On the American frontier, quilt making was both a necessity and an art. The pioneer women who made quilts used their creativity and imagination while assuring that their families would be kept warm.
Quilting is a needlework technique in which two layers of fabric are stitched together with soft padding in between. To keep the padding from shifting, many short stiches are run through the layers, usually in a decorative pattern.
Dutch and English settlers introduced quilting to colonial America. A uniquely American innovation was the patchwork quilt, produced by cutting scraps of clothin into various shapes and then sewing them together to make a decorative quilt top.
Another popular type was the applique quilt, in which subjects such as flowers and animals were cut from colored cloth and sewn to a plain facing.
Historically, quilt making was frequently a group activity called a “quilting frolic” or “quilting bee.” This gave women the chance to meet and talk while creating something beautiful and useful.
With the arrival of sewing machines, quilt making passed out of fashion. In recent years, it has enjoyed a revival as new generations have returned to this particularly American folk art.
Quilting is believed to have originated in China, where quilted clothing was worn for warmth and for protection in battle.