I recently purchased a quilt made entirely out of polyester double knit fabric. Before you become totally horrified at the thought of that let me explain why.
I believe that these quilts are an important part of quilting history . Quilting was for a long time assumed to be dying out of popularity.
We tend to think of America’s 200th birthday in 1976 as the beginning of the latest quilt revival. Jonathan Holstein and Gail van der Hoof began collecting quilts at the end of the 1960s. In 1971 they were able to display the most fascinating of their quilts at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City.
These 2 events caused a gradual increase in women wanting to learn to quilt. Popular women’s magazines began to include more articles about quilt projects. Quilters used the fabric at hand which was often double knit. Double knits went out of vogue for clothing during the 1970s but they were used to make quilts.
So these double knit quilts do fit into the history of quilting. They were really at the beginning of the quilting world that we are in now. By 2010 it became a 3.58 billion dollar industry…with patterns aplenty, the most complex of machines and tools, hundreds of magazines….blogs!
Poly quickly went out of use as quilters started to look for more traditional materials….and shops dedicated to the quilter began to operate. In many ways the polyester quilts of the 70’s are the grandparents of the quilts of today.
My quilt is tied not quilted. The backing needs replacement because it is rather worn and the batting is in shreds! Older batting was not resin bonded and needle punched so after several washings it ended up clumpy and bumpy and migrating everywhere, and with a tied quilt there is not quilting to hold that batting in place.
But the top is in great shape! The double knit fabric will seemingly never ever wear out! So I plan a bit of a face lift for this quilt. I will replace the backing and the batting, and I will do some simple hand quilting….once that is done it will last for many more years of use.
Here are some pictures of the quilt (click to enlarge)
I put the rings quilt on the couch and Teddy decided that was pretty cool….but when he gets up there he always lands in the center of one of the circles.
Today I spent the day on the MSU campus for the annual plant sale (I bought a few myself and will write about that when I plant them) Tonight I am going to work some more on my whole cloth quilt. I have the center of the quilt in the hoop today and I will finish that area tonight. It still drives me crazy that the seam is right there in the center but I am trying to get over that. Also I don’t think I need to be driven crazy…I can walk from here.