History of Quilting at the Conversation Club

Mary Ellen Krisher spoke about the history of quilting.

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The Conversation Club met recently on the Ohio Living Cape May campus.

President Judy Sargent opened the meeting with a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt: “A woman is like a tea bag. You never know how strong she is until she gets into hot water. It was International Women’s Day, so the quote was very fitting.

The hostess of the day, Sharon Breckel, was thanked. Speaker Mary Ellen Krisher was then introduced. Her program focused on the history of quilting. Quilts from her collection were shared to show the different types.

Quilting consists of joining together three layers of fabric with the intermediate filling material such as wool. People in the cold climates of China and the Middle East have used quilting for 5,000 to 6,000 years.

Christian Crusaders in the Holy Land brought the quilt back to Europe and Britain in the 12th century.

In colonial America, only wealthy women had time to make quilts. They used hand-woven white fabric and white thread to make the stitches. These quilts are full fabric quilts.

By the 1840s, women could buy manufactured plain cloth and calico. Women began to use leftover sewn clothing to make quilts. This is called patchwork quilts. Many quilt patterns date back to the 1840s.

During the Civil War, women made quilts to send to male combatants and also made quilts to raise money for the abolitionist movement.

The Clinton County History Center has an excellent example of an abolition quilt. The squares were made by Rebecca Harvey Hadley and her family in Clinton County. All of the squares were pink and red flowers applied to a white background and all were signed by the maker.

The finished quilt was auctioned off with money to benefit the abolitionist movement. About 150 years later, the Hadley family raised over $3,000 for the Clinton County Historical Society to buy it back and bring it back at auction.

Women made quilts during wars and the Great Depression to keep their loved ones warm. Quilting is now a much admired art form.

Roll call was taken with 10 members recounting their favorite bird.

The club makes a donation to the Hope House. A club tradition is for the group to read a selected book and discuss it together each April. The book selected this year was “Race Against Time” by Jerry Mitchell. This is also the Clinton County Reads selection.

The next meeting on March 22 will be in Cape May. Marla Stewart is in charge of the program. His daughter will present his subject EA Pope. Suzanne Madison will be the hostess.

St. Patrick’s Day themed refreshments were served by the hostess.

Mary Ellen Krisher spoke about the history of quilting.

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