A quilt is a combination of layers. The amount of layers will depend upon the structure of the quilt and the environment in which the quilt is used. Every quilt, however, will have at least three layers, the back or foundation, the filling or inner layer, and the top or outer layer. The top layer is the one that everyone sees when quickly reviewing a quilt. It has the pretty colors, the design, and the delicate stitching which holds it all together and which gives the quilt its style. The inner layer is the filling that gives the quilt its depth and its warmth. The back foundation layer is the one that normally is created from a single piece of material that the top and inner layers are stitched to in order to create the finished product.
There are many categories of quilts. Three categories are show quilts, every day use quilts, and historical heirloom quilts. Show quilts are those created with the finished product in mind. Message quilts, appliqué quilts, needlepoint quilts, and cross-stitch quilts all fall into the category of show quilts. Everyday use quilts are quilts created more from a need of bedding than from a desire to show artistic ability. They will normally not hang as wall art as show quilts often are. Everyday use quilts are usually created from scraps of material left over from other projects or from cast off pieces of clothing no longer used for their original purpose. The majority of these historically significant, everyday use quilts were sewn together with the typical 32 stitches per inch standard used by quilters all over the world.
Historical heirloom quilts are those handed down from family member to family member, or those purchased from a family member along the generational way. Historical heirloom quilts could have started out as show quilts or everyday quilts. The value of historical heirloom quilts is determined by the age and condition of the quilt. The crown jewels of historical heirloom quilts are those created by slaves during the time of slavery in the United States.
Though show quilts are beautiful and many of them have poignant messages, the author’s choice of quilts is the older historical heirloom, everyday use quilts. For purposes of this paper, one will assume that everyday use quilts were created because of a need. One will also assume that they were created from scraps of other projects or from cast off, no longer used clothing, and that they were sewn together by hand without the elaborate flourishes found in show quilts. An everyday use quilt is created to provide warmth and comfort to those who receive it.
Most who create a quilt for a child will include pieces of previously favorite shirts, dresses, pants, or blankets worn or used by the child to provide a comforting reminder of the past as a connection to the present. An everyday use quilt is for constant use. It is sturdily made and created to last a long time. If an everyday use quilt makes it throughout the generations, it becomes a beloved connection of the past for some or an old tattered useless cover by others.
What are the heirlooms from your family?
For a list of Sheila’s books, check out http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003HWM3PI