My Great Aunt Bethel, 93, has been quilting by hand since she was a young girl. As she recounted why and how she began quilting, she described how in her day as a young person, "you never mention that you're bored around a farm, because Mother and Daddy would find something for you to do!" So, she asked her mother to teach her to quilt. The problem was her mother was right-handed and Bethel left-handed. So, Aunt Bethel watched and taught herself by mirroring her mother's quilting techniques at their dining table.
To this day, Aunt Bethel still has a suspended quilting frame in her bedroom where she continues to make lovely hand-sewn quilts; she fashioned this little boy quilt for my son, her great-great nephew, and it will remain a treasure for him and our family from now on.
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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.