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Quilting was: Pillow stuffing

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  • Kammy Chinnock
    Having missed the beginning of this thread, I am very interested in period quilting, as I need to make some for my family. I am glad that quilting is period,
    Message 1 of 18 , Feb 2, 2006
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      Having missed the beginning of this thread, I am very interested in period
      quilting, as I need to make some for my family. I am glad that quilting is
      period, the next question is what type? Did they make pieced quilts? Or
      were they patterns sewn into the plain fabric? I am very curious as I am
      working on making our encampment site as period as I can in baby steps.

      Anne Cameron
    • Chris Laning
      All together, now -- Run, don t walk, your little electrons over to and welcome to the discussion! It s a
      Message 2 of 18 , Feb 2, 2006
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        All together, now -- <g>

        Run, don't walk, your little electrons over to <http://groups.yahoo.com/group/medievalquilting/>
        and welcome to the discussion! It's a friendly, and not too busy, group who can answer all your questions.

        The short answer, though, is:

        Most medieval quilting seems to have been with two whole sheets of cloth put together, cotton batting between, and sewed through all layers with backstitch or running stitch. Linen and silk are both known as top and backing fabrics -- I'm not so sure about wool. Cotton _batting_ was actually imported into northwestern Europe relatively early, certainly by the 16th century, as opposed to cotton _thread_ or cotton _cloth_ which didn't become really common there till much later. Carded wool does seem to have been used for filling at times, but cotton batting seems to have been the "default" filling.

        We do know that medieval people constructed decorative objects out of "pieced" fabric, but there's no connection at _that_ time between the ideas of "piecing" and "quilting."

        Bed coverings that are pieced AND quilted have been immensely popular in the US, especially since about the 1840s, but the idea that a "quilt" is necessarily also pieced is much more of a post-period idea.

        Regards,
        (Lady) Christian de Holacombe

        ____________________________________________________________
        0 Chris Laning
        | <claning@...>
        + Davis, California
        ____________________________________________________________
      • Kammy Chinnock
        Thanks so much for the information! I appreciate it immensely! Anne
        Message 3 of 18 , Feb 2, 2006
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          Thanks so much for the information! I appreciate it immensely!

          Anne
        • kittencat3@aol.com
          Period quilting was primarily wholecloth, either in linen or silk. There are a few references to patchwork (one in a 12th century French poem, La Lai del
          Message 4 of 18 , Feb 2, 2006
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            Period quilting was primarily wholecloth, either in linen or silk. There are
            a few references to patchwork (one in a 12th century French poem, La Lai del
            Desire, some "payned quyltes" in Henry VIII's inventory of 1547), but most of
            the surviving references are to wholecloths.

            Here are some pictures of surviving medieval quilts/quilted objects/paintings
            of quilts:

            http://images.vam.ac.uk (enter "tristan" in the search box for pictures of
            the oldest known European bed quilt)

            http://www.bildindex.de/rx/apsisa.dll/registerinhalt?sid=&cnt=&rid=2&aid=*&que
            ry=+xdbpics%3Aalle%20+r1a_name%3A'B*'%20%20+r1a_name%3A%22bermejo,%20bartolome
            %22&no=1&count=50&sort=no&rid=2
            Bartolome Bermejo's 1450 painting of the Death of the Virgin clearly shows a
            silk quilt on the bed.

            http://www.aut.org/SearchProducto?Produnum=27066 (1550 painting by Francesco
            Beccaruzzi showing a tennis player and his pageboy, said tennis player wearing
            a quilted doublet for protection)

            There's also a terrific article on 16th and 17th century silk quilts in the
            December 1997 issue of Antiques: The Magazine, and an even better article on
            the Guicciardini quilts of 1394 in the September 1993 issue of Quilter's
            Newsletter Magazine.



            E-mail me privately at kittencat@... and I'd be happy to send you
            even more information. There's also a Medieval Quilting Yahoo group that I
            moderate that has some terrific pictures and links.

            Hope this helps - and feel free to ask me any questions. I'm more than happy
            to help.

            Mistress Sarah Davies
            East


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          • kittencat3@aol.com
            Ooo, good point from Lady Christian...wool doesn t seem to have been nearly as popular as cotton for stuffing and batting, and for good reason: wool battings
            Message 5 of 18 , Feb 2, 2006
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              Ooo, good point from Lady Christian...wool doesn't seem to have been nearly
              as popular as cotton for stuffing and batting, and for good reason: wool
              battings tend to beard (have the fibers poke out through the cloth, which is
              annoying and scratchy; if you think de-pilling a sweater is bad, try shaving a
              quilt), stuffed work balls up and felts, and the quilts themselves tend to be sort
              of limp, especially if they're made of something like silk. For some reason
              Henry VIII was very fond of wool-stuffed linen quilts (he owned about three
              dozen, or roughly half his quilt stash), but that's the only reference to wool
              battings I've found so far.

