Getting Ready for the Edmonton Festival of Quilts

Part 12:  Invention of the sewing machine and the Saskatchewan block

While quilting today is not a labour of necessity it was in 1867, it remains a labour of love for many today. While the sewing machine appeared in the industrial textile plants around 1800 it was not until the 1850’s that a reliable home machine was on the market. Its thinktank_birmingham_-_object_1962s016171invention was revolutionary!!  It now made it faster to stitch more elaborate blocks and quilting motifs. Even today my  highly computerized machine has not changed the foundations of what traditional quilting inspires. Signature, memory or friendship quilts continue to be made for many of the same reasons as they were 150 years ago. Crazy quilts continue recycle something from nothing with elaborate stitches, textiles and various art media, recording lives and events. While the old symbols of nature, politics, religion, friendship and hardship found in the early pieced patterns may have lost their meaning, quilters today continue to use these patterns and celebrate, remember and reflect on the world around them in their work.

Saskatchewan quilt block


Along with Alberta, Saskatchewan were almost the last entries to Canada September 1st 1905. It was carved out of the North-West Territory that Canada had purchased earlier from the HBC. I was surprised to learn that the 1st post 1867 confederation navel battle appears to have occurred in this province. Certainly a place of surprises!

When it comes to Saskatchewan I think of a place of extremes … drought and over 100,000 lakes, bitter cold winters and hot summers. It is a place of  wide open spaces, endless skies with streaks of lightning and towering summer storms. But I also think of sunshine and gently waving fields of sunflowers.  Since southern Saskatchewan is the sunniest place in Canada and sunflower are the only oil seeds native to the Great Plains of North America I had to pick a “sunny” block.

Saskatchewan block design (Sunflower block)



Other options :

streak of lightning

streak of lightning video



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