Patches From the Past
Scraps of Fabric, Sewing & Quilting History

Meet the Writer ~ A Dream Fulfilled

This is my little spot to introduce myself. I am a wife and mother and grandmother. Over the last few years I have developed the site "Womenfolk: Of Creativity, Inspiration and Quilting" as well as this site.

I came to quilting late. Although I majored in Home Economics and sewed clothing for my young family, once I started teaching full time my sewing years came to an end. How I envied my quilting friends and yearned for the day when I could quilt too. In the fall of 1996 I retired from teaching and took a quilt workshop on making a little wall hanging. I was hooked by the end of that day! My dream of quilting had at last come true. That winter I took an eight-week class on making a sampler quilt. It was quite demanding but what a joy it was for me to go home each week with 2 or 3 new blocks to make. I loved the planning of a quilt; it sparked my creativity. When I sat piecing at my machine I found it to be a relaxed rhythmic time for musing. So far I have made over two-dozen quilts and wall hangings and Iím still quilting. You will find pictures of them at my website "Comfort of Quilts".

My love of making quilts gave birth to another project. I became curious about the history of quilting and started to search the Internet for information. At that time online information was quite limited so I began collecting books on quilt history. Soon I realized there was a lot more to the history of quilting than patterns and techniques. My studies opened up a fascinating world of how these quilters lived. I discovered that life was fragile when children could easily die of diseases, husbands were killed in war and women didnít always survive childbirth. I learned of these womenís hope and dreams, their friendships, and their sense of accomplishment with the quilts they made. To share my new knowledge I've built three websites, America's Quilting History, Quilt Patterns From History and Patches From the Past. She also has a blog on everyday life in history at Among the Usual Days.

I welcome you to come with me on this journey as we explore the history of quilting and the women who created so many quilts over the years.

© 2002 Judy Anne Johnson Breneman (Do not reproduce this article without permission from the author.)


Eager hands caress
resonant textures of cloth;
stitching colors, prints, shapes Ö
Material of dreams.

These yearning fingers
weave the fabric of reality
rendered by this palette
of paisley, calico, chintz...

Emerald, sage, verdure...
become grasses and trees
as magenta, carmine, mauve...
blossom into flowers.

Indigo, cerulean, perse...
flow into sky and waters
while mahogany, umber, dunÖ
rise into mountains.

Time stands still _
or does it flow?
as threads metamorphose.

© 1997 Judy Anne