Monday, October 2, 2017

The stuff of legends, part 10: why make things up about quilts?

Do myths come from a lack of education?
Or are we really just avoiding the truth?
Why do people make up so many stories about quilts? Some experts say it is that quilts are so intriguing, there must be more to them. Others say it is due to a general lack of education in quilt history, a relatively new field. Both explanations seem plausible, but maybe there is another. Maybe it has something to do with topics we avoid in polite conversation. People's made-up stories about quilts -- the stuff of legends!

During the month of September, I celebrated back-to-school by posting this series of blogs about legends, myths, romantism and hoaxes in quilt history. It was gratifying to exchange messages with readers who already knew about the debunking of these tall tales. At the same time, it was sad to discover how many people did not know, and how willing they were to dismiss historical facts in favor of what they wanted to be true. I guess we need a little more time to spread the word.

"...people have sex on quilts!"

The other day I attended a quilt show and was chatting with a friend on my way out. During the conversation, something dawned on me.

"You know why people make up so many stories about quilts?" I asked, and she shrugged. "It's because people have sex on quilts!" She laughed. "No, seriously! People make things up to avoid talking about the real stories."

Obviously, the real stories behind the quilts are not always the stories we can tell. Myths about quilts do come from a lack of education, the desire to know the unknown-- but there is also the element of avoiding the truth. If you think about what really happens with quilts, perhaps it explains why some folks are happier embracing the myths.

Thank you to all the readers, especially those who commented and exchanged information about the stuff of legends during the month of September. I hope it was a productive and informative back-to-school month. 


  1. I have really enjoyed these posts about quilt myths. Needless to say, seeing images of beautiful quilts is always wonderful. I love how creative quilters have always been and how the tradition continues

  2. I nearly spewed my coffee. Quilts are connected to humans in a number of very intimate ways, which is why the fiction is easier to talk about. It is safer for many people, but this intimate connection is also a huge part of the desire to have own and/or make quilts. Thank you for a great series of articles.

  3. This has been a fabulous series of posts Bill. Thank you for preparing, researching and sharing with us.