IF YOU GO
* What: “Stitches in Time: Hand Quilting.”
* When: Friday, Jan. 24-Saturday, March 1. Gallery open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday.
* Where: Museum Center at Five Points, 200 E. Inman St., Cleveland, Tenn.
* Admission: $5 adults, $4 students, seniors and scheduled groups.
* Phone: 423-339-5745.
* Website: www.museumcenter.org.
Note: Free for members; regular admission fees for nonmembers.
* Thursday, Feb. 6: “Why Quilts Matter: History, Art and Politics” screenings, 6-7:15 p.m.
* Saturday, Feb. 15: Quilting Family Day, with live quilting demonstrations, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., and thread- and fabric-making presentations, 10 a.m.-noon and 1-3 p.m.
A quilt show opening Friday, Jan. 24, in Cleveland, Tenn., will showcase this handiwork as examples of both history and art.
“Stitches In Time: Hand Quilting” will remain on view through Saturday, March 1, at the Museum Center at Five Points.
The show will feature 25 historic examples of hand-quilting that predate the 1950s. In addition, 25 contemporary hand-quilted pieces will explore techniques and patterns from this disappearing art. One piece on display will be a “whitework quilt,” considered the epitome of a quilter’s skill as it shows every nuance of stitch and technique.
Madeline Hawley, certified since 1984 by the National Quilting Association, will judge the show for best use of color and design plus four Best of Show awards (small and large, duet and group). Hawley’s background is in traditional quilting, but she has expanded her interest to include innovative and art quilts.
The process of quilting can be traced to ancient Egypt and China, according to show organizers. An inner layer of fabric provides warmth, the outer layers provide stability, and the quilting or stitching through the layers prevents the shifting and clumping of the layers.
In colder climes, such as England, quilting can be traced to the 11th century through wills and diaries. The first quilts of settlers in the newly founded American colonies were undoubtedly English in style; however, no examples survive. Records from household inventories, bills of lading, letters and diaries from America’s colonial women indicate that blankets were standard and quilts were a luxury item.
Not until the 19th century was the practice of quilting widespread. With the Industrial Revolution, the act of spinning and weaving threads individually became obsolete, and purchasing bolts of cloth was commonplace. The development of thousands of patterns allowed quilting to become the American pastime for women as they met in social circles for quilting bees and participated in church quilting groups.
It is these few years that hand-quilting flourished in America, with examples still surviving. Shortly after the Industrial Revolution, the sewing machine became the popular and easy way to quilt, while hand-quilting became a skill of the past.