I can remember when I first began to quilt. I thought that I had to quilt like our grandmothers did. (Well, not my grandma..Maddie was way too modern to quilt! :-)) But you know what I mean. I thought everything had to be done by hand and all fabric should be “recycled”. That idea actually didn’t last long! I came to love my sewing machine and rotary cutter and acrylic templates and quilt shop quality fabric and all that good stuff! But what about our quilting ancestors? How did they quilt?
At our last guild meeting, we had a presentation by Cathy Grafton. Cathy came in period costume and in character to tell us how our great-great-greats sewed and quilted in the early 1800s. It was a fascinating program! I think what surprised me the most was that women of that period purchased new fabrics for quilts. They did not use old clothing because they wore their clothing until they were basically rags. And I thought I hung onto clothes for a long time!
She told us how precious needles and pins were at that time. They were difficult to obtain and many times were shared. At that rate, my husband has had a million dollars in and out of his feet over the years! Needles and pins were treasured. Think about how many we toss away. I can see the look of horror on Hannah’s face! Scissors were availabe but obviously not anything like the rotary cutters we’re so accustomed to using. Items like that were carried with the woman in either a pocket that hung around her waist or a chatelaine that hung around her neck.
Of course, she also brought along some reproduction quilts that she made in the manner of the era.
Although it was an interesting evening, I have no desire to give up my sewing machine and all the modern notions. We’ve come a long way, baby!
Here’s a question for you! I was machine quilting a piece yesterday and I had a problem with a thread spool. This spool had one of those little notches cut into the top and the thread kept getting stuck there. I think it’s a cruel joke…they put a notch for every quilter that’s going to get thread stuck there! I’m sure I’m not the only one this happens to. What do you do to fix that? It’s soooo aggravating!!!!