Quilting vs. Piecing

Double Wedding Ring QuiltsThis weekend I went to the annual quilt show in Greenville, IL, sponsored by the Bond County Historical Society. My mother’s family farm is in Greenville, and my family has 40 or so quilts, so this weekend was a perfect fit!





Featured QuilterSunbonnet Sue

Oleta Schaufelberger was this year’s featured quilter, and she had quite a display! Every item in her exhibit was pieced and quilted by hand. She had several large “Double Wedding Ring” quilts. My favorite of her quilts was a variation of a “Sunbonnet Sue” pattern, made with fabric from dresses worn by three generations of women in her family. Each of the dresses in the pattern was different.

Basic Quilting Terminology

There were four categories of quilts at this show: hand quilted, machine quilted, antique, and wall/display and baby quilts. Within these categories, a quilt can either be embroidered or pieced.

  • Piecing is the art of cutting shapes from fabric and stitching them together to form a pattern. Often, a quilter pieces the pattern into smaller blocks, then stitches the blocks together.
  • Quilting is the process of sewing the pieced quilt top to the backing fabric, with quilt batting sandwiched in between. Many quilters like to incorporate designs into the quilting stitches.
  • A hand quilt is one that has been pieced and quilted using hand sewing. I once read that women used to strive for 12 stitches per inch when they were hand quilting.
  • A machine quilt is one that has been pieced and quilted using a sewing machine. When looked at closely, hand and machine quilts look very different. Machine quilts have tighter, smaller, more uniform stitches.
  • An embroidered quilt uses blocks of fabric that have been embroidered rather than pieced with intricate designs. Embroidered quilts can have some piecework, as the blocks are pieced together and there is often a pieced border, but some embroidered quilts are made from one large piece of fabric.

Hoiles-Davis Historical MuseumOther Historical Greenville Locations

Hoiles-Davis Historical Museum:  See a couch Abraham Lincoln sat on, as well as some other Greenville history.

One-Room School Museum: A beautifully restored one-room school house that has been moved to the middle of Greenville from its original country location.

American Farm Heritage Museum:  Home to farming artifacts and festivals, this museum is also working on reconstructing a War of 1812 era fort.

What’s Next?

I might try my hand at the tiny crochet my great-grandmother liked.  I bought a very old book of crochet patterns of doilies and edgings from a vendor at the quilt show, and my mom has a box of Great-Grandma’s old hooks and thread somewhere.


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