41" x 30"
1970: First show held for the National Quilting Association. First full year of production for Quilter’s Newsletter [later to be called Quilter’s Newsletter magazine]. Heavy cottons and polyester blends in paisleys, wild prints, and bright colors abound. Suitable quilting fabrics throughout most of the ‘70s are limited to a few solid colors and tiny calico ﬂoral prints.
1971: Abstract Design in American Quilts, an exhibit of antique and vintage quilts opens at the Whitney Museum in NYC, and the art and editorial worlds take notice. An Amish Bars quilt is a favorite in the exhibit.
1972: Hudson River Quilt is auctioned to beneﬁt the environment for $23,100, showing the public that newly-made quilts also have value.
1976: America’s Bicentennial: Leading up to it, women get together to make commemorative and traditional quilts, beginning the third revival of quilting in America; commemorative fabrics abound. The Bicentennial Finger Lakes Quilt Exhibit in Ithaca, NY, sets the trend for symposiums and major quilt shows.
1977: Vermont (the “Green Mountain State,” see border) Quilt Festival ﬁrst held; Marti Michell’s ﬂip-and-stitch log cabin quilts convinced readers of Woman’s Day magazine that quiltmaking could be quick, and other time-saving methods gain rapid popularity from here on.
Throughout the 1970s: The traditional block, like the Evening Star, is king. Hand- quilting skills are much admired and sought after.
1979: The OLFA rotary cutter ﬁrst appears in the U.S. International Quilt Market-the only trade show for the quilting industry, ﬁrst takes place in Houston TX. The ﬁrst Quilt National takes place in Athens, Ohio, giving art quilts a forum.
1980: Marks a decade where how-to books become available and most quilters start a reference library for themselves. The American Quilt Study Group (AQSG) is founded. The Concord/Fairﬁeld Processing Fashion Show present the ﬁrst major invitational fashion show of quilted garments at the second Quilt Market.
1981: The First designer fabric collection appears—by Jinny Beyer, for VIP Fabrics.
Throughout the 1980s, there is an explosion of fabrics for quilters; earth tones and calicoes predominate early on, softer, subtler, muted color palettes gain in popularity later in the decade.
Early 1980s: Seems as if everyone is making sampler quilts!
1984: The American Quilter’s Society (AQS) is founded. By the mid-1980s, a majority of quilters are seemingly members of guilds or groups 1985: The AQS Show and Contest debut in Paducah KY. 1986: Fully electronic sewing machines made their debut.
1987: AIDS Memorial Quilt is ﬁrst displayed, on the Mall in Washington, D.C.
Mid-’80s: The iron becomes more and more essential as paper-backed fusible web makes machine appliqu (with machine satin stitching along the raw edges) popular, and freezer paper is adopted for appliqué.
1989: Corona II: Solar Eclipse, a machine quilted piece, wins Best of Show at the AQS Show; thereafter, machine quilting gains rapidly in popularity and use, even for quilts made for competitions.
Beginning in the 1990s: Baltimore Album style brings a love of tradition, embroidery, and embellishment to the forefront of quilting. Fabrics soar in quality, richness of pattern, and design, quantity, availability. Repro fabrics and hand-dyed fabrics are coveted. Foundation piecing is hot, making complex patterns like Empire Beauty much more do-able. Continuous-line quilting patterns have great appeal for machine quilting, but meander stitch patterns are most likely to be used.
Mid-’90s: Nature prints, batiks, border stripes, and designer prints explode. Scrap quilts help to use up the diverse bounty of fabrics in quilters’ stashes. The folk-art look captures quilters’ hearts, with simple designs, humble homespun, yo-yos and buttons, and buttonhole stitch appliqu.
Late 1990s: Decorative threads, decorative machine stitches, and free-motion quilting take their places as major design elements. A substantial percentage of quilters are sending some of their work out to be professionally quilted on a longarm machine, leaving them time to make many more quilts than before.
2000: More than half of US households, and 76% of dedicated quilters own computers, and most are sharing and networking on line, via email and chat sites just for quilters. Some are also logging on to get information and shop for quilt products, or designing quilts using computer software. Millennium fabrics commemorate the era, establish the date in thousands of quilts, and spark quilt challenges.
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