This Survey Investigates Quilts Made from 1945 to 1975 and
The Women and Men Who Made Them
During the time period from 1945 through 1975, there was a dip in the numbers of people who were quilting, partially because of the affluence of the time, and because women who had grown up during the Depression and war years wanted to be more modern. They didn't want to sew, can vegetables, bake bread, or do other time and energy consuming household "chores." They wanted to enjoy new conveniences and rejected much of what they had grown up with.
However, there were both older women who continued these traditions and younger women who enjoyed the social aspects of quilting, loved to create beautiful and practical art works, and found themselves in the quilts they made.
My grandmothers were two such women, as were my husband's great-aunts. However, my mother, my aunts, and my mother-in-law all were "modern" women, who had little interest in needle arts. So now, 30 odd years after the "rediscovery" of quilting, I want to take a look at the women and men who preserved this great American art form for us.
The Research is Ongoing
This project is three-fold. I will investigate how, where, and when quilters were doing their work and the tools they used. We will try to determine how they interacted with other quilters, where they got their patterns and what other resources were available. Secondly, I plan to interview some of the respondents in depth to preserve their personal stories and build a "picture" of the individuals who were quilting during this time period. Finally, it is my hope that the results can be published and include a CD with patterns for reproduction quilts based on those made by a few of the women whose work is featured.
Send your response to Kathryn Greenwold, 2240 Niskayuna Dr., Niskayuna, NY 12309 or send an email (see CONTACT US). If you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact us. Also, feel free to pass on a copy of the survey to anyone you know who was quilting during this time period. Without the help of quilters like you, this project would be impossible. Thank you for your responses.
The survey questions: WE NEVER STOPPED QUILTING
Please give us your contact information. I would appreciate your age at the time this survey is completed, but that is optional. If you are filling out the form for someone else, or about someone else, please provide your information as well as the name of the person who you are answering the questions for or about. The information gathered here will not be used for marketing or sales. You will not be added to our newsletter or email list unless you request that we do so.
Name:____________________________ Phone # (Optional):_____________________
Person completing this form, if not the respondent:__________________________
Your contact information ____________________________________________
If you would like to remain anonymous for the purposes of any published results, please let us know that. I would appreciate your contact information, however, for use in compiling the data.
The questions are written in the first person. If you are answering for someone other than yourself, consider the "you" in these questions to be that person. Feel free to attach additional pages if you need more space to record your answers. Any information you are willing to provide is valuable in my research.
1. Were you quilting during any of the years 1945 to 1975? Where (town, state, country if not USA)? When (what years)?
2. Were you a member of a friendship group, church circle, quilting bee, 4-H, Future Farmers, or other group?
What type of group was it? Where was it?
3. Do you currently know where any of the other women are who were in the group?
Would any of them be interested in participating in this survey?
Please feel free to provide contact information for them, or share a copy of this survey with them.
4. Did each member make her own quilts or was the piecing, appliqué, or quilting shared?
5. Were tops quilted for the benefit of church mission work or other service project?
6. What types of quilts do you remember making? Please indicate all that apply. Appliqué? Pieced Wholecloth? Other?
7. Did you design your own quilts?
8. Did you rely on books for piecing and applique patterns or quilting patterns? Indicate all that apply.
Kits? Magazines? Newspaper features? Other?
Which was your primary source?
9. What tools did you use to cut fabrics, make piecing or appliqué templates, and mark your quilts?
10. Did you make your own tools? Did a family member or friend help? Who?
Did you share tools with friends?
11. What kind of quilting frame did you own - or did you use a communal frame?
12. Did you have contact with quilters in other parts of the country?
Did you share patterns for blocks or quilting patterns with anyone in other parts of the country/world?
The Questions Continue ~
13. Why did you make quilts?
14. What did you enjoy most about quilting?
15. What was most difficult?
16. Have any of your quilts been exhibited?
If so, where?
Have you won any awards?
17. Have you sold any of your quilts?
18. Have you taught quilting/quiltmaking?
If yes, when, where, and what? Were you ever paid for your teaching?
19. Do you remember when polyester fabrics and battings were first introduced?
20. Did you use the polyester fabrics in your quilts? Battings?
What did you think of these fabrics? Battings?
Do you still use them?
21. Are you still quilting and, if yes, to what extent?
22. What do you think of how quilting has evolved over the last 30 years?
23. What new techniques and tools available today have your adopted?
Just a Few More Questions ~
24. Do you currently belong to a friendship group? Guild? Other quilting group?
25. Do you or a family member have any quilts you made during 1945-1975?
26. Would you be willing to let us photograph and/or publish pictures of these quilts?
27. Do you have any pictures of your quilting group or yourself quilting during the years
Would you be willing to let us copy and/or publish these pictures?
28. Do you still have any of the tools, or the frame you used during that time?
Would you be willing to let us photograph these tools for the publication?
THANK YOU for your participation in this survey. Your answers will be compiled with others to document the quilts that were being made and people who made them during this time when "no one was quilting."