Quilts are rectangular pieces of fabric made by sewing two layers of cloth together with an insulating batting in between, and used primarily for bedding. The technique of sewing these pieces together is called quilting. Although it is thought to have started in the Crusades when soldiers used this particular kind of padding for protecting their body from the rubbing of their heavy armour, it soon became common for the soldiers to use these quilts for warmth on cold nights. Either way, the origin was utilitarian and this is what distinguishes it from other needlework. Other sources claim that quilting became popular in Egypt for protection on chilly desert evenings, and ancient sculpture seem to show figures wearing what appears to be quilted garments.
Although traditionally used for a bed covering, quilts can also be works of art. These quilts can become quite elaborate with complex designs, repeating patterns, decorative stitches, and a wide range of fabrics (anything from velour to wool). Judged for their aesthetic and artistic qualities, these decorative works are usually displayed by being hung on a wall. The Amish are known for their quilts that are not only artistic in design but also document their spiritual traditions.
Many quilts have become famous for their social history. Among the most famous is the AIDS Memorial Quilt, started in San Francisco in 1987. This quilt has toured the country as both an artistic and historical work of art. The Museum of the American Quilter's Society (also known as the National Quilt Museum) houses a large collection of unique quilts, most of which are winning entries in the yearly national quilt competition. Other historic and contemporary collections are also displayed there. Many historic quilts are also shown at the American Museum in Bath.
Quilting remain as popular today as in the Crusades and many homes boast quilts handed down from generation to generation. We have a passion for quilts and we've searched the web to find you the best resources. You'll find some great free quilting patterns for creating your very own quilts, and fabric stores for shopping online from the comfort of your home, and for quilters just starting out, easy quilt patterns for beginners, and tons more!