Anyone that has the talent and ability to quilt has my utmost respect. I have never tried my hand at quilting, but I can certainly see how one can grow a strong passion and love for it. Quilting requires great attention to detail and patience, both of which impact the finished product. The beauty of these works of art is obviously visual, but it’s deeper than that.
The Tradition Started Long Ago
If you think back to your childhood, you may remember seeing quilts on the bed at your grandma’s house. Like me, you probably didn’t think much about them except when grandma warned you to, ‘be careful with the quilts.’ We probably didn’t have any idea what those quilts were at the time. They may have been family heirlooms or one given to her by a special friend. Who knows, some of those might have been from the Civil War era. How cool, a part of our storied US history. Bet I’ve got you thinking about those quilts in the chest now!
Crazy fact: quilt making started almost 250 years ago in the United States. That was before sewing machines were around. I can’t imagine how hard it was to make one back then. You know, it really didn’t occur to them at the time. Women just made them be used for blankets for their families. Later, when the Civil War came along, they worked hard to make bed coverings for the soldiers. Quilts were made out of necessity back then. Nowadays, quilts are generally produced as a hobby.
Sure Is A Lot Of Work…But It’s All Good
Countless hours go into making even the simplest quilts. As with learning any skill, quilt making surely takes trial and error to perfect. I have been taught from a young age that it takes hard work and commitment to achieve your goals. Making quilts takes plenty of both to end up with the finished product.
One might ask why so many quiltmakers put all that work in just to give it away? First of all, I would say there’s no doubt they have a heart and passion for making the quilts. Secondly, giving them to others most likely gives them a sense of purpose. Many quilts are assigned to groups and organizations each year as gifts or to use for fundraisers. Most everyone likes to get behind a purpose or cause, and quiltmakers are definitely in that category.
The National Quilt Museum
Located in Paducah, KY, The National Quilt Museum is a popular destination for quilters. Annually, over 110,000 people visit the museum or view the traveling exhibits. I might suggest if you’re in the area to visit the massive 27,000 square foot facility in downtown Paducah. The museum has gained popularity and an excellent reputation for its educational programs. People from all over the world come to Paducah for the educational programs taught by master quilters. The important thing is that they take the knowledge gained from the programs and use them for good.
Quilts For Vets
In the community of Marion in southern Illinois, the Little Egypt Quilters took time to honor local heroes. Recently the group honored three veterans with specially made quilts to recognize their time spent defending our country. This group of quilters are doing huge amounts of good for these and other veterans.
The recent pandemic has sparked many quilters to actually stop making quilts. Instead, they are using their talent and time to sew masks for friends, family, and front-line workers in the medical field. Laura Snow is one that switched from quilts to masks. “I don’t need the money, but I do need my friends and family,” she said in an interview. She finds great joy making the masks in her Burbank, CA home. Most of what she makes are made from materials she already has, and some of them are unique patterns. I’m sure it adds a little fun and lightheartedness to having to wear a mask.
God gives every one of us our individual talents. Some are good with numbers, some with a hammer, some with the gift to teach. What is really important is how we use those talents and gifts. Obviously, we have to use them to help us make a living and provide for our families. Just the same, though, we are to use those gifts to help others in any way possible. I think it’s amazing that these people and thousands more around the world use quilts as a way to do good for others.
Next time you wrap yourself up in a quilt, think of what you read here. Maybe it will inspire you to make a quilt for someone (or maybe not, and that’s ok!), or maybe it will just inspire you to go do good for someone. Either way, I encourage you just to do it…do good!