              Sarah Davies (again)


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            • bex_1014
              ... nearly ... I just wanted to ask, when and where? We seem to be talking English Tudor times here, but what if you wanted a quilt from 14th C France?
              Message 6 of 18 , Feb 2, 2006
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                --- In Authentic_SCA@yahoogroups.com, kittencat3@... wrote:
                >
                > Ooo, good point from Lady Christian...wool doesn't seem to have been
                nearly
                > as popular as cotton for stuffing and batting, and for good reason:

                <snip>
                I just wanted to ask, when and where? We seem to be talking English
                Tudor times here, but what if you wanted a quilt from 14th C France? Or
                Normandy in 1066? Is there any evidence from earlier times? I thought
                that cotton-wool is progressively scarcer and more expensive the
                further back in time, and further from the Mediterranean, leading me to
                think that 14th C England, if it had quilts, would be more likely to
                have them padded with wool, unless you were very well off.
                curious,
                Rebecca
              • kittencat3@aol.com
                In a message dated 2/2/2006 8:51:48 PM Eastern Standard Time, tonkin.rebecca@saugov.sa.gov.au writes: I just wanted to ask, when and where? We seem to be
                Message 7 of 18 , Feb 2, 2006
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                  In a message dated 2/2/2006 8:51:48 PM Eastern Standard Time,
                  tonkin.rebecca@... writes:

                  I just wanted to ask, when and where? We seem to be talking English
                  Tudor times here, but what if you wanted a quilt from 14th C France? Or
                  Normandy in 1066? Is there any evidence from earlier times? I thought
                  that cotton-wool is progressively scarcer and more expensive the
                  further back in time, and further from the Mediterranean, leading me to
                  think that 14th C England, if it had quilts, would be more likely to
                  have them padded with wool, unless you were very well off.
                  14th century France - quilt would have been trapunto wholecloth of linen
                  stuffed with cotton. Rene of Anjou owned one, and there was a quilt in Italy
                  prior to WWII (it may not have survived) that featured the fleur-de-lis of Anjou
                  and/or France as a prominent design motif.

                  Norman times - probably not unless you somehow knew someone with connections
                  to a Silk Road caravan, and certainly not on a bed. There's a huge gap
                  between the one known Merovingian quilted piece (probably an import, 6-7th century)
                  and a 12th century reference to a quilt in a French lai.

                  Earlier times - there's a quilted tomb rug from Siberia that dates to the 1st
                  century of the Common Era. There's a great picture of it in Averil Colby's
                  book =Quilting.=

                  I haven't found any evidence for wool used in quilts as padding before the
                  time of Henry VIII; quilted armor was stuffed with cotton or linen because it
                  provided more protection than wool, for instance. Wool as the quilt top seems
                  to have originated in America in the 18th century in imitation of cotton and
                  silk wholecloths, and may have developed from the bed rugg, or heavy hooked
                  coverlet that was standard in the 17th and 18th centuries in New England.

                  English quilting - very little evidence for a homegrown tradition until just
                  after the SCA period, I'm afraid. Quilts were an expensive luxury item and
                  were imported, either from the Low Countries (linen and cotton "holland cloth"
                  quilts) or the Far East and India (silk wholecloths and Bengali cottons from
                  Goa).

                  Hope this helps....

                  Sarah Davies


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                • Eirene Tzimiskina Kontostephanina
                  ... were also ... flockes (raw ... though...what about ... Feathers *seem* to be likely. But so far I can t find anything that would indicate what was
                  Message 8 of 18 , Feb 3, 2006
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                    --- In Authentic_SCA@yahoogroups.com, kittencat3@... wrote:
                    >
                    > Quilts were by and large stuffed with cotton (although linen quilts
                    were also
                    > stuffed with wool in the 16th century), either rolled flat or
                    "flockes" (raw
                    > chunks, most likely in trapunto). Not sure about pillows,
                    though...what about
                    > feathers?
                    >

                    Feathers *seem* to be likely. But so far I can't find anything that
                    would indicate what was contained within any one pillow. I did find a
                    Renaissance inventory that listed a "feather bed and bolster" as if
                    they were a pair. It might be that the word "feather" described both
                    items. Or not.

                    I'm focusing on the 14th-15th centuries, btw.

