Ana L. Avendano is an attorney in the Washington D.C. area. When not in the office, Ana enjoys exploring stress-relieving, time-honored hobbies like embroidery and quilting. In the following article, Ana Avendano discusses how the craft of quilting can be utilized in community service.
Sometimes, the best way to perform charitable acts of kindness is to apply one’s talents to creating products and gifts that improve the lives of others. In this case, quilting is an excellent medium to explore.
Ana L. Avendano explains below the practice’s history, some of the common techniques, its surprising benefits, and its value as an inspiring community service activity.
Quilting: A Brief History
Quilting is a sewing technique in which two layers of fabric (choices include wool, polyester, cotton, and flannel) are joined together with multiple rows of stitching. Quilts often contain padding made of down, wool, or polyester fibers.
Ana L. Avendano says that the earliest quilts first appeared during the Crusades when it was discovered that the Turks wore multiple layers of quilted material beneath their steel. This approach provided warmth and protection in northern Europe, where the weather is typically harsh during the winter. Tailors and seamstresses quickly expanded it to bedcovers and other clothing items.
Ana L. Avendano explains that the golden age of quilting in America occurred in the 1840s when the Baltimore Album style emerged. These quilts were made of intricately appliquéd floral and other figures, with each block featuring a different pattern. Throughout the nineteenth century, multi-block floral embroidery remained the most popular quilting technique.
Nowadays, Ana Avendano, attorney says that quilting is flourishing in Japan, Great Britain, France, and Australia. It also continues to hold significance as a cultural practice and folk art form in North America.
There are many different kinds of techniques employed by quilting enthusiasts worldwide. Ana Avendano, attorney provides the list below of some of the more commonly employed techniques:
- Hand Quilting. The practice of hand quilting entails stitching the layers of a quilt together using a needle and thread, in which the quilter will use a hoop or frame to keep the layers together. Practitioners can create either straight or ornate designs, and their talent levels influence the size, length, and intricacy of the stitches.
- Free Motion Quilting. When free motion quilting, a sewing machine is used without the feeding dogs to quilt the different layers. The speed of the machine and the quilter’s hand motions dictate the stitching. Stencils, a drawn line, or improvisation can all be used to create the various designs on the quilt.
- Walking Foot Quilting. Ana L. Avendano says that the walking foot quilting is a one-of-a-kind method executed with the help of a sewing machine. Walking foot quilting involves stitching all of the layers of a quilt together in a way that accentuates the form of the quilt, which may be done to make the shape appear more three-dimensional.
The Surprising Benefits of Quilt-Making
Quilting has many benefits, with stress relief being one of the foremost ones experienced by quilters explains Ana L. Avendano. Getting together to quilt also entails a degree of socialization between like-minded individuals. Whether joining pieces of fabric to shield themselves or others through charitable donations, quilting inspires a sense of accomplishment once the pieces get completed.
In terms of assisting brainpower, quilting can bolster one’s knowledge base. Ana L. Avendano explains that some complex designs and patterns may require mathematical thinking to be completed, and some present great problem-solving challenges for those who like facing one.
Quilting as a Community Service Activity
As they have since the times of the Crusades, quilts remain a popular option used by people from all social classes to protect themselves from the harsh winter elements. Quilts can be the difference between experiencing a raw, freezing winter and being somewhat protected from rain, snow, and hail for those most in need.
It’s a time-honored tradition for groups of friendly fabric artists to create elaborate quilts for the needy, as well as to raise money for charitable causes. These are spaces in which their artistic flair can truly shine and create pieces that represent their families, neighborhoods, or entire communities. The Quilters of Alachua County Day Guild in Gainesville, FL, are a brilliant example of these elements truly flourishing in unison reports Ana L. Avendano.
Quilts aren’t the only pieces that can be created by quilters; tote bags, dolls, and pillowcases can also be donated to hospital patients who are more than excited to receive hand-sewn fabrics with intricate designs.
Every day, people explore new ways to find tasks they enjoy doing that also happen to make the lives of others better. Quilting is an excellent choice for those who want to do some good while exercising their hands and minds. It has a long history in the United States as a way for humanitarians to come together and celebrate folk art while lifting up their communities.