Academic journal article Voices: The Journal of New York Folklore

Program Text from "An Adirondack Quilt Show: A Celebration of the Tied Tradition," Wevertown Community Hall, Saturday, August 13, 1988, 10-4 P.M. Rain or Shine

Academic journal article Voices: The Journal of New York Folklore

Program Text from "An Adirondack Quilt Show: A Celebration of the Tied Tradition," Wevertown Community Hall, Saturday, August 13, 1988, 10-4 P.M. Rain or Shine

Article excerpt

Tied quilts have a long history in the Adirondack North Country. For generations, they have been used as bedcovers at home and in the lumber camp, placed in hope chests by prospective brides, given to neighbors in need, and sold to raise money for the local church.

Quilts are commonly three layers: the backing, batting, and top. The backing is often simple, not given much attention, since it is the underside of the quilt. The batting is the interlining, once only made of cotton or wool (though sometimes an old blanket was used). Bats are now also made of synthetic fibers, and said by some to make quilt care easier. The top is the decorative side of the quilt. Pieces of material are sown together into blocks, these blocks then used to form the overall design.

Tying and quilting are two different ways to fasten the three layers of a quilt. North Country families often practiced both techniques, but relied on tying for the enormous task of making their own bedcovers. In the tying process, spaced threads are passed through the layers of the quilt and tied into knots. Tying is quicker than quilting and allows a thicker batting to be used for a warmer cover.

A tradition of "waste not, want not" has influenced the choice of materials used in tied quilts. Scraps are commonly salvaged from family sewing projects. Other materials have included leftover scraps from making shirttails at a local factory, cloth grain bags that came in an assortment of prints and patterns, and even unworn portions of wool jackets and pants. …

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