                    Lijsbet
                  • Eirene Tzimiskina Kontostephanina
                    ... A bit *too* early I m afraid. ;-) Lijsbet
                    Message 9 of 18 , Feb 3, 2006
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                      --- In Authentic_SCA@yahoogroups.com, NINacide@... wrote:
                      >
                      > _http://www.catherineshinn.com/acatalog/antique_pillows.htm_
                      > (http://www.catherineshinn.com/acatalog/antique_pillows.htm)
                      >
                      > "The earliest Pillows were formed wrapped around leaves or straw"
                      >
                      > Mikhail
                      >

                      A bit *too* early I'm afraid. ;-)

                      Lijsbet
                    • Angharad ver' Reynulf
                      ... From: kittencat3@aol.com To: Authentic_SCA@yahoogroups.com Sent: Wednesday, February 01, 2006 2:59:38 PM Subject: Re: [Authentic_SCA] Pillow stuffing
                      Message 10 of 18 , Feb 3, 2006
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                        ----- Original Message ----
                        From: kittencat3@...
                        To: Authentic_SCA@yahoogroups.com
                        Sent: Wednesday, February 01, 2006 2:59:38 PM
                        Subject: Re: [Authentic_SCA] Pillow stuffing


                        Quilts were by and large stuffed with cotton (although linen quilts were also
                        stuffed with wool in the 16th century), either rolled flat or "flockes" (raw
                        chunks, most likely in trapunto). Not sure about pillows, though...what about
                        feathers?

                        Sarah Davies


                        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



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                      • Angharad ver' Reynulf
                        Apologies on the first message, my enter key was a bit touchy. I intended to ask what would be a relatively easy-to-find modern equivalent to the cotton used
                        Message 11 of 18 , Feb 3, 2006
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                          Apologies on the first message, my enter key was a bit touchy.

                          I intended to ask what would be a relatively easy-to-find modern equivalent to the cotton used to stuff the earlier medieval quilts.

                          Thank you,

                          Angharad ver' Reynulf
                        • Terri Morgan
                          let me begin by stating that late 16th century is not my period. But I am re-vamping my first (pathetic) attempt at trous and a jerkin (or maybe a doublet this
                          Message 12 of 18 , Feb 3, 2006
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                            let me begin by stating that late 16th century is not my period. But I am
                            re-vamping my first (pathetic) attempt at trous and a jerkin (or maybe a
                            doublet this time) for my husband so he won't be out of place at
                            Elizabethan-era events and demos. This, of course, led to a discussion about
                            what he would like (good Viking that he is) and what I would be willing to
                            make. And in the course of the discussion came a question not really
                            addressed by "Patterns of Fashion" or QEWU, so far as I could find.
                            Was it unusual for a man to have trous of one colour/fabric and a jerkin
                            or doublet of another? Paintings seem to indicate that both top and bottom
                            were matching yet what I've looked at could well be considered 'cursory'
                            compared to those of you who are of later-period personas. I'd like to make
                            two trous to every jerkin/doublet so he can work with no fear of having to
                            change his entire outfit...


                            Hrothny
                          • Eirene Tzimiskina Kontostephanina
                            ... equivalent to the cotton used to stuff the earlier medieval quilts. ... There is quite a bit of cotton batting on the market. Your local JoAnns should
                            Message 13 of 18 , Feb 3, 2006
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                              --- In Authentic_SCA@yahoogroups.com, Angharad ver' Reynulf
                              <dragonwolfcat@...> wrote:
                              >
                              > Apologies on the first message, my enter key was a bit touchy.
                              >
                              > I intended to ask what would be a relatively easy-to-find modern
                              equivalent to the cotton used to stuff the earlier medieval quilts.
                              >
                              > Thank you,
                              >
                              > Angharad ver' Reynulf
                              >

                              There is quite a bit of cotton batting on the market. Your local
                              JoAnns should carry it.

                              Lijsbet
                            • Eirene Tzimiskina Kontostephanina
                              ... ... I can t rule out feathers, but neither can I document their common use. The Paston inventories show that of thirteen pillows only two were
                              Message 14 of 18 , Feb 3, 2006
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                                --- In Authentic_SCA@yahoogroups.com, kittencat3@... wrote:
                                <snip>
                                > Not sure about pillows, though...what about
                                > feathers?
                                >

                                I can't rule out feathers, but neither can I document their common
                                use. The Paston inventories show that of thirteen pillows only two
                                were remarkable enough to list the contents, that being down. The rest
                                would seem to be common enough that a description of the contents
                                wasn't required.

                                Lijsbet
                              • kittencat3@aol.com
                                Two suggestions and a recommendation: For flocking, try either cotton cosmetic puffs or the soft outer layer of a roll of old-fashioned wound cotton. I ve
                                Message 15 of 18 , Feb 3, 2006
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                                  Two suggestions and a recommendation:

                                  For flocking, try either cotton cosmetic puffs or the soft outer layer of a
                                  roll of old-fashioned wound cotton. I've tried the latter and it does work,
                                  and a lady on the Medieval Quilting tried the former with excellent results.

                                  If you want to do flat quilting, use a Harriett Hargraves organic cotton
                                  batt. It's marvelous to work with, and can be found pretty easily in quilt shops
                                  and online.


                                  Sarah Davies


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