This quilting information is from Wikipedia and is repeated here for the convenience of our visitors.

Quilting is a sewing method done to join two or more layers of material together to make a thicker padded material. A quilter is the name given to someone who works at quilting. The process of quilting uses a needle and thread to join two or more layers of material together to make a quilt. Typical quilting is done with three layers: the top fabric or quilt top, batting or insulating material and backing material. The quilter's hand or sewing machine passes the needle and thread through all layers and then brings the needle back up. The process is repeated across the entire piece where quilting is wanted. A rocking, straight or running stitch is commonly used and these stitches can be purely functional or decorative and elaborate. Quilting is done on bed spreads, art quilt wall hangings, clothing, and a variety of textile products. Quilting can make a project thick, or with dense quilting, can raise one area so that another stands out. Quilting can be done by hand, by sewing machine, or by a specialist longarm (or long arm) quilting system.


Early functional quilting

The word quilt is derived from the Latin culcita, meaning a padded and tied mattress. Quilting originated for its utility, as the technique produced a thicker padded fabric either for warmth or for protection. The first evidence of quilting is found in Asia sometime before the first century C.E. A quilted linen carpet dating from that time was found in a Siberian cave tomb. The central motifs (primarily animals, with abstract spirals on the borders) are worked in the backstitch, while the background is diamond quilted in a coarse running stitch.

Ancient Egyptian sculptures show figures which appear to be wearing quilted clothing, possibly for warmth in the chilly desert evenings. Quilting has been part of the needlework tradition in Europe from about the 5th century C.E. Early objects contain Egyptian cotton, which may indicate that Egyptian and Mediterranean trade provided a conduit for the technique.

Quilted objects are relatively rare in Europe until approximately the 12th century, when quilted bedding and other items appeared after the return of the Crusaders from the Middle East. The medieval quilted gambeson, aketon and arming doublet[1] were garments worn under, or instead of, armor of maille or plate armor. These developed into the later quilted doublet worn as part of fashionable European male clothing from the fourteenth to seventeenth century. Quilting clothing began to be generally used in the 14th century, with quilted doublets and armor worn in France, Germany, and England and quilted tunics in Italy.

Women of Gee's Bend, Alabama quilting, 2005.

American quilts

In American Colonial times, most women were busy spinning, weaving, and making clothing. Meanwhile, women of the wealthier classes prided themselves on their fine quilting of wholecloth quilts with fine needlework. Quilts made during the early 1800s were not constructed of pieced blocks but were instead whole cloth quilts. Broderie perse quilts and medallion quilts were made. Some antique quilts made in North America have worn-out blankets or older quilts as the internal batting layer, quilted between new layers of fabric and thereby extending the usefulness of old material.

During American pioneer days, "paper" quilting became popular. Paper was used as a pattern and each individual piece of cut fabric was basted around the paper pattern. Paper was a scarce commodity in the early American west, and women would save letters from home, newspaper clippings, and catalogs to use as patterns. The paper not only served as a pattern but as an insulator. The paper found between the old quilts has become a primary source of information about pioneer life. Quilts made without any insulation or batting were referred to as summer quilts. They were not made for warmth, only to keep the chill off on cooler summer evenings.

African-American quilts

African-American women developed a distinctive style of quilting, notably different from the style most strongly associated with the Amish. Harriet Powers, a slave-born African American woman, made two famous story quilts. She was just one of the many African American quilters who contributed to the evolution of quilting. The Gee's Bend quilting community was celebrated in an exhibition that travelled to museums including the Smithsonian.[2] The contributions made by her and other quilters of Gee's Bend, Alabama has been recognized by the US Postal Service with a series of stamps.[3] The communal nature of the quilting process (and how it can bring together women of varied races and backgrounds) was honored in the movie How to Make an American Quilt.

Art quilting

During the late 20th century, art quilts became popular for their aesthetic and artistic qualities rather than for functionality (they are displayed on a wall or table rather than spread on a bed).

Types and equipment

Many types of quilting exist today. The two most widely used are hand-quilting and machine quilting.

Hand Quilting is the process of using a needle and thread to sew a running stitch by hand across the entire area to be quilted. This binds the layers together. A quilting frame or hoop is often used to assist in holding the piece being quilted off the quilter's lap. A quilter can make one running stitch at a time; this is called a stab stitch.[4] Another option is called a rocking stitch, where the quilter has one hand, usually with a finger wearing a thimble, on top of the quilt, while the other hand is located beneath the piece to push the needle back up. The third option is called "loading the needle" and involves doing four or more stitches before pulling the needle through the cloth. Hand quilting is still practiced by the Amish within the United States, and is enjoying a resurgence worldwide.

Machine Quilting is the process of using a home sewing machine or a Longarm machine to sew the layers together. With the home sewing machine, the layers are tacked together before quilting. This involves laying the top, batting, and backing out on a flat surface and either pinning (using large safety pins) or tacking the layers together. Longarm Quilting involves placing the layers to be quilted on a special frame. The frame has bars on which the layers are rolled, keeping these together without the need for basting or pinning. These frames are used with a professional sewing machine mounted on a platform. The platform rides along tracks so that the machine can be moved across the layers on the frame. A Longarm machine is moved across the fabric. In contrast, the fabric is moved through a home sewing machine.

Tying is another technique of fastening the three layers together (and is not a form of quilting at all). This is done primarily on quilts that are made to be used and are needed quickly. The process of tying [5] the quilt is done with yarns or multiple strands of thread. Square knots are used to finish off the ties so that the quilt may be washed and used without fear of the knots coming undone. This technique is commonly called "tacking". In the mid-west, tacked bed covers are referred to as comforters.

