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  • Laura Doughty

Sew Many Ways to Quilting

Quilting has such a rich and deep heritage. Telling stories, sending messages, symbolizing love and depicting family lineage, are just a few ways that quilts have made and have a lasting impression on us today. The Grand Home is filled with quilts passed down from other family members and ones hand made especially for the Doughty family.

According to their website, The American Quilter’s Society is the largest quilting membership organization in the world. For 30 years, AQS has been the leading voice in quilting inspiration and advice through a broad suite of products: magazines, books, live events, contests, workshops, online networks, patterns, fabric, and catalogs. At AQS, they believe that with inspiration and advice, creatively minded individuals can take quilting projects beyond anything they have previously imagined. That is why inspiration is central to everything they do. The leading authors in quilting choose to publish with AQS, the best in quilt artistry select AQS events to display their work, the newest quilters learn from the knowledge and inspiration of AQS members.

AQS celebrates the art of quilting by hosting a QuiltWeek in many different locations. We’re lucky enough to be near one coming up very soon in Paducah, KY – April 22 to 25th. The world of quilting is bursting at the seams with masters in the quilting arts at QuiltWeek. You can experience firsthand the techniques, the color, the heart, and the infinitely creative minds of some of the world’s finest quilting mentors. For more information about the Paducah QuiltWeek, click here. And of course, The Grand Home is the perfect place to stay!!

But before we get too far ahead, let’s take a look back at the history of quilting. The history of quilts began long before European settlers arrived in the New World. People in nearly every part of the world had used padded fabrics for clothing, bedding, and even armor. With the arrival of the English and Dutch settlers in North America, quilting took on a new life and flourished.

The term “quilt” comes from the Latin <i>culcita</i>, meaning a stuffed sack. The word has come to have 2 meanings. It is used as noun, meaning the 3-layer stitched bed-covering. It is also used as a verb, meaning the act of stitching through the 3 layers to hold them together.

A quilt is a cloth sandwich, with a top, which is usually the decorated part, a back, and a filler in the middle. Under the general term of patchwork are of 3 different types of quilts: (1) the plain or whole cloth quilt, (2) applique quilts, and (3) pieced or patchwork quilts.

The quilt, as we know it in America, was originally a strictly utilitarian article, born of the necessity of providing warm covers for beds. Quilts were also used as hangings for doors and windows that were not sealed well enough to keep out the cold. The earliest American quilts, made by English and Dutch settlers, were so intimately connected to everyday life of the early colonists that no record of them exists. For more details and info on the history of quilting, click here.

Quilts being typically woven in block patterns have a history and meaning as well, including hidden meaning for aiding slaves in finding passage through the underground railroad. The Blocks have names and here’s a source for seeing what they mean – click here. For the amazing history of the quilt code patterns for the Underground Railroad Quilt Code, click here.

The history of America can be seen in the history of quilts: in the rich heritage left us by those thrifty, self-sufficient women who helped settle this land, in the families whose history is sewn into quilts one patch at a time, and in the legacy of the quilting arts passed on to children and grandchildren so they may carry them forward to the future.

All the photos here are pictures of quilts at The Grand Home. Feel free to stop by for your tour!

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