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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Ultimate Frugal Craft: Quilting

It’s Crafting Tuesday. Crafting is a big part of my life, so I’m taking Tuesday for talking crafts. As much as I would like to be in the garden all the time, all year long, with my short growing season and perpetual cloud bursts, I must do something inside and that is where sewing, crocheting, knitting and other crafts come to save my sanity.

When I started the recycled denim series at Self Reliance Works I went straight to demonstrating piecing and quilting without really introducing nor explaining the ultimate frugal craft which is quilting. I thought I'd do that now. 

Quilting is one craft which started back in the beginning of recorded history and has continued to this day. Quilting is the process of taking small pieces of fabric, assembling them in some practical, logical and/or creative manner to form a larger piece of fabric which could be used to make useful things for living. To hold these tiny pieces together they would sandwich the top pieced fabric with filler and a bottom piece and then stitched the whole thing all over, to keep it from unraveling and to make a nice thick, more durable fabric. Quilting provided many household items, clothing,  bedding and wall coverings to ward off the chill of winter and to make life more endurable. 

Back in the day, it was a necessity of life to quilt. Fabric was not something easily gotten. Fabric was an extremely valuable commodity because of its rarity and the amount of work involved in its production. There was a time, as hard as it may be to believe now, when people had to start from scratch. This meant they had to get fiber from animals and plants. Sheep provided wool, worms provided silk and linen and cotton came from plants. These were processed and then twirled into long threads. Then the threads were woven into fabric.

So, when people did have fabric, they used it until it was quite literally in tatters. When it was in tatters, the wise and frugal person would salvage as much of it as possible, pieced it together with other bits of salvaged fabric and quilting was born.

 Now, in modern times, quilting is still done although for many of us the necessity is gone. Quilting has become an artful endeavor.  Masterpieces stand in museums and quilt shows tour the country and even the world to show off the exquisite workmanship in each quilt. They showcase the expertise of the quilters, giving them a status among the highest praised artists.

If you priced the fabrics used for these present day art forms, you’d understand completely how the frugality has gone out the window with quilting.

That, however, was before I came around. I’m the one telling you not to throw away old clothes and perhaps now you understand why. Forgive me but fabric going to waste just rubs me the wrong way! Knowing that, you can see why I say to take out your old clothes and old sheets and try your hand at the oldest craft known to humans, quilting.

Even if you’re not willing to do anything with old clothes, you can still make really nice heirloom quilts for your family without spending loads of money. At many Walmart stores you can get very pretty fabric for a dollar a yard. Really, just about anyone can quilt, so give a try. If you have any questions, I'm more than willing to help.


  1. Beautiful work Glory. I admire your patience with every stitch, every corner of every bit... and every patch you set in place to create your design, whether random or not. Proud of you!

  2. Love it. Shared the link here today as a featured top headline:

  3. It's interesting too that now a lot of the remaining quilting--what little of it there is, -- is done by sewing machine. My mother used to make quilts,--doing every stitch by hand, --assembling every square by itself, and the hand-stitching was uniform and neat. All small pieces of many kinds of cloth were incorporated into those beautiful quilts, and they were very warm, long-lived and functional. Some had batting in them, some not. Times have sure changed. That was genuine recycling.

  4. You know, the first two I made were entirely done by hand and each one took over a year to do, but Justin was so impatient for his that I had to fast-track it and I used the sewing machine to do the piecing in assembly line fashion. The actual quilting, however, was by hand. then it was Tyler's turn and he gave me this face that told me he wanted yesterday, too! So, I had to do that one fast too. he didn't even allow me to quilt it though! I should have started when they were born, but I didn't even know how to piece and quilt back then!LOL

  5. I have not checked in here for some time because I thought it was getting boring, but the last several posts are good quality so I guess I'll add you back to my daily bloglist. You deserve it my friend :)
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