Lisa J. Allen, MEd, MSIS
Quilting-in-America is a site devoted to information about quilts and quilting in the United States of America and the part it has played in our history.
I created this website because quilting is still very much a "social" activity, but unlike the pioneer women gathered at quilting bees learning from one another as they shared stories, laughter, and labor, modern quilters frequently turn to the Internet for information about quilting.
In my searches for information I was frequently frustrated by the uneven offerings. This site is not intended to be everything to everybody. There is already a lot of quality on the Web for quilters. Quilting-in-America does offer a historical as well as personal perspective not present anywhere else.
Of the 4 girls in my family, 3 of us quilt. Following in the footsteps of many creative, resourceful women before us, we are 4th generation quilters. We grew up with quilts and stories about them.
During my studies to become a teacher, I prepared many lesson plans incorporating quilts in the lesson. These lessons connected to social studies, history, mathematics -- they offered meaningful ways to bring real life into the classroom. It was the beginning of my own research into the many ways American life and history have been impacted by quilts and quilting.
As a librarian in a small university library, I now teach students to find, evaluate, and use information. Not all information, whether printed or electronic, is valid or valuable. Equally important to remember, not every author is an authority. Acknowledging my own limitations, I will certainly refer to sources of information written by authors with more expertise. Credit will be given and full citation information or Web links will be provided.
While this site is not a scholarly source, many of the resources used to find information are. Please refer to the Bibliography and Quilt Books pages for the citations and linking information to a wealth of information from resources that are appropriate for use in scholarly research.
I hope visitors to Quilting-in-America will read critically, thinking and evaluating, always considering their own background knowledge. Also keeping in mind that I would never knowingly write false or misleading information. Criticism, comments, suggestions or corrections are encouraged.
Thank you for visiting Quilting-in-America.
There are many online sites with information about the heritage of quilting in America. Some are excellent, containing well-researched scholarly information, such as The International Quilt Study and Museum at the University of Nebraska - Lincoln.
Others, such as Block Central's Quilt Directory contain links to many fine sites that pertain not only to the history of quilts, but to other elements of quilting as well.
When I was 10 years old, we stayed with my grandmother and great-grandmother, Big Mama, for several weeks. While my brother and sisters played outside, I sat on the floor at Big Mama's feet, carefully cutting squares from scraps, then clumsily sewing them together. She patiently explained simple color theory, how to place scraps together in a pleasing way by careful placement of light and dark fabrics, and demonstrated the small even stitches required to piece the scraps. She was
working on the traditional Double Wedding Ring pattern for a quilt for a grand-daughter who was planning to be married. How magical it was that the small pieces of fabric could form beautiful multi-color interlocking rings! Years later, I received a Double Wedding Ring quilt from her to celebrate my wedding -- a precious connection to Big Mama, our family, and a rich tradition.