Quilting has been a time honored and centuries-old tradition in many countries spanning the globe. There is no surprise it is still popular today and as each generation takes up quilting, more variations emerge and are passed on to enjoy.
Though quilting was initially carried out to provide warmth and protection, today's quilts have become pieces of art as well as treasured heirlooms. Some have been passed down throughout family and other collected at auctions and flea markets. The have a timeless beauty of their own.
Aside from serving its purpose as a blanket, a quilt can be a perfect gift for a new bride or a new mother. Many cultures today provide hand crafted quilt's as gifts to new brides on their wedding day as a rite of passage. Many quits are displayed on racks or walls and used as art. They can provide a sense of comfort to just about any space.
The Typical Quilting Process
During a standard quilting process, three layers are used. These include the top fabric or quilt top, the insulating material called the batting, and the backing material. It can be done by hand or by machine. The top normally consists of a pattern that has been carefully pieced together usually in block form. When the block is completed, all pieces are sewn together and the middle and backing are them attached to form the blanket.
A hand quilter will use a frame or a hoop to keep all pieces together while using a variety of basic running stitches in and out of each piece while stretched taut. It's at this point where details are sewn with as little or as much as the quilter prefers. From the outlining of patterns to hand stitching every petal of every flower in each block. This is time consuming but often the most rewarding part of quilting.
Machine quilting on the other hand, involves a sewing machine to sew the pieces together. In very much the same way, layers of fabric are stacked together, laid-out, batted and backed on a flat surface. They are pinned and the pieces are then moved through a sewing machine. This can be done in block form as in hand quilting or as a large piece. Again, the details are determined on the style preferred and the quilter's experience. This is a much faster process than the hand quilting and often a good place for a beginner to learn with quick results.
Today, quilters use several designs and styles in their own pieces. Some are imitation from ancient designs. Some have an ethnic effect. Some are either modern or post-modern-inspired styles. There are many to choose from and in all degrees of complexity.
There are even specialty shops where classes can be held for the novice to the old hand. Where you can use existing patterns or have one created especially for you. You can learn to use strips of fabric from special garments from the past and embellish with new pieces from today for a one of a kind quilt.
Quilting can be done by oneself or enjoyed in a group setting. However you choose, you will find it immensely rewarding. Where your creativity can be expressed in designs and patterns.