Quilts are an important part of our history. They have made our beds warmer using recycled cloth in bitter times. They have been used to pass secret messages to help slaves escape. Friendship quilts raised funds for the cause of freedom. The quilt is a practical form of art that helped build the country.
Quilting, as a process, uses a needle and thread to combine two or more layers of cloth or fabrics. This procedure could have only functional purpose, or it could be used for decoration and design. Quilting can be used to make placemats, coasters, padding for a knight's armor and, of course, quilts. Many people learn to quilt out of necessity and they continue quilting out of love.
Quilts are the number one product of quilting. The two are almost exchangeable in our minds. However, quilting is a process, while quilts are bed coverings. They are usually made up of three layers: a quilt top, a layer of batting, and a layer of material for backing. Quilting combines all these layers to produce an American tradition.
Another possible way to combine the layers is through tying. People only use this when a quilt must be made quickly and for a functional and not a decorative purpose. However, quilts made through tying are sometimes called a comforters in order to differentiate the two.
In many bitter and harsh times in our history, we created quilts because it was necessary. Nowadays, quilts and quilting is an art form. Gifted quilters are sometimes called fabric artists. Quilts and other quilted fabrics have become extremely popular and significant. Old quilted clothing and wall hangings are proudly shown in homes and museums. Handmade quilts sell for hundreds of dollars. Amish quilts are sought after, as well as vintage and antique quilts.
If, through a stroke of luck, you inherited or purchased a rare quilt, take proper care of it. This will preserve it and increase its value. Don't store quilts in plastic bags, cardboard boxes or wooden trunks. Air quilts for at least twice a year, but don't air them in direct sunlight. Avoid stressing the stitches in ancient quilts by airing them while they are flat. It is risky washing vintage fabric. Spot test the cloth first. If you must clean an old quilt using a machine, wash it in cold water with a mild detergent and a gentle cycle. Dry it on a flat surface. Speed the drying by using a fan.
If you aren't lucky enough to have an antique quilt as an heirloom, why don't you try beginning quilting? There are many ways to quilt. You can do it in the old way, through hand piecing, or by using machine piecing. It's a fun and practical hobby that may find use once again in these hard times.