Backing: The underside of a quilt.
Do you have quilts in your house? Choose one and describe it in words or in a picture. Then tell the story behind the quilt. Give lots of details—tell the who, what, where, when, why and how. If you don’t have a quilt, describe a quilt you could make that would tell a story from your life.
With Needle and Thread: A Book About Quilts
Quilts Can Be a Creative Teaching Tool has many classroom ideas for quilts from teachers across the country, including several Wisconsin teachers. This is part of the website for the PBS documentary, “A Century of Quilts,” produced by Wisconsin Public Television.
Whole Cloth is a website with three interdisciplinary units on “Discovering Science and Technology through American History,” i.e., the history of cloth.
Games for National Quilting Day gives teachers lots of ideas for active learning.
Two sets of resources, History in Quilts and Family and Friendship in Quilts, both from the National Endowment for the Humanities’ EDSITEment, provide lessons and extensive resources for exploring different types of quilts and their uses across cultures and times. A third EDSITEment resource, Stories in Quilts, focuses on the narrative elements of quilts.
Quilters’ S.O.S.—Save Our Stories is a national project that invites people from across the country to interview and record the stories of local quilters. To consider this as a project for your class, download their how-to manual.
The Wisconsin Quilt History Project has been documenting Wisconsin quilts since 1988. Read about their progress.
Quilting and decorative fabric traditions can be unique to particular cultural groups. Here are some good resources to explore:
Go to Quilts and Quiltmaking in America, 1978-1996 from the American Folklife Center, Library of Congress. Do a Keyword search for “Wisconsin” and you’ll find award-winning quilts from Wisconsin quilters from Freedom, Madison, Phillips, Racine and Waukesha.
Want to see quilts made by kids? Go to Quilts and Quiltmaking in America, 1978-1996 from the American Folklife Center, Library of Congress. Do a Keyword search for “Kids Quilt” to find nine award-winning quilts made by kids.
Is there a quilt shop in your town? There may be one even if it’s not listed on this site. Check your phone book!
Is the book Wisconsin Quilts: Stories in Stitches is in your library? It shows two centuries of Wisconsin quilts and tells their stories.
Want to see on-line exhibits of quilts? Go to these sites. Remember, you can usually click on the picture of the quilt to make it bigger.
Find out how quilt-making developed over time in the United States with this Timeline of Quilting History in America.
Explore symmetry in quilts with this fun activity on Shape and Space in Geometry from the Annenberg/CPB Math and Science Project.
Text written by Jamie Yuenger, edited by Anne Pryor.