History of Quilts

Quilts have a long history in many worldwide cultures. Jolanda has been intrigued by old quilts since she lived and studied in England. She has taken that passion and interest with her to Germany and spends a lot of her free time dedicated to researching and learning about ancient quilt traditions in German cultures.


The oldest patchwork known in Germany comes from the very first century. The craft evolves via it's many faces as warrior jackets and wall hangings to an art form of woolen inlay quilts made by tailors and army tailors in the 18th Century. Women, mothers and needle women, focussed more on a quilt form that was closely related to modern trapunto, pique embroidery. Long before the very first sewing machine were available for the household market, developed the men and women in Germany a stitch technique that was so fine, that today it is hard to tell the difference between hand made and machine made. Eventually the pique embroidery became so intricate that it evolved into whitework embroidery.


Germans who moved to America in the nineteenth century developed their own unique work style into quilt styles that are today known as American quilt styles, such as Baltimore and Pennsylvania Quilts. It was also Germans who set the modern day standard for the number of quilting stitches per inch, i.e. 22 stitches per inch. When you consider that this standard was placed on hand work, it gives you an idea how accomplished the German quilters were.


Quilting and patchwork traditions were also integrated in German folklore costumes. About this rather interesting and innovative use of traditional techniques is only little known. At Home of Jolanda a lot of the research into Germany's quilting history is focussed on these traditions. Until now Jolanda and her team have uncovered 17 different names in old German for patchwork and quilts. Evidence that the techniques were part of the Germanic culture long before President Lincoln changed the perception of patchwork in 1845 and long before Jonathan Hollstein took his collection of old quilts through America and Europe in the seventies.