Encyclopedia > Quilting

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Quilting is a method of sewing two layers of cloth with a layer of insulating batting in between. A bed covering or similar large rectangular piece of quilting work is called a quilt.


  • Quilting originated in utilitarianism rather than decoration. This is what distinguishes it from most other fine needlework.
  • The origins of this method of craft are thought to be in the Crusades, when soldiers needed warmth as well as protection from the chafing caused by heavy armour. Additionally, there are ancient Egyptian sculptures showing figures which appear to be wearing clothing which is quilted, possibly for warmth in the chilly desert evenings.
  • Quilting is used in the making of a garment called a gambeson


  • The most basic form of quilting is a simple geometric grid sewn either by hand or nowadays by machine. The gridwork of stitches traps air in the material, making it much warmer than a single layer of fabric would be, or even the layers separately.
  • Quilting can also be used as a form of elaborate decoration, where the stitchery creates complex designs and patterns, with or without the use of colour. Designs in the original fabrics can be put together to form new patterns.
  • A quilt using a single piece of fabric as a quilt top is called a whole cloth quilt[?].
  • Quilting is often combined with embroidery, patchwork, applique and other forms of needlework to create patchwork quilts[?].
  • Specialist quilting techniques:

Social aspects

  • Quilters are cooperative people. They exchange fabrics or quilt blocks[?] with each other.
  • They also frequently gather in larger groups (sometimes called "quilting bees") to collectively apply the gridwork of quilting.
  • Quilters may also attend Quilt Guild meetings in their local area. Many quilt guilds meet monthly and feature lectures and other activities. http://www.quiltguilds.com/

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