Quilts sewn in generations past represent much more than proof that those generations liked to keep warm, or knew how to sew. The quilts exhibited in museums, like the National Quilt Register of the Pioneer Women’s Hut, are visual and tangible reminders of the different themes of the life rural women experienced. While many quilts were used by the woman’s family, others represented a sense of enterprise, as they were sold to other families for additional income to support the quiltmaker’s family.
Quilts may have been made in a variety of styles – from those made from Aboriginal skin cloaks, to earlier patchwork quilts which may have been made from old clothes or tailors’ fabric samples. On wholecloth quilts, quilting was the entire point, and these works of art exhibit intricate embroidery that may be as idyllic as flowers and local fauna and as thought provoking as a visual story telling of family histories, or even the family’s agricultural occupation.
Most of the quilts displayed in museums and galleries were the pride of their makers, and were counted among their families’ prized possessions. Seeing them will give you a new understanding and appreciation for the lifestyle that these women experienced during their lifetimes.