Tuesday, August 10, 2010

postheadericon Quilting History

More History for your to enjoy:

The Nineteenth Century

During the first half of the nineteenth century, distinctly American styles of patchwork quilts developed in the Delaware Valley. Combining British needlework techniques with German decorative traditions, these quilts featured bold geometric designs in contrasting colors. Quilt makers typically constructed their quilts with repeating blocks rather than in the older framed-center style. The new styles entered Georgia through coastal cities and inland routes into the backcountry, largely replacing older styles by about 1850.

Bible Quilt
Harriet Powers finished her Bible Quilt around 1886 in Athens. 
The third panel in the second row depicts the story of Jacob's dream, 
when "he lay on the ground."
Enslaved blacks identified with Jacob, 
for he was homeless, hunted, and 
weary of his journey.  
Courtesy of National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution

African Americans, both enslaved and free, made quilts. Slave owners
typically either supplied families

with purchased blankets or directed the production of thick whole-cloth comforters on the plantation. Some skillful seamstresses made fine quilts for their owners or clients, while others acquired fabrics to make quilts for their own use. Although most surviving nineteenth-century quilts made by African Americans resemble those made by European Americans, there is some evidence of the survival of African design elements. Harriet Powers of Athens, the most famous African American quilt maker of the nineteenth century, made quilts depicting historical events and Bible stories. Her pictorial motifs resemble West African ceremonial textiles.

The Civil War (1861-65) and Reconstruction affected all aspects of everyday life, including quilt making. The families of Confederate soldiers were required to supply their clothing and bedding. Many women returned to spinning and weaving when manufactured fabrics became unavailable. Shortages of sewing-machine needles, manufactured thread, cards, and other textile tools limited production. When Northern armies invaded, some families hid fine quilts and other valuables to save them from theft or destruction.

Ladies Aid Society, 1904
Members of the Ladies Aid Society
of Marietta at a First Baptist Church quilting in 1904.
Courtesy of Georgia Archives, Vanishing Georgia Collection
During the mid-nineteenth century, New England textile mills produced affordable fabrics, replacing imports for everyday clothing and household needs. As the southern economy improved after the war, quilt making became popular among middle-class women. Sewing machines enabled women to make family clothing more quickly, allowing more time for decorative sewing, including quilt making. Georgia quilts made in the second half of the nineteenth century display a wide variety of techniques, patterns, and color combinations.

"Whig's Defeat"
This pieced and appliqued quilt, entitled "Whig's Defeat," 
was made in 1856 by Susan Lloyd, a resident of Rome.
Courtesy of John Burrison

Between 1880 and 1900 Georgia quilt makers took part in a popular internat
ional phenomenon of making what are known as crazy quilts. Women assembled irregularly shaped pieces of satin and velvet into random arrangements, then embellished them with embroidery. Too fragile for actual use as bedcovers, crazy quilts reflected the ornate decorative styles of the late Victorian era.

Popular periodicals, which circulated widely throughout the country in the 1890s, published quilt-pattern diagrams. As a result, regional patterns became distributed nationally, many new patterns emerged, and some old patterns were given names for the first time. The development of textile mills in southern states near the end of the century made fabric less expensive, and even poor families could afford fabric for quilts.


About CQ

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Comforting Quilters is a Non-Profit Organization that was organized to create and provide quilts to anyone need a bit of comfort. These quilts are created and delivered to Hospice patients, seriously ill patients, those who have suffered a loss or anyone who comes to our attention.

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