Quilted items have been around a long time! Wikipedia tells us that Crusaders brought quilted objects from the Middle East to Europe in the late 11th century. Knights wore garments known as gambesons and wore them under their metal armor for comfort. The world quilt comes from the Latin Culcita meaning a large stuffed sack, but it came into the English language from the French word cuilte.
By definition a quilt is the sewing of two or more pieces of material together with a layer of padding in between them. This quilt sandwich is made with the back of the quilt on the bottom, cotton batting or padding next, then the decorative sometimes pieced, top of the quilt. The three layers are sewn together securely and often in a decorative way. Quilts can be made by hand sewing, machine sewing or tying the layers together.
Quilting refers to any part of the process, making the quilt sandwich, cutting small pieces for the top, piecing the top together or sewing thru all three layers to connect them and make them strong.
In the 1800’s wealthy women made quilts to be beautiful bedspreads or wall hangings with all new materials. Pieced quilts were made by pioneer women who did not have the money to spend on whole pieces of cloth. Sometimes the back of the quilt was several large scraps sewn together. As my grandmother used to say they were “making do with what they had”. She made many beautiful quilts that her grandchildren enjoy today.
Mrs. Nathile Ivy has been an enthusiastic quilter for most of her life. Often a girl is taught to quilt by her mother or grandmother. Nathile’s mother mostly made string quilts, which were long strips of cloth sewn together. Every quilter has had their challenges to overcome and Nathile had trouble with the first quilt she made. It was a star quilt and she cut it on the bias allowing the material to stretch, but she was determined to finish it and she did.
Natalie’s favorite quilt was made by her grandmother in 1937, a beautiful Double Wedding Ring quilt. It was to be her wedding present and Nathile had to wait until 1946, when she became Mrs. Loyd Ivy to receive the quilt.
Nathile quilted often with Catherine Sellers, Wanda Baize, Mae Cole and Minnie Perryman in a quilting group. This group quilted at night because they had jobs to go to during the day.
One of Mrs. Ivy’s favorite methods is applique and she has done Country Girl Quilts, a quilt of fall leaves, and a bluebonnet quilt. She made a Texas quilt that has armadillos, oil wells, bluebonnets and everything Texas. She has made quilts for everyone in her family and says that is common for all quilters. She has made potholders and wall hangings. She uses a heavy quilting thread but the pioneer women in the 1850’s were glad to have any thread for quilting.
Lately quilts are also made from T-shirts with a common logo such as the Texas Longhorns, or Baylor Bears. Denim quilts have been made from worn out blue jeans, but have to be hand tied as they are too thick to quilt with a running stitch.
Some of the names of quilt patterns are self explanatory as to how they look. These include the 9 block, Crazy Quilt, Log Cabin, Dresden plate, Flying Geese, Dutch Girl and Dutch Boy, Pinwheel, Grandma’s Flower Garden, Double Wedding Ring, and the Biscuit Quilt. There are hundreds, if not thousands more quilt patterns and new ones are being created every year.