Sunday, June 20, 2010

Whitework, Stuffed Work and Corded Quilting

Hearts & Flowers
Terri Doyle, Gilbert, Arizona

Machine quilter Terri Doyle won first place in the Whole Cloth Traditional category at the May Machine Quilters' Showcase in Kansas City for this whitework, wholecloth quilt. It's machine quilted, adapted from hand quilting patterns drawn by Elise Campbell.

The pictures are a little gray but the masterful quilting shows up.

Whitework is a traditional name for a style of needlework that sometimes features what we call trapunto quilting. Trapunto seems to be a 20th-century name for what historians call stuffed work or corded quilting. I don't think Terri adds stuffing to the motifs. She contrasts dense filler quilting with the unquilted design areas to create the pattern.

Here's a small whitework piece from the early 19th century that's stuffed and corded but not quilted.

The International Quilt Study Center and Museum in Lincoln, Nebraska is planning an exhibit and a symposium on the topic of whitework. The show Marseille: White Corded Quilting will be up from November 13 through May 8, 2011. The symposium Quilted and Corded Whitework: A Closer Look will be on April 1, 2011.

Speakers will include experts Linda Baumgarten, curator of textiles at Colonial Williamsburg and Kathryn Berenson, author of the Quilts of Provence and a new book on French whitework. 
Click here for more information:
Click here to see one of the French whitework quilts from IQSC's Berenson collection.


  1. I saw some beautiful stuffed and corded pieces at Wintertur in Delaware two years ago. They also had no quilting. Some of them were actually on beds in the period rooms and you could bend down and see the backs!

  2. How can it be stuffed and corded with no quilting? Wouldn't quilting be needed to hold the cording and stuffing in place? Could you please clarify?

    Thank you for the information on the show in Lincoln. My husband goes out that way for work trips from time to time. I think I will have to join him and stop in at the museum.

  3. I should have said: It's stuffed and corded but there is no back ground quilting. The only quilting is around the stuffed word and cording. It has no batting.

  4. stuffed WORK. Don't you wish these comments had spell check.

  5. Beautiful quilt! The unquilted areas are beautifully emphasised by the dense background quilting ..... that's what I love most about quilting!

    Sorry, sounds like you overheard what I have said on several occasions while trying to leave a comment! Not just here but elsewhere too.

    Judy B

  6. Thanks for sharing the information. I love whitework and handquilting! I am making plans to go to this!! Exciting!! Thanks!