The cuilte.
March 29, 2003 11:07 AM   Subscribe

The cuilte. They're a segment of society often ridiculed. They are artists with their own slang and special tools. They have a rich history full of stories, myths and mysteries. Though many think they originated in America, they can trace their roots to numerous locations on the globe. They are peaceful activists. As it happened so often the English borrowed their name from the French. That's how the cuilte became the quilters.
posted by ?! (18 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
And to stave off any rumors -- I'm not a quilter. I'm a retired hooker.
posted by ?! at 11:08 AM on March 29, 2003

I'd like to point out a true masterpiece.
posted by snez at 11:41 AM on March 29, 2003

This is great, ?!.

A collection of personal stories about quilting from different places and cultures - quilts about buildings, life events, wartime etc.
Essays about quilts.
Australian Aboriginal skin cloaks.
Via the National Quilting Register, Australia.
posted by plep at 11:47 AM on March 29, 2003

funny, I never thought of it as american, probably as my [swedish] grandmother makes plenty of them, in hexagon patterns and triangles, with trippy embroideries. By hand ,no less! I'm so impressed with her patience as each blanket may take a year os so.
posted by dabitch at 12:01 PM on March 29, 2003

?!, you girlzoner, you! Is quilting making a resurgence the way that knitting has? Being a closet quilt geek, I would very much like to see that. Thanks for that Hawaiian quilt link - I was thinking of trying one as soon as I'm done with the Amish quilt I'm working on. I'm also making a quilt from vintage handkerchiefs, and another loosely based on traditional African American quilt colors and patterns I found online a few years ago.

dabitch, are those the quilts that your grandmother made? They're wonderful.
posted by iconomy at 12:10 PM on March 29, 2003

I've tried quilting for years. Nothing ever worked until I found the patch.
posted by tss at 12:16 PM on March 29, 2003

Is this "quilting" something you have to own a sewing machine to know about? Because I don't own a sewing machine.

Seriously though, folks... it just so happens that I came across a nice personal quilt site the other day. I found "Paradise: The Quilt from Hell", which is really heavenly. Also check out this lady's other quilts - they are all great, especially the Tarot card quilts and the "end of the relationship" quilts.
posted by taz at 1:00 PM on March 29, 2003

My wife quilts and creates window treatments for a living, and she makes about three times as much as I do a year.
She cheats a bit, though.... last year, we bought a quilting machine. She can pump out several quilts in one day.
posted by bradth27 at 1:09 PM on March 29, 2003

?!, you broke the first rule!
posted by homunculus at 1:13 PM on March 29, 2003

i recently made my first quilt for my boss' first and years-in-coming baby . . . and it actually turned out really really well.

my mother has been quilting for years and was always trying to nudge me towards it. "you'd be a great art quilter, i just know it" she would say and i would sort of dismiss her with a whatever, knowing i wasn't about to become an "art quilter".

then one day i told her my plans for the baby quilt.

i have never seen such light in her eyes before. she rushed me and my grandmother, who was visiting and we hardly ever see, to the quilt store straight away. inside i stood amongst the bolts of fabric and uttered the words "this is my first quilt".

it was like they could smell fresh blood. every available sales clerk swooped in and kept repeating the phrase "it's addicting, you know" "i hope you know that once you start, you just can't stop" "so what are you going to do for your next one?". me feeling completely confident that this would be my first and last foree into the world of quilting.

finally after narrowing down soooo many choices and boggling my mothers mind with my selection (i had chosen a pallet of fabrics that i liked that she would never have chosen . . . she's more of the traditional floral blue and pink persuasion) we left having spent a lot more than i would have imagined fabric to cost. and having spent an afternoon fully submerged in this strange and wonderful world of women. (there was one guy there, the token male quilter - which i thought was cool).

i ended up only having four days to get the quilt done before her shower - and without my mothers expert help, i don't think i could have done it in that time frame.

when i first started i figured it'd take me ~6 hours or so and i'd leisurely come over to her house after work and just whip it out. after all - i had a basic pattern called yellow brick road - how hard could it be. it ended up taking almost 30 hours, compacted into my evenings after work - and i couldn't have been more pleased with the results when we finished at 2am the night before the shower. also a great moment was at the shower when she opened it, swooned over if for about 30 seconds and then paused and said "you didn't make this did you?" and i nodded my head . . . mouths aghast all around the room of my coworkers as i am the seemingly least likely of the bunch to do such a thing.

now i've got ideas for several other quilts and i'm figuring out how i can get myself a good sewing machine.

i told my mother that it was a good thing that she wasn't addicted to crack because i'd be in big trouble.
posted by nyoki at 1:48 PM on March 29, 2003 [1 favorite]

Real Men Do Quilt, and a shot of Russell Crowe trying (and not succeeding) to show that he knows how to hold knitting needles, while trying (again with the not succeeding...) to look demure and yet manly at the same time. He does look kind of cute in this one, though. (there may be pop-ups with those images - they're from

nyoki, you have been assimilated! Great story.
posted by iconomy at 1:54 PM on March 29, 2003

I've done a little bit of quilting--well, piecing, really, but my first crafty love is needlework. There's something so calming about making tiny little stitches on fabric, and having them eventually become a picture.

I'm addicted to doing samplers, as a look at my very out of date needlework page easily shows. (self-link, obviously, and many many many unfinished pieces).

Quilting is something I want to get into more, but it's hard when you don't have a good table for cutting fabric, which is absolutely essential. As is a rotary cutter, or as a hard-core quilting friend of mine calls it, a wheel of death. If I ever seriously start quilting, I think I'll go down the road of the crazy quilt.
posted by eilatan at 2:05 PM on March 29, 2003

iconomy - no that's a talented swedish girl for lack o grandma webpage, but grandma uses the same shape, which is my favorite pattern.
posted by dabitch at 3:04 PM on March 29, 2003

I tried knitting once 'cuz I wanted (among other hard-to-find things) a long pointy knit-cap (all COTTON!--not poly) in a nice striped (piratey goodness-ARRGH!) pattern.

It ended badly. (But I have some needles I could sell you cheap.)
posted by Shane at 4:27 PM on March 29, 2003

(Um, one of the needles might be a little bent, and the other is stuck in a wall somewhere.)
posted by Shane at 4:29 PM on March 29, 2003

posted by Vidiot at 6:46 PM on March 29, 2003

I'm currently posting this from the kitchen table, surrounded by cutting & measuring implements, peices of cut fabric, "fat quarters", patterns, books, loose threads, an ungodly peice of hardware, partially complete blocks, and a very happy wife.

This is one hobby I *could* get into, if I weren't swamped with geekdom, but I do think I'd prefer "paper peicing", simply because the level of peicing detail can be amazingly sharp.
posted by jkaczor at 12:58 AM on March 30, 2003

jkaczor, I think that is the most amazing domain name I've seen to date...
posted by taz at 10:24 AM on March 30, 2003

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