“Beautiful things come together, one stitch at a time”
‘Our last blog was all about the lovely quilt our friend quilted for us recently, which got us thinking about the history of quilting- we love looking back at the crafts William Morris produced and the processes behind the crafts to hone them and so we wanted to look at the history of quilting in this blog!
As an art, quilting can actually be traced back until at least the Middle Ages- in the Victoria & Albert in London you’re able to see examples from around the world; Europe, India and the Far East, but quilting has also been a popular activity in Persia, Turkestan and Moslem Africa, according to the V&A website regarding their exhibitions.
The word ‘quilt’ is Middle English, coming from Old French ‘cult’ which is from the Latin ‘culcita’ meaning ‘mattress, cushion.’
Today, quilting usually means two layers of fabric which sandwich a padding or lining. In 18th century English quilting however, only the two outer layers are used with no filling and in Italian quilting, the raised pattern is created through strands of cord or thick wool threading between parallel lines of stitching.
Before the 18th Century, there’s little known about patchwork and quilting as few examples have survived. From 1718, one of the earliest dated patchworks remains well known as the 1718 Silk Patchwork Coverlet which was made using paper templates and expensive silks- used for decades before they were eventually used to be turned into the coverlet. Patchwork was a popular pursuit of ladies at the time for a leisure activity but quilting was considered a professional skill.
Towards the end of the 18th Century and the early 19th Century, technology had advanced and the textile manufacture developments meant printed cotton fabrics increased in popularity. For those in higher society who could afford the luxury, expensive printed cottons were made into a mosaic patchwork which also required paper for the template- which was also expensive. This meant less complicated patterns were used by those without as much money.
Today, quilts are such a lovely past time- we’ve become addicted to looking through quilting tips and tricks on Pinterest with photos of beautiful quilts. Have you ever made a quilt with our fabric? We’d love to see, please email us photos to: firstname.lastname@example.org