Even More Patchwork

Patchwork is a fine symbol for good housekeeping and family values. It  probably has its origin in the Orient thousands of years ago. The Crusaders brought the technique to Europe from the Near East.

The early settlers in America were poor and short of necessities. Everything was repaired again and again and this was certainly true of the family quilts, which were patched up with scraps of fabric from old clothing. After many repairs, the quilt top began to resemble a patchwork design more than solid fabric.

Colonial housewives used to made use of every scrap of fabric. Women left alone for long periods of time formed what were called Quilting Bees. The quilts were used as a ‘kinship bonds’, hence the name ‘comforters’, a reminder of family ties and more pleasant days spent gossiping over quilting frames.

In many ways there is a thread of love and friendship sewed in the quilts. They might represent poverty as in Charles Dickens’ novels David Copperfield and Oliver Twist, but they also represent vicinity, the warmth of home, sisterhood and tradition, as it encloses Catholic wives and mothers and their parsimonious household.

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