The Woman Who Made Quilting Cool

Ever have one of those weeks where it’s almost the end of the week and you have no idea how it got there so fast?

I’ve had one of those weeks.  My life is hectic right now.  It’s almost the holidays, my “real” business is crazy busy (not that I’m complaining at all…this is a good problem to have), and I have three projects that I’m in the middle of and want to get off my sewing table.

I’ve been so busy I have had no quality time with Loretta since last Friday.

I’ve been so busy that I didn’t have time to even think about today’s blog until about 7 a.m. this morning.

So in light of everything that has happened,  I decided that I would share some information about quilting that you may not know.  Do you know who really made quilting cool?

Janis Joplin.

Yup.  That’s right.  Janis Joplin.


In a letter dated August 22, 1965, a 22 year-old Janis Joplin wrote a letter to her fiancé, Peter de Blanc, from her parents’ home in Port Arthur, Texas.  In that letter she said, “Also of interest we’ve picked the pattern we’re going to use on the quilt.  It’s a huge 60” wide 8-pointed start that will shade from light blue at the center to dark blue on the outside.  It’s called – READY? – the Lone Star Quilt.  Too much, really.”

I’m my own humble opinion, Janis Joplin is the person who made quilting cool again.

So on this same topic,  did you know that:

According to the word “quilt” dates back to around 1250. The term in Middle English was “quilte,” based on old French word cuilte derived from the Latin word “culcita” for mattress.

Quilting can date back to 3400 BC. The oldest quilt still around today is The Tristan Quilt dated around 1360-1400.


World’s largest quilt is the AIDS Memorial quilt and weighs approximately 54 tons.


The first rotary cutter was invented in 1979 by Olfa for garment making, but soon quilters realized the wonderful  advantage to it.


2014 study showed that quilting in the United States is a $3.7 billion industry.

The same study showed that more than 21 million people quilt, predominantly women with an average age of 62.

In Canada there is one national quilt organization that was founded in 1981. The Canadian Quilters’ Association has 20,000 members and holds an annual conference each year that includes their National Juried Show.

The Dresden Plate quilt block was the most popular quilt block in the 1920’s and 30’s. Although when first published in the early 20’s, it had different names like Grandmother’s Sunburst, Dahlia and Sunflower.


The first spools for thread were invented in the 1820’s and used birch wood.

I’m not quite sure what you’re going to do with all this information, unless there is a game of Trivial Pursuit for Quilters floating around out there.  You could certainly work these facts into your next conversation at quilt guild and dazzle your fellow quilters with your vast array of knowledge.

I think it’s particularly poignant that the disease that ravaged this last generation is the protagonist of the world’s largest quilt.

There will be no blog next week, as next Thursday is Thanksgiving.  I hope to spend the day quietly with my husband, kids and grandkids.  I broke with tradition this year and have ordered my turkey dinner, so other than making a couple of pumpkin pies and a couple of other side dishes, I have no cooking or baking to do.

Have a blessed Thanksgiving!  Be thankful for the small blessings in life, because these are the ones that make each day a gift.

Love and Stitches,

Sherri and Sam




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