My interest in women's needlework, and especially quilts, began with a course I team-taught several years ago on women's art and literature. Because those of us teaching the course were concerned to break down class and race barriers, and distinctions between "high" and "low" art, or crafts, as well as distinctions between art and work, we were especially interested in women's needlework, as a form of activity that is universal ? not confined to any one class or race ? and that has combined the practical with the esthetic or artistic. It has always been necessary for women to sew, and, wherever and whenever extra time and energy have allowed, sewing has become "esthetic," in the sense of giving expression to an artistic impulse, providing its practitioners with an outlet for their creativity.