I had learned that March 20 would be Worldwide Quilting Day this year, which is pretty exciting in its own right. But, gosh, it turns out it is also the first day of spring (hurray, although nature has a lot of catching up to do in our neck of the woods), International Day of Happiness (in short supply for many people these days), and – wait for it – National Ravioli Day!
So, in two weeks’ time you can ensure your happiness by working on your latest quilting project and chowing down on a fantastic meal of ravioli. Perfect combination. Celebrating three special days in one go.
Even though I am passionate about quilts and quilting, I have to admit to never having heard about Worldwide Quilting Day before. It’s amazing what will show up in my newsfeed these days! However, recently I’ve seen promos for virtual quilting retreats to be held on March 20, new patterns being promoted, and lots of general enthusiasm, which of course isn’t all that hard to muster among quilters.
For those of you who quilt – and those of you who might be itching to give it a try – this is a perfect opportunity to start a new quilt, start your first quilt, or mentor someone to start quilting. Some of you even live in places where you can bring people together to quilt during the pandemic, although hopefully with masks on.
What do I love about quilting? Pretty well everything. I love having someone in mind who I’m making the quilt for; that’s what makes it meaningful as well as satisfying. I love choosing my new design. I really love deciding on the colours and then the particular fabrics and their individual patterns. And I love watching the quilt emerge as its own entity as it comes together. As I say, so satisfying.
My grandmother had made quilts when my mother was young, as I’m sure all her friends did, and as far as my mother was concerned, that was a bit of history that never needed to be repeated. As she would have observed, “we can buy blankets at a store now”. I didn’t even realize that people still quilted until my husband and I moved to the country (we bought a farm as our first home). I was invited to a quilting bee and I was hooked.
It turns out that quilting goes WAY back. I suppose that shouldn’t be surprising. When it’s cold out, and especially all those centuries before insulated houses and central heating were commonplace and blankets weren’t readily available, multiple layers of cloth stitched together to keep the cold out and body warmth in were a brilliant solution. And old clothes could be repurposed as patchwork quilts to great effect. So quilts were created initially to serve very practical purposes. And then, as we know, they became not just works of necessity but works of art. Our creative juices just can’t help themselves.
A few tidbits about quilting through the ages:
- Quilting goes back to Ancient Egypt—approximately 5,400+ years ago.
- In Europe, quilting appears to have been introduced by Crusaders in the 12th in the form of the aketon or gambeson, a quilted garment worn under armour (to protect against chaffing and to prevent the armor from rusting from sweat) which later developed into the doublet, which remained an essential part of fashionable men’s clothing for 300 years until the early 1600s. (Wikipedia)
- The oldest surviving example of a quilted piece is a linen carpet found in a Mongolian cave, dated to between 100 BCE and 200 CE. It is now kept at the Saint Petersburg department of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Archaeology Section. (Wikipedia)
- The word quilt comes from the Latin world “Culcita”, which means stuffed sack or bag.
- The average quilter is 63-years old.
- The earliest American quilt made is from 1704.
- The most expensive historic quilt ever sold was a Civil War-era quilt that was sold in 1991 for $254,000.
- In 2017, the quilting industry was worth over $3.5 billion dollars. That’s a lot of happy quilters buying lots of fabric!!
If you’re already a quilter, think of something special to do on Worldwide Quilting Day. If you’d like to give quilting a try, March 20 is the perfect day to start. I think I’d better walk the talk and start a new project myself! And be very happy at the same time. Maybe while eating some ravioli. 🙂