My grandmother was a young wife, mother, and homemaker in the 1930's during the Great Depression. Families of that era were frugal in every aspect of their lives. They learned to "make do" in creative ways. A tufted, homemade quilt was an inexpensive, warm, and durable bed covering. It was also fairly easy and quick to make, compared to a traditional quilts.
These quilts were made of old coats and pants that my grandfather had worn out. Grandma would cut out post-card size patches of this material. When she had all the pieces trimmed and shaped, enough for a good sized bed cover, she would sew them together by machine. Her sewing machine was the old-time Singer treadle machine.
After sewing the patches together, grandma would take an old flannelette blanket and sew it to the back of the patchwork quilt. This was also done by machine. She may have stitched a border around it, too.
To hold the two layers together, Grandma selected matching yarn. With a large needle, she would pull a strip of yarn through each patch and knot it on the top side. This created the tufts.
These quilts may not have been glamorous, but they were warm. On winter nights, when there was only a fireplace to heat the house, people had to use every means they could to fend off the chill. The tufted quilt was an economical means to accomplish this.
Article Copyright 2003 Inez Haythorn All Rights Reserved
About the Author
Inez Haythorn is a Christian wife, mother, elementary school teacher, pianist, and freelance writer. Her main writing interests are Christian writing, and writing about lifestyles and memoirs of the past. Her goal is to glorify and honor God, and bless and help others.