by Sara Morgan for Blue Hill Fabrics
Although the 1930s was the era of the Great Depression, women's magazines were full of optimism. Cheery fabrics and colors could be found on new quilt patterns in an attempt to keep creativity alive as homemakers struggled to sew practical items for their families Although quilters were still interested in creating quilts that reminded them of their heritage, they wanted them in happy pastels and lighter colors.
Newspapers also picked up on the surge in quilting and began to feature quilt patterns, as did catalog companies. At the Chicago World's Fair in 1933, Sears included an exhibit of the winning quilts from their national competition, which had reached women all around the country and netted a response of 24,000 entries.
Still, with the economic hardships of the time, women found more and more creative ways to make something from nothing. “String quilting” became popular:sewing strips of fabric of varying widths together using old newpaper as a base - very similar to the paper piecing method we still use today.