The earliest reference to quilting is found in an Egyptian ivory carving of a pharaoh wearing a quilted mantle dating from 3400 B.C. Some interpret the mantle depicted in the statue to be a true quilt while others say it depicts a mantle with a woven pattern, but not a quilt.
The list of quilting supplies needed to make these early quilts was short and simple. A quilt consists of two layers of fabric with a material in between, called batting. These two layers are sewn together with a thread, using a needle to pull the thread through. Of course in 3400 B.C. there was nobody manufacturing sewing needles; instead other materials, generally bone, were used. The quilting supplies were generally limited to whatever was available; since quilts were viewed as a means of providing warmth, an early quilter would have never imagined a quilting supply store with hundreds of materials to choose from. The best examples of this utilitarian approach to quilting are the "feed sack quilts" made during the Great Depression. Like their name implies, "feed sack quilts" were made from the sacks of flour and feed, making for a cheap way to keep warm. While today they are collected, at the time they were chosen only because they were the fabric that was readily available.
Modern Quilting Supplies
Today, quilters enjoy the merging of technology and the tradition of quilting in their quilting supplies. Advancements in quilting are everywhere, ranging from computer programs that can design quilts, to clear synthetic threads to hide the stitching. Since the invention of the sewing machine, quilters have been machine quilting and greatly reducing the amount of time required to complete their projects. The sewing needles used today are greatly improved; they are much sharper and last longer. In contrast to the early needles made of bones over 17,000 years ago, today's needles are made of steel and every quilter has their own favorite brand. There are different types of needles for hand sewing and machines.
Another important change in quilting supplies is the wealth of quilting fabrics. The selection of fabrics available is limitless, giving you the ability to express yourself and give your quilt personality. Some examples of different styles commonly found are abstract, floral, solid, tone on tone, and geometric. There are also well known designers of quilt fabrics. Some popular designers are: Free Spirit, Amy Butler, Kaufman, Timeless Treasure, Hoffman, and In the Beginning.
One last quilting supply that is worth mentioning is a quilt rack. While this would surely have been helpful in earlier times when homes were even smaller, anyone can appreciate the convenience of having a designated rack to hang a quilt in between work sessions, keeping it accessible and protected. This is also a great way to display quilts.
Whether it be in a quilting book, magazine, or the internet, there is no end to the resources and quilting supplies that are available.
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| September 24, 2017
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