Quilting is quite literally in the fabric of history.
Through the years, the way quilters have used patterns and cut fabric has changed.
To highlight that history, the Tillamook County Quilt Guild created a display cabinet with quilt patterns and methods of cutting fabric through the years at the Tillamook County Library.
“There are so many facets to quilting. What I thought we could do is focus on the two things that have been common since the begin,” Tillamook County Quilt Guild member Robin Bock said. “What I have seen in my time is a huge change in scissors and the methods of cutting and how we come about and save a pattern.”
Hundreds of years ago, quilt patterns didn’t have many fancy shapes unless they are going to have an applique.
“They handed each other scribbles of paper about where a shape went and whatnot,” Bock said.
Then newspapers became a distributor of quilt patterns in America.
“You could build an entire quilt that had a piece of the pattern sent out one week at a time by a single female author,” Bock said. “The newspaper promoted these patterns as well as subscriptions. Sometimes you could even buy the fabric or thread [for the pattern].”
Following the newspaper was the magazine. Ladies’ Home Journal began printing patterns as well as quilting instructions designed for the masses. And then the internet came on the scene offering unlimited access to patterns via online platforms.
As for cutting fabric, scissors were the most common method for many years..
The popular “stork scissors” that seamstresses favored were first used by midwives to clamp the cord and stop bleeding from a delivering mother.
“They became standard around the house as embroidery scissors and that’s why there’s a bird on it,” Bock said.
In the ‘80s, rotary cutters became widely used around the world by quilters to cut fabric.
“It’s a razor blade on a wheel that is used with a mat,” Bock said.
Then, the invention of the block cutter allowed for multiple layers of fabric to pass under razor blades arranged in a shape and be cut all at the same time.
“Now, cutting machines can receive digital information and can cut the shape for you,” Bock said referencing the Cricut as an example.
Tillamook County Quilt Guild’s informational display can be viewed at the main branch of the Tillamook County Library through the end of October.
The Tillamook Quilt Guild is hosting their Tidal Treasures Quilt Show “Celebrating 100 years of Quilting” during the Tillamook Swiss Centennial on November 5 at the Tillamook County Fairgrounds. They are selling raffle tickets to win a “Coastal Barn” themed quilt, which is on display at the Latimer Quilt and Textile Center. Tickets are $5 each or $20 for 5, and can be purchased at LQTC or at the quilt show.
Drawing to take place November 5 @ 4 p.m. at the Tillamook Swiss Centennial. You need not be present to win.