattern to work with, to the choosing of fabric, and finally the delight and sense of accomplishment when the project is done. They gain the opportunity to work with a mix of designs and color as well as with the different textures that the many fabrics offer. Besides the artistic satisfaction, quilting is also a great way to relieve stress, particularly among mothers with small children. Most quilters will tell you that no drug on the market can equal the sense people get when they are in the midst of a quilting project.
Because quilts bring comfort and warmth they are ideal creations for bedding and clothes. Still others are displayed as actual work of art, showcasing the talents of their creators. These days quilting has found its way in various items – throw pillows, purses, eyeglass cases, diaper bags, bonnets, table runners, Christmas stockings, wall hangings and place-mats.
For those interested in quilting, the good news is that nowadays it poses much less technical challenges and there are no prerequisite skills needed to get going, just the ability to sew. All quilters do is stitch layers of cloth and other fabrics together following a pattern that lends itself to the creativity of the maker. A quilt really is: a multi-layered mixture of batting and fabrics that have been sewn together. The fundamental equipment involved in the craft of quilting ranges from a hoop or frame to quilt with, thread and needles, pins and a thimble, scissors and beeswax. One can add masking tape, a long ruler, and markers and drawing pens for pattern transferring. Even though sewing machines have long replaced the hand sewing from the past the quilters of today are still inspired by the designs and creativity of the quilts of old. Even more, the present day quilters don’t just duplicate colors and patterns but rather use them as starting point for infusing their own vision and creativity leading to unique quilts for the future generations to follow and get inspired from.