qotd 4/29/11 - calling all old quilters!
I received a question today about quilt terminology. And having just about finished a book on the history of quilts, I really learned a lot about the various periods and styles of quilting.
The question I received is "What does the term piecing mean?". In today's terminology, it's basically a quilt top made of different pieces of fabric. It could be an allover pattern of a single repeating block (like postage stamp or tumbling blocks)or a block pattern that's repeated, which is what we do each month in the lotto. But basically, it's sewn together with seams, as opposed to being sewn down to a foundation or sewn on top as an applique.
The person who asked me the question had been told by an elderly gentleman that his mother "pieced/did piecing", while his wife didn't do any "piecing" but instead made quilt blocks. I'm wondering if this gent was remembering his mother doing crazy-quilt work and thought of that as piecing?
In my reading, I learned that "patchwork" actually started out as the term for what we know now as "applique", because patches of fabric were applied on top of other fabrics. But patchwork now seems to refer to pieced blocks.
Does anyone have any family generational or other historical perspectives that might add to the clarification (or confusion)? Language is so interesting and words and phrases can carry on long past their general usage in certain pockets of the country. As I told the person who asked me today, my grandmother used an expression that I recently learned referred to King Richard III of the 15th century. She had no idea what it meant (in fact she probably would never have repeated it had she known), but just used it as her family had for generations.
So, everyone, how about some discussion on old time quilting terminology?