Quilting History

Quilt Block Names

The various names given to quilt block patterns are rooted in the history of the United States. It can be easy to determine the influences upon quilters of the past by studying the names that have been given to their quilt patterns. The many blocks with religious names depict the strong biblical influences. The hardship of pioneer life can be seen in other names. The aspects of everyday life led to blocks with names such as Log Cabin and Churn Dash. Often quilt patterns can be known by several different names. A pattern known by one name in New England may have a different and more significant name to a quilter in the Midwest.

From Trades & Occupations: Anvil, Saw tooth, The Ship's Wheel, Monkey Wrench, Water Mill, Chips and Whetstones, The Dusty Miller

Outdoor Life and Nature: Garden Maze, Autumn Leaf, Spider Web, Rolling Stones, Ocean Wave, Flying Geese

Square Dancing: Eight Hands Around, Swing in the Center

Political Influence: Clay's Choice, Whig Rose, Fifty-Four-Forty or Fight

Biblical Names: Job's Trouble, Job's Tears, Joseph's Coat, Jacob's Ladder, Wonder of the World, World Without End


The Quilting Bee

The Quilting Bee was an important means of socializing for colonial and pioneer women. Through the winter months, the women would piece their quilt tops. Since there was no central heating in homes, there was usually only one main heated room that was too crowded during the winter months for a quilt frame to be assembled. When the weather became warmer, an invitation was sent to the surrounding neighbors for the Quilting Bee.

On the day of the Quilting Bee, the quilters would arrive early and begin marking the quilt top which had been put into the quilt frame by the hostess. Very often, plates, tea cups and thimbles were used to mark the quilting patterns. The quilters would then begin to quilt the top while exchanging conversation. The quilt had to be finished before the husbands and beaus showed up in the late afternoon when dinner was served to all. Then the hostess was given the chance to show off her cooking skills. After dinner, there was very often a square dance or country dance with fiddles accompanying the dancers. The Quilting Bee was an important part of the social life of these people surpassed only by religious gatherings.

Source: http://www.quilt.com/History