Getting Ready for the Festival of Quilts

Part 4 : Politics and Textiles – Challenges for Stitchers , British Columbia block

Today I take it for granted where and what type of fabrics I use in a quilt. From the comfort of my home I can order what I want from anywhere in the world. I might have to pay customs charges but nothing is  illegal. That has not always been the case!

In 1700 the import of printed Indian, Persian and Chinese dyed and printed calico cotton ( was banned in England and by extension in the fledgling British Colonies of North America, in an effort to protect British woollen industry from competition. This of course made it a hot commodity to add to quilts. The scarcity was not the only reason for the demand. Calico cloth was the most durable textile at the time. To make matters more challenging, in 1712 a heavy tax was also placed on printed fabric made in England. This was followed by an outright ban in 1720, for non-union made cloth. The ban is finally lifted in 1774 as government realized they could not stifle the demand for printed calico cloth. However, heavy taxes were still imposed till 1831. Therefore it should not be surprising that this durable cloth would see a second life as scraps in quilts.

British Columbia block 

Since this blog is about British influence I decided my next block project would be British Columbia. Oceans, mountains, watching the sun dip down in the ocean,  cathedral like trees, salmon runs, spirit bears, fruit, wine, wild rivers make it such a difficult place to choose an image that is of special reminder to me of this place.

In the end I decided to pick the evergreen tree. When I was a child I remember big oak and chestnut trees in Ontario but nothing compares to the cedars and fir trees that seem to reach to the heavens. The old growth forests are a place of mystery and represent some of the largest and oldest life Canada.


British Columbia Block (Pine Tree)

Other ideas:

Little Cedar Tree

Buzz Saw

Spirit Bear – Bear Tracks

Rocky Mountain Puzzle



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