quilting


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quilting,

form of needlework, almost always created by women, most of them anonymous, in which two layers of fabric on either side of an interlining (batting) are sewn together, usually with a pattern of back or running (quilting) stitches that hold the layers together. This method of securing warmth in covering and clothing has been practiced for centuries in N Asia and Europe. Quilting has been a feature of embroidery in the form of raised work. It was a distinctive type of needlework in pioneer American homes, at first mainly utilitarian, later more ornamental. Quilts were usually of the pieced, or patchwork, type until c.1750, when the appliquéd, or laid-on, quilt and the monotone quilt decorated by trapunto (padding or cording) became popular. A fad for quilted petticoats for women and coattails for men was at its height from 1688 to 1714. About 1830 appliquéd box quilts, made with tops of individually pieced, generally geometric patterns, became dominant.

While some 18th-cent. examples are extant, the American quilt as art and craft is largely a 19th-century phenomenon. Dozens of traditional patchwork patterns have evolved, such as Sunburst, Sawtooth, Log Cabin, Schoolhouse, and Bear's Paw, and have continued in use well into the 20th cent. The quilts of certain American groups are especially compelling works of art. Among the most notable of these were made by the Amish (particularly c.1870–1935) who created utilitarian quilts with geometric designs in areas of unpatterned color—deep, vibrant, and close-toned—now much sought after by collectors. The Victorian period marked the popularity of the crazy quilt, in which asymmetrical designs were made of patches of various textiles in a multiplicity of sizes and shapes often connected by decorative stitching.

Part of the American folk artfolk art,
the art works of a culturally homogeneous people produced by artists without formal training. The forms of such works are generally developed into a tradition that is either cut off from or tenuously connected to the contemporary cultural mainstream.
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 tradition, quilting is still practiced by Southern mountainfolk, the Pennsylvania Dutch, and other rural dwellers and has been revived as ornamental needlework. Traditional African-American quilts have been particularly praised for their bold, asymmetrical designs and brilliant colors, often complemented by the use of tied knots. Of particular interest are quilts (1930s–present) created by the women of Gee's Bend, an historically black Alabama community—jazzy, colorful works in irregular geometric patterns of remarkable abstract power that have been widely exhibited, e.g., at the Whitney Museum of American Art, NYC (2002). The quilt has also been used as a form of textile art, as in the work of Faith Ringgold, who blends African-American tradition with contemporary art. Quilting also has a utilitarian function in modern life with machine-quilted materials used for wearing apparel and in interior decoration, particularly for bed and couch covers.

Bibliography

See P. Cooper and N. B. Buferd, The Quilters: Women and Domestic Art (1978); M. Walker, The Complete Guide to Quiltmaking (1986); C. L. Mosey, Contemporary Quilts from Traditional Patterns (1988); C. Benberry, Always There: The African-American Presence in American Quilts (1992).

References in periodicals archive ?
The quilt pattern line aims to help makers explore their creativity and turn scraps of fabric into gorgeous modern quilts that don't require the meticulous piecing that quilting is known for.
The Quilting in America 2006 survey reported that there are more than 27 million quilters in the United States who spend a total of $3.
quilting club were busy making quilts that will also be given away, in this case to wounded soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.
She recently began weekly podcasts as another means to inform people of the service, and invites participation through quilting or donations.
In certain areas, however, the domestic craft of quilting survived, notably in the North and South-West of England and in parts of Wales, Scotland and Ireland, where tradition ignored the world of fashion.
This title, however, is a wonderful way to pass down our quilting culture to young reader-quilters, especially if it is accompanied by the stunning visuals in A Communion of the Spirits: African-American Quilters, Preservers, and Their Stories by Roland L.
READ A BOOK: The Ultimate Quilting Book by Maggi McCormick Gordon (Sterling Publications; $24.
The quilts, from the 19th century through the present; explore the progression of quilting from its utilitarian origins to today's contemporary, edgy and aware art form.
As Barbara Christian writes in the first paragraph of her introduction, it is in "Everyday Use" (1973) and "in her classic essay 'In Search of Our Mothers' Gar dens' (1974) that Walker first articulates the metaphor of quilting to represent the creative legacy that African Americans have inherited from their maternal ancestors" (3).