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Quilting heritage

Posted August 27, 2014 in Community Featured, Boone
The featured quilt in the Boone County Historical Society’s 2010 show was made by Ardy Clinkenbeard. Photo submitted.

The featured quilt in the Boone County Historical Society’s 2010 show was made by Ardy Clinkenbeard. Photo submitted.

For the past 21 years, the Boone County Historical Society has sponsored a quilt show to raise funds for the society and to draw attention to the county’s quilting heritage. The 2014 quilt show will be held Sept. 5-7 at the Boone County Historical Center.  Doors will be open from 9 a.m. – 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and from noon – 4  p.m. on Sunday.

The first quilt show was held in October of 1993. It featured more than 250 quilts and more than 400 persons attended. The show’s success prompted the Society to repeat it every year following, except in 2012. First held in late September or early October, it was decided in 2000 to move it to Pufferbilly Days to capitalize on the larger crowds visiting Boone.

A raffle quilt has been made each year since 1995 by the Historical Society Quilters. The queen-sized, hand-quilted and appliquéd quilt is raffled to benefit the Historical Society. Beginning in 2001 the quilts of area quilters were spotlighted during the show, although featured quilter displays ended in 2011. Quilting demonstrations and quilter’s garage sales also have been highlights of the show.

A quilt is a sandwich of two layers of cloth, stuffed with batting or filling and held together with stitching.  Some quilts are tied, but many quilters consider these to be coverlets or comforters.

Quilting is an ancient craft, probably originating in Asia. European quilting began around the 12th century A. D. Early quilts were of one color, often white, with elaborate quilted designs stitched in matching thread. Such quilts came to be known as “whole cloth quilts.”

Pieced and appliquéd quilts were popular in the 19th century.  Patchwork quilts in which small pieces of fabric are pieced together to form patterns allowed quilters to use cloth scraps. Appliquéd quilts are made by sewing fabric pieces onto a plain background forming designs such as flowers. “Baltimore Album Quilts” were particularly sophisticated appliqué quilts.

Quilting and “quilting bees” were important social outlets for pioneer women. Friends, neighbors or relatives gathered around a quilt frame in a quilter’s home where they shared life experiences. Quilting was an emotional as well as an artistic outlet for American women. Often quilts added the only color to a home.  They covered doors, windows and cracks in the walls to keep out rain, snow and drafts, they kept families warm at night, and they were used as burial shrouds.

Quilting remained popular up to WWII when women entered the workforce, leaving little time for quilting. A resurgent interest in quilting occurred during bicentennial celebrations of the 1970s.

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