Monday, September 23, 2013

Writing Scrapbook: Colonial Whole-cloth Quilting

This author's fascination with whole-cloth quilting began with my observance of colonial fashion when I discovered the beautiful quilted petticoats that were purposefully displayed as part of a lady's ensemble. Prior to that I had always thought of petticoats as an undergarment, like a slip.
QUILT - A coveríng for a bed, a petticoat for a woman made by stitching
one cloth over another with some sort substance between.
~  The New And Complete Dictionary Of The English Language, 1775

Extant samples of 18th century American quilts.
When I formulated my idea for the quilt that I would feature in my Quilts of Love series novel proposal I instantly new that I wanted to write about the earliest form of quilting in America— the whole-cloth quilt. This type of quilt is really the technique of quilting the fabrics together with the padding between the layers using patterns that result in an elaborately designed quilt. The quilt became a metaphor for the heroine's story in Pattern for Romance and her treasured quilt was central to the plot.
“Each stitch was but naught, yet strung together, part of a unique pattern.  Her stitches were purposeful, sometimes pleasant and other times tedious, yet, one stitch at a time she pressed on.”
~ Pattern for Romance by Carla Olson Gade
From my research: Indigo whole-cloth quilt (top), gold whole-cloth quilt (bottom) at
Old Fort Western, Augusta, ME; Massachusetts Quilts book used for research (left);
quilted silk petticoat at Colonial Williamsburg, VA (right). Photos by Carla.

Here are some of the articles that I have written that tell more about the beautiful art of whole-cloth quilting and quilting in early America:
Colonial Hand Quilting - Labor of Love 
Blog Talk Radio - starts at 31 mins.
Quilting a Novel
My novel Pattern for Romance in the Quilts of Love series from Abingdon Fiction released in August (2013). 
Ask me a question about my story or research!

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