anyone Whole-cloth quilt

blitzyblond_protegeSeptember 28, 2010

My DGM's people use to do something they called "whole-cloth" quilting. They used 2 large single pieces of material to make a quilt/blanket. (if one one large piece wasn't available, they set the seams at the edges of the mattress top.) The material was usually white, but on occasion a very light color.

Then they used their quilting stitching to portray a farm scene, or a wooded scene, or a flock of birds, a school of fish hiding under a log and brush,...

Sometimes, the stitching was done in all white thread, sometimes the color helped portray the scene, and sometimes is was all one-color thread like "Redwork".

On rare occasion a colored material with a repeated patterned stitching ( i imagine it was much like the patterns i see "Long arm quilting machines" do today, was used, but I only heard of two of DGM's Aunts doing that style.)

I was just curious if anyone does that style of quilting now. l.marie

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The first quilt I made was a whole cloth quilt. I was so 'green' I didn't know it was called that until many years later. When I started quilting in the 80's patterns were not very newbie friendly lol!!!! I wanted to make a quilt and didn't understand the instructions. This is 2 white sheets and I drew the design as I went. No one I knew quilted and there were no online forums (that I knew of!).
I still have some of the old magazines and the patterns are very vague. This took me 3 years to complete and won a second place ribbon. I didn't learn to piece until I retired 5 years ago.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2010 at 12:57PM
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Check out this link to see the whole cloth quilt that won the $100,000 quilting challenge in 2007! It's by Linda McCuen; she calls it Bella and it is bella indeed.


Here is a link that might be useful: Linda McCuen's

    Bookmark   September 28, 2010 at 1:58PM
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Rosa, your quilt is beautiful! A whole-cloth quilt is something I would love to make some day. Just haven't gotten the nerve to start one yet!

You can get whole-cloth tops that are pre-printed with the quilting design. All you add is the batting and backing and quilt away!


    Bookmark   September 28, 2010 at 2:10PM
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Oh my Gosh! I have talked to family and a few local quilters and heard "no one does that kinda quilting anymore." and even met a few quilters in their 50's that had never heard of it. And here ya all have shown me that not only is it still done it is definite presence in the quilting mainstream. THANK YOU, THANK YOU.

Rosa: DGM & family mostly made theirs out of sheets as well, and they hand drew it as they went too. Your quilt is beautiful and the pink trim makes it look delicate. Your center pattern is far more intricate then the simple outlined scenes my elders use to do. TFS I hope those are pictures you have on file and you didn't go to that much work just for a novice's benefit.

Kate: to think a style I thought was nearly dead is worth that much money. The link was great and the detail they showed on that quilt was amazing. That truly was the Best.

Donna: I would have never imagined that there would be something like pre-printed tops for a desperately dieing art. Thank you for opening my thinking so much.

All ya all are so wonderful. Thank you all, l.marie

    Bookmark   September 28, 2010 at 5:38PM
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I beg to differ that whole-cloth quilts are a "dying art". They are an evolving art. (And, by the way, some of the preprinted tops are lovely!)

I see many quilters - both hand quilters and machine quilters - making wholecloth quilts. But many of these quilters now embellish their quilts with thread painting, paints, crystals, etc., or they use a fabulous batik or print for the fabric. Others are very traditional in the designs they choose to use, using a muslin or white. They are all still wholecloth quilts.

All of these are valid choices, and wholecloth quilts are not dying out.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2010 at 8:12PM
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Rosa!! That was your first quilt??! I'm totally impressed. I feel lucky to stitch in the ditch. That is beautiful. I'd love to do one of those when I have A LOT more confidence.


    Bookmark   September 28, 2010 at 8:29PM
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The quilt circle at the church my husband used to attend made one each year to auction with the proceeds going for more materials and to the church. The last year they did this, the quilt auctioned off was an whole cloth in off-white with amazingly intricate and skilled hand quilting design. I think hubby bought half the tickets and we won. Certainly well worth the couple hundred he invested in tickets.

He apologised to me that it was not pieced. Ha! I was thrilled with getting what I got. It looked as if it fell off some colonial plantation of the 1700s. Whole cloth quilts preceeded pieced ones and were usually fashioned by ladies of leisure who had the means to afford large pieces of uniform material and who studied needlework as the mark of gentility. Piece work was a later craft and often by more common citizenry.

I would love to make an whole cloth quilt, but I enjoy piecing more than hand quilting. Neither am I a meticulous hand quilter. I suspect people who tie into an whole cloth quilt might enjoy the quilting process more than the piecing end of it. It is not a dying art, but is often the milieu of experienced quilters. Rosa your first attempt at quilting deserves a ribbon indeed.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2010 at 9:12PM
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Rosa! Thanks for the pictures! That's lovely, lovely work, and the pink binding is a delight. Whole cloth needs to be on my 'to do' list!

    Bookmark   September 28, 2010 at 9:16PM
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Rosa I am more impressed with your quilt then the one that won $100000. Yours shows a talented beginner, who used sheets--they are terrible to quilt thru-who quilted by hand on a design that she created. It was a prize winner that is truly lovely. Thanks for sharing the inspiration.
I have never done a whole cloth quilt but noticed that the back of the one I am doing now almost qualifies.LOL

    Bookmark   September 28, 2010 at 10:31PM
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everyone, I must have worded my response all wrong, I'm sorry for the confusion.

I guess the statement should have been more direct. "I would have never imagined that there would be something like pre-printed tops for WHAT I WAS PREVIOUSLY CONVINCED WAS a desperately dieing art. Thank you for opening my thinking so much.

This was an art for that I do not HEAR about around here, even at our county' largest fair. I was just curious if ANY-ONE heard of it anymore. Those first three responses opened my mind with a whole new understanding of the art in its current form; moreover, the rest of you have continued to broadened my education on an old family memory. Thank you all again. l.marie

    Bookmark   September 29, 2010 at 1:23AM
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Quilting, like scrapbooking and many other arts/crafts, is a true subculture. We have shared knowledge, a language that people outside the group don't readily understand (whole cloth, fat quarters, SITD, free motion, long arm, etc), recognized experts, an army of talented amateurs, lots of fanatics, retreats, stores, internet shops, trends, revivals and all the other things that go with a culture, including subsets (hand quilters, longarmers, appliquer, paper piecers, SunBonnet Sue-rs!). We may not be as visible as biker gangs, but we are just as true to our society! There are millions of us and probably billions of dollars generated by what we do every year. I know you didn't mean that quilting was dead, especially after all you've learned here recently. But you are only beginning to stick your toe into this world. This wonderful forum is just one small corner of it.

Hey, do we have a secret handshake?!? No one's told me about that yet!


    Bookmark   September 29, 2010 at 9:16AM
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What a wonderful thread this has been. Loved your post Kate. It's very affirming to see our craft plod on despite ipods, satellites and gene splicing.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2010 at 11:31AM
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Thanks for your kind comments!!! I am one of those that prefers the hand work, including putting on binding. I was a single parent, stressful job, and the quilting was relaxing. This quilt was made using a 12" embroidery hoop. Whole cloths are easier to hand quilt than pieced due to the lack of seams. My first pieced quilt (not long ago) was cut so bad that I gave up on it lol!!!! To this day cutting fabric or trimming blocks is my least fav. I even like pressing more than cutting.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2010 at 1:33PM
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