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15-Sep-2016 14:08

A side note from The Patchwork Pilgrimage: "Further proof that ornamental patchwork is no newcomer to the church is provided by this fascinating pieced silk chasuble that is believed to have been made around 1540.During the Reformation, Roman Catholics were driven underground, and in England, persecution was given additional impetus by King Henry VIII's divorce from Catherine of Aragon in 1533, when he broke with Rome and forced his subjects to swear allegiance to himself as the head of the church.Cotton was not readily available - the cotton gin was not invented until 1793 - and so the majority of fabrics used in clothing were linens, wools and silks.What you might have seen prior to 1800 were quilted petticoats, worn for warmth.The maker was Elizabeth Belling Arundel, a member of one of the leading Catholic families of England, and the chasuble has remained in the possession of the Arundel family from that time.(Photograph by Jim Pascoe reproduced by kind permission of Lord Talbot of Malahide)." In colonial America, thread and needles were expensive.Quilts were almost always made of wool, unless they were remade from bed curtains or quilted petticoats.Recusant Catholic priests traveled to private houses to celebrate mass in peril of their lives, and many were forced to disguise themselves as peddlers, carrying their sacramental paraphernalia around in backpacks.

The chasuble was probably deliberately made in patchwork so that if a priest were challenged, it could pass as a bedcover.

For example, the clearly defined cross would probably have escaped detection when the garment was folded or rolled.

Quilts and quilt making are a reflection of the life and times of the women who made quilts.

Although the technique of quilting existed throughout history (quilted items have been discovered in Egyptian tombs, for example, and French knights used quilted jackets under their armor), quilts as we think of them didn't start showing up on the American scene until just prior to 1800.

I believe the earliest existing European quilts are a pair of whole cloth trapunto ones, telling the story of Tristan and Isolde dating from the early 1400's.

The chasuble was probably deliberately made in patchwork so that if a priest were challenged, it could pass as a bedcover.For example, the clearly defined cross would probably have escaped detection when the garment was folded or rolled.Quilts and quilt making are a reflection of the life and times of the women who made quilts.Although the technique of quilting existed throughout history (quilted items have been discovered in Egyptian tombs, for example, and French knights used quilted jackets under their armor), quilts as we think of them didn't start showing up on the American scene until just prior to 1800.I believe the earliest existing European quilts are a pair of whole cloth trapunto ones, telling the story of Tristan and Isolde dating from the early 1400's.The oldest quilts in the Smithsonian collection go back to about 1780.