By: Laura Evans
Like to know some fun quilting facts? You can share these gems with your friends as you work together on a quilting project.
Interesting Quilting Facts
Hawaiians were introduced to quilting when missionaries came calling during the early 19th century. By the 1870s, Hawaiians had developed their own unique style of quilting using appliquéd designs.
Have you ever heard the story that quilts were used along the Underground Railroad as signals to escaping slaves who were traveling from the South to the North towards freedom? Unfortunately, this story doesn't seem to have any foundation in fact. However, the durability of this myth attests to its appeal.
This doesn't mean that quilters didn't contribute to the Civil War effort. Northern women donated quilts and other crafts to raise money for the Union to buy supplies. In addition, women quilted bedding for Union soldiers. Southern women did much the same for the Confederates by making quilts such as the "Gunboat Quilts" to raise money for their Navy. However, it became increasingly difficult for Southern ladies to make quilts, whether to raise money or for their soldiers to keep warm, due to material shortages as the Civil War progressed.
Crazy quilts derived from a Japanese exhibit of ceramics and art in the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Exposition. Early crazy quilt pieces were for show and were planned carefully, despite their appearances. The wealthy used fine silks and expensive fabrics for their quilts. The craze eventually passed on to women who were less fortunate, who used less expensive fabrics such as denims and cottons in their designs. The fad started to die out about 1910.
Quilting wasn't considered to be an art form until the 1960s. Abstract art was the rage during this time. Two art collectors, Johnathan Holstein and Gale van der Hoof, made the connection between contemporary modern art and quilting. This led to an exhibit at the Whitney Museum in New York, "Abstract Design in American Quilts," which went on to tour throughout the United States and Europe