Whiting discusses history, skill of quilting in U.S.

By: Jeannine LeJeune
CROWLEY – For weeks leading up to Tuesday’s program, Alice Whiting joked that after all of the fishing and hunting programs that she sat through, no one should complain about a program centered around quilting.

And no one did as Whiting delivered a history of and information about the skills used to make quilts over the years.

“Now I don’t quilt,” she said. “I don’t have the patience for it.”

But Whiting admires quilts and has always been impressed with quilting.

Both Whiting’s mother and her mother-in-law were quilters and several of their quilts were on display at the Crowley Rotary Club’s Tuesday meeting.

Whiting began her presentation with what is categorized as a “crazy quilt.” The particular quilt she showed off was made by her mother.

Crazy quilting is a term often used to refer to the textile art of crazy patchwork.

There are many other kinds of quilting patterns that are well-known including the double wedding ring, broken dishes and the Ohio star, all of which, along with many others had examples.

As Whiting talked about each quilt she showed off the many intricate stitches that each quilt was made with.

It’s that detail that helped get her interested in quilts.

“I’ve always appreciated the work that goes into quilting, but after doing some reading on the history of quilts, I appreciated it more,” she said.

It takes a great deal of time and energy to make a quilt, Whiting joked that it was certainly not a “one or two day” job but that many were made in groups as a socializing activity. Thus the work went by a little faster.

Quilting has been around for many years. As the club continued its discussion one of the many possibly unknown facts about quilting was revealed in regards to the Civil War era.

During the Civil War, quilts were used to relay messages along the Underground Railroad. The patterns used relayed messages as to where to go and whether the home was a part of the system.

Many years ago when the quilts were made, cotton was used to stuff them, according to Whiting. This explains why some quilts appear to be “lumpy” from time to time.

To this day people are still quilting in the area as quilts are sometimes auctioned off at local bazaars and so on.

There is also a new type of quilting called art quilting. Whiting had several pieces from Kay Fruge, a local artist, with her as well. Instead of being the size of a typical quilt, the artworks are the size of typical paintings.

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