Heritage Village, Vineland, Ontario

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sewing.MACHINESewing Room

Space reserved for activities in the sewing room.

Quilting Bees

Heritage Village is an ideal place to practice your passion of quilting. There are several quilting stores nearby, two of which have featured among  top 10 in lists for North America.quilt3

Here is where the craft began in Upper Canada with arrival of the Mennonites in 1786. Young girls learned their needlework and were expected to complete several quilts by marriageable age.  The earliest patchwork quilts were initially a pioneer necessity, but dyemaking skills learned from the Iroquois soon led to handmade family heirlooms, with motifs of hearts, birds and biblical phrases.

The Mennonites to this day have kept the tradition alive through their Mennonite Relief Sale.  Kitchener-Waterloo is considered the "Quilting Capital of Canada" with women producing some 250 quilts annually by hand.  To join their rank, you need the minimum skill of 8 or more stitches per inch.  A quality quilt fetches up to $3,000 and are collectors' items.

Every community in the 19th Century had quilting bees.  During war years and recessions, quilting bees were charitable efforts contributing to relief supplies and the comfort of soldiers on the front.  This skill died out with proliferation of sewing machines and factory-made products. Niagara.winner

 A revival as an art form was triggered in 1971 by the travelling exhibit of antique American quilts via the Whitney Museum of American Art.  The Niagara Quilters' Guild formed in 1980 and now has over 200 members, meeting at the Merritton Community Centre in St. Catherines.

Most modern quilts are now machine-made and the flood of copycat Chinese  products has confused the public, except collectors who stick to traditional hand sewn craftsmanship. 

Further Reading

Niagara Heritage Quilters' Guild

St. Jacobs Mennonite Quilts, Jordan

Gone to Pieces Quilt Shop, St. Catharines:
The Patchwork Porch, Niagara Falls:
The Quilting Bee, Fonthill:


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