Quilts have been a staple in the home for centuries. Quilts are the beautiful gifts our grandmothers gave us as children. They are the warmth of the fire on a cold winter’s night. They are the love of our families when we are far from home and lost. A quilt is more than just a blanket made of many cloths. Quilts have come to represent more than just a simple pattern. Quilting is a practice and an art that has the unique ability of telling a story and bringing a family together. Quilting is a communal event, and an incredible gift that can be given to a community.
Formally speaking, a quilt is a type of blanket that is created through three layers of fabric. This includes a woven cloth as the top layer, a layer of batting or some kind of filler material, followed by a woven back. The process of creating this type of blanket is known simply as quilting. This process and product is different from other kinds of blankets as it specifically refers to the technique of joining many pieces of fabric together in order to create this blanket. The focus of the quilt, and the reason why quilting has such a great tradition and following, is because of the decorative and artistic focus of this outer layer. The decorative top layer can be created in a number of different ways. When using just one piece of material, the quilt is termed a “wholecloth quilt” and the single material may either be pieced into many sections or laid out as the whole cloth. The patchwork quilt style is particularly popular and tends to be created from a series of blocks arranged in some kind of order and bordering by fabric strips called “sashing.” Calico was often used to make quilts early on, as was a cheaper material known as Muslin.
When the tradition of making one’s own clothes was a more commonplace tradition than it is today, the creation of quilts was a huge endeavor, although not quite in the same way it is today. Today, quilts are almost an art piece more than a necessity. The creation of quilts in some regions is limited to those who take it up as a craft and a pastime rather than out of necessity. However, the tradition of story telling and the power and love passed on through quilt making can still be passed along. Whether you buy your quilt in a quilt shop or you hope to make a quilt on your own, you can still be a part of the great quilting tradition. Be it a search for quilting supplies or a quest for fabric, quilting stores can be a great help to those looking to get into the quilting world. Today there are many stores that sell fabric and other supplies and teach people how to make quilts. The tradition, though slightly different today, lives on. Quilt making will always be a great form of art and a great form for recording human life and love.
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