Quilt - Definition of Textiles presented by Apparel Search

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A quilt is a type of bedding a bed covering composed of a quilt top, a layer of batting, and a layer of fabric for backing, generally combined using the technique of quilting. Another technique for creating a quilt is tying. This method is easier and more forgiving if the quilt is made by hand. Tied quilts are called, depending on the regional area, "hap", "comfort" or "comforter", among other names. Many quilts are made with decorative designs; indeed, some quilts are not used as bed covering at all, but are rather made to be hung on a wall or otherwise displayed.

  • Batting or Padding is a layer of insulation between a top layer of patchwork and a layer of backing material in quilting.

In British English, quilt is another way of saying duvet, and wadding is another way of saying batting.

Some uses of quilts

  • Bedding

  • Decorative

  • Armoury (also research Gambeson)

  • Commemorative (e.g., the "Twentieth Century Women of Faith" quilt on the Patchwork page)

  • Educational (e.g., the "Science" quilt image shown here)

  • Campaigning

  • Documenting events / social history etc.

  • Artistic Expression

Amish quilts are reflections of the Amish way. Because the Amish people believe in not being "flashy" or "worldly" in dress and lifestyle, their quilts reflect this religious philosophy. They use solid colors only in their clothing and quilts with some particular church districts limiting the use of certain colors such as yellow or red because those are considered "too worldly". Many Amish quilts feature the use of black which makes the other colors sparkle and gives a contemporary art look to the quilts.

Quilting technique

The quilt top is created either from blocks or one whole piece of cloth. In the more common case of blocks, a number of techniques are used to create the blocks. The blocks are then sewn together, either edge to edge, or with separator strips of cloth called sashing. Borders are then often added to help set off the piece, and then a binding is added to edge the quilt after the quilting is done. As an example, the "science" quilt image above has 35 blocks arranged in a 5x7 pattern, set with a sashing of green strips combined with red squares at the corners of the blocks, and a white binding, but no border strips.

Some techniques used to create the quilt top

Piecing or patchwork - where small geometric or curved pieces of cloth are sewn together to form blocks

Applique - where pieces of cloth in various shapes are either hand or machine sewn to the surface of a block. Broderie perse is an example of applique.

  • Broderie perse (French for "Persian embroidery") is a style of appliqué which uses printed elements to create a scene on the background fabric. It was most popular in Europe in the 17th century, and probably travelled from India, as there are some earlier findings there. The technique could be considered an early form of puzzle piecing.

Embroidery - Where an image is created by sewing thread either by hand or machine onto the surface of a block.

Whole cloth - Where no embellishment is done to the quilt top before starting the quilting process.

Quilts on display

Amongst famous quilts in history is the AIDS Memorial Quilt, which was begun in San Francisco in 1987, is cared for by The NAMES Project Foundation and is displayed in various arranged locations.

The Museum of the American Quilter's Society (also known as the National Quilt Museum) is located in Paducah, Kentucky. The museum houses a large collection of quilts, most of which are winning entries from the American Quilter's Society festival and quilt competition held yearly in April. The Museum also houses other exhibits of quilt collections, both historic and modern.

Many historic quilts can be seen at the American Museum in Bath.

The largest known public collection of quilts is housed at the International Quilt Study Center, part of the Department of Textiles, Clothing & Design in the College of Education and Human Sciences at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, Nebraska. Established in 1997 with the donation of nearly 950 quilts from the Ardis & Robert James Collection, the collection now numbers nearly 2,000 objects and spans the last three centuries. It includes important collections of Amish quilts, French 18th and 19th century masterworks, the Robert Cargo Collection of African-American quilts, the Jonathan Holstein Collection (which includes all of the quilts shown in the landmark exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1971, "Abstract Design in American Quilts") and an important collection of contemporary art quilts. A construction project to complete a building designed by Robert A. M. Stern Architects to house the Center and its collections was scheduled for groundbreaking in early 2007.

In literature

  • Ismat Chughtai wrote an Urdu-language story Lihaf (The Quilt) (1941) that lead to scandal and an unsuccessful attempt at legal prosecution of the author because it was about a lesbian relationship.

  • The Quilter's Apprentice by Jennifer Chiaverini, ISBN: 0452281725, Publisher: Plume Books (2000)

  • Round Robin by Jennifer Chiaverini

  • The Cross-Country Quilters by Jennifer Chiaverini

  • The Runaway Quilt by Jennifer Chiaverini

  • The Quilter's Legacy by Jennifer Chiaverini

  • The Master Quilter by Jennifer Chiaverini

  • The Sugar Camp Quilt by Jennifer Chiaverini


  • The Quiltmaker's Gift by Jeff Brumbeau, illustrated by Gail de Marcken

  • The Quiltmaker's Journey by Jeff Brumbeau, illustrated by Gail de Marcken

  • How to make an American Quilt by Whitney Otto

Art quilts

Distinguishing art quilts from the main category of quilts can be difficult. Art quilts can be created using any of the techniques of a quilt - piecing, applique, whole cloth, or even machine embroidery. These are techniques, though, and art involves more than mere technique. Meaningfulness, in whatever way the viewer perceives it, is involved in the experience of an art quilt, as opposed to a quilt built as an exercise in craft or technical capabilities, or for practical bedroom purposes.

Quilts are named

During the late 1900's, the quilt community started to encourage quilters to label their quilts, starting with a name for the quilt, in addition to their own name, and completion date for the work. This was an important step in taking the craft of quilting into the art realm. A quilt's name implies there is some meaning to a quilt beyond its creation, to whatever degree.

Emotion in an art quilt

One aspect of some art quilts is the ability of the piece to evoke an emotion in the viewer. While examples of quilts displaying the darker end of the emotional spectrum are still rare, they do exist. Quilts at recent quilt shows focused on the September 11, 2001 attacks have particularly explored grief and anger.

See also


Sewing Definition

fabric Definitions

Cloth Definition

Clothing Definitions

Wool fiber Definition

Fashion Industry

fabric & Textile Industry Definitions

Dye & Dyeing Industry Terms

Embroidery & Embroidery Industry Terms

fibers & fiber Industry Definitions

Sewing Terms & Sewing Definitions

yarns & yarn Industry Definitions

The above article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/quilt).  1/3/06

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