Quilting is now taught at schools in some parts of the United States. It is also taught at senior centers around the U.S., but quilters of all ages attend classes.

Contemporary quilters use a wide range of quilting designs [6] and styles, from ancient and ethnic to post-modern futuristic patterns. There is no one single school or style that dominates the quilt-making world.

Processes and definitions


Traditional quilting is a six-step process that includes: 1) selecting a pattern, fabrics and batting; 2) measuring and cutting fabrics to the correct size to make blocks from the pattern; 3) piecing (sewing cut pieces of fabric together using a sewing machine or by hand to make blocks) blocks together to make a finished "top"; 4) layering the quilt top with batting and backing, to make a "quilt sandwich"; 5) quilting by hand or machine through all layers of the quilt sandwich; and 6) squaring up and trimming excess batting from the edges, machine sewing the binding to the front edges of the quilt and then hand-stitching the binding to the quilt backing. Note: If the quilt will be hung on the wall, there is an additional step: making and attaching the hanging sleeve.


  1. *    Piecing: Sewing small pieces of cloth into patterns, called blocks, that are then sewn together to make a finished quilt top. These blocks may be sewn together, edge to edge, or separated by strips of cloth called sashing. Note: Whole cloth quilts typically are not pieced, but are made using a single piece of cloth for the quilt top.

*    Layering: Placing the quilt top over the batting and the backing.

  1. *   Borders: Typically strips of fabric of various widths added to the perimeter of the pieced blocks to complete the quilt top. Note: borders may also be made up of simple or patterned blocks that are stitched together into a row, before being added to the quilt top.

  1. *   Binding: Long fabric strips cut on the bias that are attached to the borders of the quilt. Binding is typically machine sewn to the front side of the edge of the quilt, folded over, and hand sewn to the back side of the quilt.

  1. *   Quilting: Stitching through all three layers of the quilt sandwich, typically in decorative patterns, which serves three purposes:

  1. (1)   to secure the layers to each other,

  2. (2)   to add to the beauty and design of the finished quilt,

  3. (3)   and to trap air within the quilted sections, making the quilt as a whole much warmer than its parts.

Quilting is usually completed by starting from the middle, and moving outward toward the edges of the quilt.

Quilting can be elaborately decorative, comprising stitching fashioned into complex designs and patterns, simple or complex geometric grids, "motifs" traced from published quilting patterns or traced pictures, or complex repeated designs called tessellations. The quilter may choose to emphasize these designs by using threads that are multicolored or metallic, or that contrast highly to the fabric. Conversely, the quilter may choose to make the quilting disappear, using "invisible" nylon or polyester thread, or stitching within the patchwork seams themselves (commonly known as "stitch in the ditch"). Some quilters draw the quilting design on the quilt top before stitching, while others prefer to stitch "freehand."

Quilting is often combined with embroidery, patchwork, applique, and other forms of needlework.

Specialty styles

•Foundation piecing - also known as paper-piecing - sewing pieces of fabric onto a temporary or permanent foundation

•Shadow or Echo Quilting - Hawaiian Quilting, where quilting is done around an appliquéd piece on the quilt top, then the quilting is         echoed again and again around the previous quilting line.

  1.     Ralli Quilting - Indian quilting, often associated with the Gujarat region.

•Sashiko quilting - Basic running stitch worked in heavy, white cotton thread usually on dark indigo colored

fabric. It was originally used by the working classes to stitch layers together for warmth.[7]

  1.     Trapunto quilting - stuffed quilting, often associated with Italy.

  2.     Machine Trapunto quilting - a process of using water soluble thread and an extra layer of batting to achieve trapunto design and then sandwiching the quilt and re-sewing the design with regular cotton thread.

•Shadow trapunto- This involves quilting a design in fine Lawn and filling some of the spaces in the pattern with

small lengths of colored wool.

  1.     Tivaevae or tifaifai - A distinct art from the Cook Islands.

  2. Watercolor Quilting - A sophisticated form of scrap quilting whereby uniform sizes of various prints are arranged

and sewn to create a picture or design. See also Colorwash.

Quilting software

  1. EQ6 [8] •PC Quilt •Quiltsoft [9] • QuiltPro •Quilting Studio [10] • SewPrecise


[1] (http://www.chronique.com/Library/Armour/armyd1.htm) [2]Fabric of Their Lives (http://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/geesbend.html) [3]Quilts of Gee's Bend commemorative postage stamps (http://www.usps.com/communications/news/stamps/2006/sr06_042.htm) [4]VintageSewing.info—1930, Millinery Processes—Stitches Used in Millinery (http://vintagesewing.info/1930s/30-mp/mp-25-stit.html) [5] http://www.nmia.com/~mgdesign/qor/begin/tying.htm [6] http://www.quiltingboard.com/s-5-1.htm [7]Sharon Pederson,(2005). Sensational Sashiko, Japanese Applique and Quilting by Machine. p.5, Martingale & Co., Woodinville,WA [8] http://www.electricquilt.com [9] http://www.quiltsoft.com/ [10] http://www.quiltingstudio.com

•Colby, Averil. Quilting. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1971.

See also

•Broderie perse • Counterpane • Duvet • Tessellation

•Mathematics and fiber arts

Article Sources and Contributors

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Image Sources, Licenses and Contributors Image:Gee's Bend quilting bee.jpg Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Gee's_Bend_quilting_bee.jpg License: Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Contributors: Jmabel


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Quilting. (2010, May 17). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 00:12, May 24, 2010, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Quilting&oldid=362582572