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Quilting was done in straight lines, often with double and triple quilting, although flowers, baskets, feathers and wreathes were not uncommon. The dye process was long and involved and colors changed depending on the mordents used.Home dyes used onionskin, nut shells and bark to create yellows, browns and greens, but they were not used as commonly as myth has it.Trapunto (stuffed work) quilts were made until the 1840's when their popularity waned.Glazed fabrics such as chintz (see photo, left), roller prints and pillar prints were popular. Some quilt edges were finished with a fringe, particularly on the East Coast.Generally, quilts were made by wealthier Americans on the Eastern Seaboard who had access to a tremendous variety of fabrics brought in by ship.Many early quilts still in existence today, therefore, are either made of imported fabric or have some imported fabric along with the American.A side note from The Patchwork Pilgrimage: "Further proof that ornamental patchwork is no newcomer to the church is provided by this fascinating pieced silk chasuble that is believed to have been made around 1540.
A deep brown with warm accents was made using manganese.
Sumac, birch, oak, woodshed in general and iron made black.
Indigo blue and turkey red were very reliable dyes as they were made by the process for which the color was named.
Quilts were almost always made of wool, unless they were remade from bed curtains or quilted petticoats.
However, the idea that all early quilts were made of worn clothing is a myth.
Quilts and quilt making are a reflection of the life and times of the women who made quilts.