For me, the best way to bundle up and stay cozy warm is in a quilt. Quilting has been traced back as far as ancient Egypt. In the Middle Ages quilted garments became popular among knights who wore them under their armor. In America in the 18th and 19th century quilts provided great insulation against the cold, especially to the colonists as clothing was sparse, and making fabric was very labor intensive. A mother's apron, a brother's shirt, a sister's pajamas could all be cut into pieces and made into a very functional piece of art and became a very important part of life.
Quilts not only would keep you warm but became a social event. It was not uncommon to find groups of women gathered around a quilting frame solving the world's problems as they worked on each other's quilts.
Quilting has become so much more than just piecing together old pieces of fabric. Local quilt stores sell fabric that can be mixed and matched for as many patterns as there are stars in the sky. One of our favorite places to shop for fabric is in Haddonfield, NJ at a place called The Little Shop. (It feels like a candy shop for the eyes when you walk in!) One morning, the day after we had visited The Little Shop, my daughter Amy got up and informed me that she could not sleep the night before. I asked her why she did not try counting sheep, and she said she tried, but that gave her a stomach ache. Her next method was to count bolts of fabric while she lay there. It worked. I may have to try it sometime.
My neighbor Denise and I started quilting over 15 years ago, never realizing that we began with one of the most difficult quilts. I ended up using batting made from my own sheep's wool, which gives the quilt a great feel and is really warm.
Want to start your own quilting tradition? I suggest you start with an Eleanor Burn's Book, "Quilt in a Day Log Cabin Pattern". All of her books can be found here. As long as you remember that a "day" is 24 hours you will not become frustrated by the amount of time it takes. You will be able to create a family heirloom that will be cherished for generations. I just want to warn you that quilting can become addicting and you may have to make more than one once you get started.
Here are some of my favorite quilts that I have made over the years.
|A pieced pumpkin quilt|
|The snowman is made with three crazy quilt squares, a piecing method made popular in the Victorian Era.|
|This quilt is made with all hand dyed fabric that I experimented with and pieced together. It loosely depicts a waterfall at Letchworth State Park near where daughter Megan went to college in Upstate New York.|
|This wreath quilt is made with 9 log cabin squares.|
In the next week or so we will be posting our new Hands On History website where we will be offering ladies Saturday retreats, where you can get away for a productive and creative day, and make something that will become a treasured family heirloom. Snacks and lunch will be provided. I am so excited to share more details very soon! (We'll let you know when our new website is up and running.) In the mean time....
And check back with us a little later today (9:00 AM) so see the winner of the giveaway!!!