Timeline Quilt – January/February 2006

Timeline, 40½” x 30″, 2003 by Eleanor Levie.
While working on her book, American Quiltmaking 1970-2000, Eleanor Levie was inspired to make a quilt highlighting key events in quilt history during those thirty years. If you have been quilting a long time, you’ll especially enjoy this trips down memory lane.s
As Eleanor created her timeline quilt, she chose fabrics authentic to each time period along the way. The path running through the quilt is edged with ricktrack.
1970:The only 100% cotton fabrics available were a few solid colors and tiny calico prints.
1971:Abstract Design in American Quilts, the first ever exhibit of vintage quilts in a formal art setting, opened in New York City’s Whitney Museum. the exhibit treated quilts as art objects for the first time.
1972:The Hudson River Quilt auctioned to benefit the Hudson River cleanup, fetched $23,100, showing the public that newly-made quilts had value too.
1976:The Bicentennial reconnected American women with their heritage as many discovered a love of quilting.
1977:The Vermont Quilt Festival was held for the first time. Time saving methods, including strip piecing, gained popularity.
1979:The OLFA® rotary cutter appeared in the US. Quilt Market in Houston and Quilt National in Athens, Ohio, debuted.
1980-90:How-to books became available. The Concord/Fairfield Fashion Show premired.
1981:Jinny Beyer’s first licensed line of fabrics for VIP was launched. An explosion of fabrics for quilters ensued. Sampler quilts were the must-do projects of the day.
1984:The American Quilter’s Society (AQS) was founded in Paducah, Kentucky, with its first show and quilt contest planned for 1985. Across America, quilters by the thousands joined local guilds and small groups.
1986:The first fully electronic sewing machines premired.
1987:The AIDS Memorial Quilt was first displayed on the Mall in Washington, DC.
Mid-1980s:The iron became essential equipment as paper-backed fusible web became a popular element in machine appliqué techniques.
1989:Caryl Bryer Fallert’s machine quilted Corona II: Solar Eclipse, won the top award ($10,000) at the AQS Show, paving the way for machine quilting’s increased popularity.
In the 1990s:The discovery by quilters of Baltimore Album quilts brought about a revival of tradition, embroidery, and embellishment. Cotton fabric availability soared in quality and quantity. Historical reproductions and hand-dyes became available. Foundation piecing and continuous-line machine quilting were hot, hot, hot.
Mid-1990s:Quilt shops offered nature prints, batiks, border stripes, and lots of designer prints. The folk art look included simple designs, and buttonhole-stitch appliqué.
Late 1990s:Decorative threads, machine stitching, and free-motion quilting took their places as major design elements. Some 40% of quilters sent quilt tops out for professional longarm machine quilting, leaving them time to make more quilt tops than ever before.
2000:More than half of US households and over 75% of avid quilters owned and used computers for networking, shopping, and designing quilts. Millennium fabrics commemorated the ers. Quiltmaking entered the 21st century as a thriving cultural phenomenon!

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