Scrappy Batik Quilt Scrappy Batik Quilt Courtesy of Alex Anderson

What is a Quilt?

A Quilt is basically composed of a quilt top, a layer of batting or wadding and a quilt back. These layers are held together by stitching the 3 layers together, known as quilting. There are many styles of quilts that fall into categories such as Traditional, Contemporary, Abstract, Art, Modern, Photo Quilts, Fast and Easy.  The history of quilts, as a practical technique to provide insulation and protection, can found in ancient Egypt in the Temple of Osiris, as shown by detailed drawings. One of the earliest decorative quilts was from the 14th Century, the Tristan Quilt made in Sicily. Quilts, as we think of them now, function as a way to stay warm as well as an Artistic expression.

The Quilt Top can be anything from a Whole Cloth Quilt to an intricately pieced Millefiori or from a Baltimore Album Quilt to a Baby Quilt.  The top can be a traditional quilt pattern or an original work of art. The fabric used is generally quality cotton for quilting, however everthing from tulle to silk and wool appear in today's quilts. The choice is up to the quilter!  The Batting is generally cotton or cotton blend.  Today's quilters can choose a variety of fibers for their batting based on how the quilt will be used and the amount of quilting desired. Silk, wool, cotton, cotton blends, bamboo, Peltex and polyester are all options and come in a variety of finishes for flexibility, hand quilting, dense quilting, crafts, wall hangings and garments. Flannel can also be used in place of batting. The quilt back is usually fabric the same or similar to the Quilt Top and can be whole or pieced.  

The options for each layer of a quilt are endless which makes creating quilts appeal to a wide variety of Artists and Sewists.  History allows the definition of a quilt to wonder from Summer Quilts, made without batting as a decorative bed covering, to our current Baby Quilts with a Novelty Fabric on top and Minky on the back.

Benefits of a Quilt

  • A Quilt can be functional, used for warmth on a bed or while lounging, or decorative to simply bring color and design to a space either on the wall or on a couch.
  • Quilts are often made to celebrate life occasions such a marriage, birth of a child, or capture a special event or time.
  • Historically quilts have also been made to capture and celebrate social history; 54-40 or Fight, The Whig Rose and Log Cabin all represent events from US History.
  • Quilts are also made gifts or as artistic expression.
  • Quilts are made using a variety of techniques from Piecing to Applique and decorated with embellishements and mixed media.

Tools and Supplies for a Quilt

  • Basic Sewing Supplies- A Quilt can be made by hand or machine
  • Style of Quilt- have a general idea of the quilt you want to make.  Once you have a starting place, see if you make the quilt (like following a pattern) or the quilt makes you (use your stash and a design wall and get started...)
  • Quilting Techniques- You may choose to start with piecing a Rail Fence or using the stack of t-shirts for a T-Shirt Quilt or you may have a passion for painting. Pick one, take a class to get started and finish your first quilt.
  • Fabric, Thread, Templates, Scissors, Rotary Cutter and Mat will all be needed to start with and as you learn more techniques the list of Tools and Supplies will expand as needed.
What I wish I Knew When I Started a Quilt

I wish I knew how much I would love creating a QUILT for myself, my family and friends and the sheer joy of making them.

Quilt Resources