Sunday, January 1, 2012

Quilted Comforters Have A Detailed History Of Meaning Family

By Rebecca McKeich

Since the earliest settlers started inhabiting our lands, quilting has been present. Steeped in tradition and technique, this interest was deeply needed due to the bitter winters, particularly the northeast United States. To keep warm folks needed to contrive new and innovative ways to keep a family healthy. Quilted comforters was the answer.

Autumn and winter nights could blow and reach the hardiest of individuals with feelings of frigid uncomfortable. It was only a matter of time before quilt comforters became popular. When applied over a sleeping body this material and construction was sure to the person warm.

In the beginning though, fabric was very difficult to come by and very expensive. Adequate materials needed to be imported. Homemade hand spun fabric posed many problems in constructing and often the cost highly outweighed the worth of the finish product.

This caused most families to start saving bits and pieces of scrap material. It was not uncommon to see bins of random materials scattered in small piles of the early colonial homes as they hoped to gather enough to eventually construct a quilt.

When enough material collected they were sewn together in larger pieces called sheet or blocks. This was not an act of boredom or an idle hobby. These quilts were much needed and as soon as they were completed they went to member of the family who was most in need of it. This was often the youngest or oldest in the home.

Women were the historical quilters of the home but they were often communal events. Women of all ages would gather in a centralized meeting place and make the act a social event. Families would often exchange them as a measure of good neighboring.

Marriage was one of the most famous gifting events. Many families would labor for months to produce enough of the items to help the new young couple. This would aid in taking a large weight off the shoulders of the new wife. This tradition continues today and are often given as gifts at engagement and bridal parties as well as the wedding itself.

Quilts were often made for other events as well. When people were preparing to leave a community they were often presented with the creations to aid in their travels and use in the making of their new home. Pastors were often given quilts by community groups when assigned to a new parish or location.

A novel tradition of quilting is that of the signature quilt. This is more of a fund raising event where families or individuals would pay to have their embroidered names added to a quilt in commemoration.

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