Quilts may be made or given to mark important life events such as marriage, the birth of a child, a family member leaving home, or graduations.Modern quilts are not always intended for use as bedding, and may be used as wall hangings, table runners, or tablecloths.
Small pieces of fabric were joined together to make larger pieces, in units called “blocks.” Creativity could be expressed in the block designs, or simple “utility quilts,” with minimal decorative value, could be produced.
Crib quilts for infants were needed in the cold of winter, but even early examples of baby quilts indicate the efforts that women made to welcome a new baby.
It was essential for most families to use and preserve textiles efficiently.
Saving or salvaging small scraps of fabric was a part of life for all households.
Quilts were often made for other events as well, such as graduations, or when individuals left their homes for other communities.
One example of this is the quilts made as farewell gifts for pastors; some of these gifts were subscription quilts.For a subscription quilt, community members would pay to have their names embroidered on the quilt top, and the proceeds would be given to the departing minister.Sometimes the quilts were auctioned off to raise additional money, and the quilt might be donated back to the minister by the winner.Quilting was often a communal activity, involving all the women and girls in a family or in a larger community.There are also many historical examples of men participating in these quilting traditions.White wholecloth quilts with high-quality, elaborate quilting, and often trapunto decorations as well, are also traditional for weddings.