The history of wool quilting began in the early seventeenth century when the first quilts were made of whole cloth. These large pieces of cloth were used as batting for other quilts. By 1850, cotton was the most popular material for making quilts, and the world was supplied with 80 percent of its supply. Until the Civil War, cotton was the fabric of choice for quiltmakers. However, the war disrupted cotton production in the North and the rest of the world, which depended on southern cotton. This forced the industry to turn to wool to meet the demands of the war effort.
New England wool quilts were made with hand-spun worsted thread. These materials were expensive at the time, but they were easily available even if factory-made cotton threads were widely available. As early as the 19th century, Pamela Brown recorded in her diary that her mother had spun some of her worsted for her to quilt with. Though most of the thread colors blended with the face of the quilt, she also used a contrasting color to emphasize the design.
After the Industrial Revolution, textiles were produced on a large scale. Women no longer had to spend hours spinning and weaving fabric and the cost of commercial fabrics became affordable to almost every family. The popularity of quilts grew rapidly during this time. By the 1840s, the history of wool quilting had reached its peak and many people were able to afford to make their own. The growth of textile manufacturing made it possible for the public to buy fabrics without having to make them.
While most wool quilts were tied, early New England whole cloth wool quilts lacked the appeal of pieced calico quilts. These early quilts, however, often display imaginative quilting designs. Because wool was scarce and heavily taxed in the early nineteenth century, the settlers made their own fabric. As a result, wool and linen became the most affordable and durable materials for making blankets. In the mid-sixteenth century, the industry of making quilts with wool continued to grow, allowing more people to access these materials.
The history of wool quilting can be traced to ancient times. The term “quilt” actually derives from the Latin word calcite, meaning “bolster” or “cushion”. Its popularity grew steadily and its use was first recorded in England during the thirteenth century. Throughout the centuries, these styles of quilting have changed into their own distinct and unique styles. These unique traits have made the history of wool quilting so fascinating.
Unlike today, early quilts were made to adapt to the local climate. Comforter quilts were created with layers of fabric that were tied together. These were lighter than summer quilts, with no middle material. Some even had two or three layers. A common feature of a comforter quilt is a tie that prevents the layers from shifting. In contrast, summer quilts do not have a middle layer and are made to be light on the ground.
The history of wool quilting dates back to the early thirteenth century. In the Netherlands, the first whole-cloth quilt was made with a textile made in India. The Crusaders introduced quilting to Europe and used acetone to make armors. This evolved into the doublet, which became an essential part of fashionable men’s clothing until the sixteenth century. The oldest-known quilt, known as the Tristan Quilt, was constructed around Sicily in the 1360s. It is now held in a classified collection.
Colonial American quilts:
Colonial American quilts were generally whole-cloth, but many linsey-cloth quilts had a decorative border. The early American quilts had intricate designs that were often woven into fabric. In addition to being made of whole cloth, the quilts of this period were also made of small calico fabrics. By the 18th century, patchwork quilts became more common and fashionable. The pattern of the New England queens’ bedquilts is modeled on the same method as the one used by Mary Abbott Bridges.
Modern quilts were created for both practical and decorative purposes. In the past, quilts were primarily used for warmth, but now many are admired as beautiful art pieces. In addition to their practical use, wool quilts have been viewed as a beautiful art form for centuries. They have become the object of many famous artists, including Jacoba de Jonge, Hugh Maertens, and other artists. There is a rich history of wool and the history of the wool quilt.