Essay on A Stitch in Time

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Quilting has different meanings for different people, but all quilts have a unique appearance and tradition. “What makes art is its life – pulsing and shining with the energy and intentions of its creator. The art of quilting glows with a respect for all generations that have come before – putting thread, needle, and cloth together with vision and love” (Wilson 7). Starting out in antiquity as a necessity and a work of art, quilting has changed over time, but it is still practiced in a myriad of cultures around the world.
Although there are many types of quilting, there are three common types identified as whole cloth, piecing, and appliqué. The whole cloth technique uses only one piece of white fabric for the top of the quilt – usually, to show off the quilter’s fine stitching (Wilson 9-10). Piecing refers to sewing pieces of cloth together to make the quilt top. At first the pieces were sewn together haphazardly, but as collections of scraps grew, quilters began piecing colorful patterns together to form an accurately perfect square. Some of these had as many as 1600 small patches in a single quilt (Hechtlinger 61-62). Appliqué is the sewing of small cutout fabric shapes onto a background of another fabric laid down in a decorative design. This technique, often used to depict stories and ideas, has been used for hundreds – if not thousands – of years (Wilson 10-11). The oldest known appliquéd piece of quilted material was discovered in Asia. The floor of a Scythian chieftain’s tomb, found between 100 B.C. – A.D. 200, contained a quilted material that included finely detailed appliquéd animals. Therefore, the techniques used today in quilting are at least 2000 years old, with some of the patterns and designs being ...

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...gings than quilts meant to cover a bed (Hechtlinger 221). However, instead of using scraps of material, today, many quilters buy fabric that is mass produced, often making the quilts similar, more expensive, and less personal. Too, some quilters today, use computers to draft patterns and stitch quilts instead of drawing by hand with pen and paper and stitching by hand (Beyer 40). As stated by Mrs. Sara Shell, quilting club member of Winnfield, “There is nothing more beautiful than a hand stitched quilt. A quilt is a labor of love from the heart.”
From the tombs of ancient Egypt to the present day, quilting has played a significant role in society. From ancient burial shrouds to elaborate wall hangings of the modern world, quilting tells a story of both functions and beauty. Quilting will continue to play a significant role in the life of man in the future.

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