I created the Patchwork Project Bag Collection as I have a real love of patchwork and quilting. I think this comes from my curiosity with The Amish and the early American settlers creating beautiful quilts out of leftover scraps of clothing and household fabrics.
Years ago I used to wonder what the difference was between patchwork and quilting, often getting the two confused. Patchwork is the art of sewing together pieces of fabric to form a pattern or block.
When enough blocks have been made, they can be sewn together to form a quilt top. Quilting is the sewing together of the three layers that make up a quilt, using embroidery - the top, the central wadding, and the backing. I wanted my patchwork project bags to have that quilted feel, so I embroidered the patchwork pieces onto wadding and the lining of the project bags are the backing.
In American culture, a patchwork quilt symbolizes family, resourcefulness, the connection between the past and present, creativity, and heritage. Today you can purchase patchwork fabrics ready cut, some referred to as Jelly Rolls, which you sew together.
I prefer to source my own patches from my fabric collection. I get to choose the size and shape and colour of the patches and this is part of the fun and creativity of this art.
Amish quilts came into existence around the 1870s. Before that, the Amish were still using German featherbeds as their bedcovers. The early Amish quilts were made from pieces of fabric left over from garments made for members of their family. Most Amish quilts are done with patchwork, meaning that pieces of fabric are cut into shapes and formed or “patched” into distinct patterns. Amish quilts can also be made in the appliqué style, where small pieces of fabric are sewn together to form a picture.
A great resource to find out more about Amish quilts is:
Years ago a quilt was essential for children and the elderly. When they had poor living conditions, diet and health care, a quilt on their bed meant the difference between life and death.
It was a very popular early American pastime, with quilting circles and quilting bees, where many women gathered around a quilting frame and quilted, embroidering beautiful stitches onto the quilts. Annual town fairs saw the importance and beauty of quilting and therefore included a quilting prize to award excellence in quilting.
Handmade quilts were a very common wedding gift for young couples, and were often mentioned specifically in wills due to their sentimental significance. It was not uncommon, in early American culture, for quilts to reflect a mosaic of a woman's life, often including swatches of material from memorable events such as pieces of a wedding gown or a child's baptismal garment.
In 1987 in San Francisco, the Names Project commenced as a memorial to the lives of people who died from AIDS and related diseases with quilt panels made by loved ones. Also known as the AIDS QUILT, it grew to comprise many thousands of panels, and spawned similar projects in countries around the globe. Today the Aids quilt is housed in San Francisco when it is not on display. You can still add to this quilt, making it the largest community folk art project in the world. To find out more and support the work, here is a link:
As you can see there is so much history and love in every quilt created. They are really a beautiful work of art. I decided to add the Patchwork Project Bag Collection to my shop, so we could all have a little bit of this art in our homes, when we are creating our own knitting and crochet pieces of art.
If you are interested in taking up patchwork and quilting as a hobby, I would love to recommend the book Essential Sampler Quilt book by Lynne Edwards.
It is the first book I purchased to teach myself how to quilt, embroider and patch pieces of fabric together. Here is a picture of the first quilt I made using this book:
Other great references are:
The UK Quilters Guild
The USA Quilters Guild
To find out more about patchwork quilt history: