Quilt: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A patchwork and embroidery quilt that displays flowers and birds

A quilt is a type of bedding composed several layers generally combined using the technique of quilting. Many are made with decorative designs, and some of these are not used as bed covering at all, but are rather made to be hung on a wall or otherwise displayed.

In addition to quilting the quilt layers can be combined by tying. Tying refers to the technique of using thread, yarn or ribbon to pass through all three layers of the quilt at regular intervals. These "ties" hold the layers together during use and especially when the quilt is washed. This method is easier and more forgiving if the quilt is made by hand. Tied quilts are called, depending on the regional area, "lap", "comfort" or "comforter", among other names.

In British English, duvet may be used instead of quilt, wadding is another way of saying batting, and calico refers to muslin, rather than to a fabric with a printed pattern on it.


Uses of quilts

Little Amsterdam.
  • Bedding
  • Decoration
  • Armoury (see Gambeson)
  • Commemoration (e.g., the "Twentieth Century Women of Faith" quilt on the Patchwork page)
  • Education (e.g., a "Science" quilt)
  • Campaigning
  • Documenting events / social history etc.
  • Artistic expression
  • Traditional gift

Types and traditions


United States


Amish quilts are reflections of the Amish way of life. Because the Amish people believe in not being "flashy" or "worldly" in dress and lifestyle, their quilts reflect this religious philosophy. They use only solid colors in their clothing and quilts. Some church districts limit the use of certain colors such as yellow or red because those are considered "too worldly". Black is a dominant color. Although Amish quilts appear austere from a distance, the craftsmanship is often of the highest quality and the stitching forms vigorous patterns that contrast well with the plain background. These traits appeal to a modern aesthetic; antique Amish quilts are among the most highly prized among collectors and quilting enthusiasts.

Baltimore album

Baltimore album quilts originated in Baltimore, Maryland in the 1840s, and are made up of in blocks in which each block is appliquéd with a different design. The designs are often floral, but many other motifs are also used.


Hawaiian quilt.

Hawaiian quilts are whole-cloth (not pieced) quilts featuring large-scale symmetrical appliqué in solid colors on a solid color (usually white) ground fabric. Traditionally, the quilter would fold a square piece of fabric into quarters or eighths and then cut out a border design, followed by a center design. The cutouts would then be appliquéd onto a contrasting background fabric. The center and border designs were typically inspired by local fauna. The most common color for the appliquéd design was red, due to the wide availability of Turkey-red fabric. [1]

Log Cabin

Log cabin quilts are pieced quilts featuring blocks made of strips of fabric typically encircling a small centered square. Dramatic contrast effects with light and dark fabrics are created by various layouts of the blocks when forming a quilt top.

European quilts

The History of quilting in Europe goes back at least to Medieval times. Quilting was done not only for traditional bedding but for warm clothing. Clothing quilted with fancy fabrics and threads was often a sign of nobility.

British quilts

Henry VIII of England's household inventories record dozens of "quyltes" and "coverpointes" among the bed linen, including a green silk one for his first wedding to Catherine of Aragon quilted with metal threads, linen-backed, and worked with roses and pomegranates.[2]

Otherwise known as Durham quilts, North Country quilts have a long history in north-east England, dating back to the Industrial Revolution and beyond. North Country quilts are often "whole-cloth" quilts.

From the late 18th to the early 20th century the Lancashire cotton industry produced quilts using a mechanised technique of weaving double cloth with an enclosed heavy cording weft, imitating the corded Provençal quilts made in Marseilles.[3]

Italian quilts

Quilting was particularly common in Italy during the Renaissance. One particularly famous surviving example, now in two parts, is the 1360-1400 Tristan Quilt, a Sicilian quilted linen textile representing scenes from the story of Tristan and Isolde and housed in the Victoria and Albert Museum and in the Bargello in Florence.[4]

Provençal quilts

Provençal quilts, now often referred to as "boutis", are wholecloth quilts traditionally made in the South of France from the 17th century onwards. Boutis is a Provençal word meaning 'stuffing', describing how two layers of fabric are quilted together with stuffing sandwiched between sections of the design, creating a raised effect.[5] The three main forms of the Provençal quilt are matelassage (a double-layered wholecloth quilt with wadding sandwiched between), corded quilting or piqûre de Marseilles (also known as Marseilles work or piqué marseillais), and boutis.[5] These terms are often debated and confused, but are all forms of stuffed quilting associated with the region.[5]

For further information, see Provençal quilts

Other nations

Bangladeshi Quilts

Contemporary Bangladeshi Quilt (Kantha).

Bangladeshi quilts, known as Kantha, are not pieced together. Rather, they are two to three pieces of cloth (mainly used sarees) joined together for thickness. They are made out of worn out clothes (saris) and are mainly used for bedding, as a blanket. Sometimes they may be used as a decorative piece as well. They are made by women mainly in the Monsoon season before winter.

Tivaevae Cook Island quilts

Tivaevae are also quilts made by Cook Island women for ceremonial occasions. Quilting is thought to have been imported to the Islands by missionaries. The quilts are highly prized and are given as gifts with other finely made works on important occasions such as weddings and christenings.

Ralli quilts

Handmade appliqué ralli quilt.

Ralli quilts are traditional quilts made in Pakistan and India. Ralli quilts are also called rilli quilts. Handmade ralli quilts are used as blankets and bedspreads. They combine patchwork, appliqué and embroidery. Parents present rallis to their daughters on their weddings as a dowry. The another kind of ralli quilt is sami ralli, used by the samis, jogis and gypsies. This type of rall quilt is popular due to many colors and extensive hand stitching.


A quillow is a quilt with an attached pocket into which the whole blanket can be folded, thus making a pillow.

Quilting technique

As an example, the quilt image above has 24 blocks arranged in a 4x6 pattern, set with dark sashing strips, corner stones in a contrasting color, an outside sashing strip but no border, and a multicolored binding. Click on the image to see these details in a larger view.

Quilts on display

In 2010, the world renowned Victoria and Albert Museum is putting on a comprehensive display of quilts from 1700-2010 [1].

Amongst famous quilts in history is the AIDS Memorial Quilt, which was begun in San Francisco in 1987, and is cared for by The NAMES Project Foundation. It is periodically 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 annual American Quilter's Society festival and quilt competition held in April. The Museum also houses other exhibits of quilt collections, both historic and modern.

Many historic quilts can be seen in Bath at the American Museum in Britain, and Beamish Museum preserves examples of the North East England quiltmaking tradition.

The largest known public collection of quilts is housed at the International Quilt Study Center at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Examples of Tivaevae and other quilts can be found in the collection of the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.

The San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles in California also display traditional and modern quilts. There is free admission to the museum on the first Friday of every month, as part of the San Jose Art Walk.

The New England Quilt Museum is located in Lowell, Massachusetts.

In literature

  • Ismat Chughtai wrote an Urdu-language story entitled "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 and many others by Jennifer Chiaverini
  • The Quiltmaker's Gift and The Quiltmaker's Journey by Jeff Brumbeau, illustrated by Gail de Marcken
  • Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood
  • Wild Goose Chase by Terri Thayer
  • Old Maid's Puzzle by Terri Thayer
  • How to Make an American Quilt (Fiction) by Whitney Otto
  • A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry uses the theme of a quilt to symbolize how the four main characters with vastly different backgrounds come to meet under one roof.

See also


  1. ^ 1990: Susanna Pfeffer. "Quilt Masterpieces" Outlet Book Company, Inc. ISBN 0-517-03297X
  2. ^ Evans, Lisa, History of Medieval & Renaissance Quilting, http://www.historyofquilts.com/precolonial.html, retrieved 2010-06-02 
  3. ^ Quilting - see, trapunto, Quilting in the North Country, Needlework through the Ages, http://arts.jrank.org/pages/9841/Quilting.html, retrieved 2010-05-02 
  4. ^ The Tristan Quilt in the collections of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Accessed 5-2-2010
  5. ^ a b c Etienne-Bugnot, Isabelle, Quilting in France: The French Traditions, http://www.historyofquilts.com/french_quilt_history.html, retrieved 2010-05-02 

Further reading

  • Celia Eddy, Quilted Planet: A Sourcebook of Quilts from Around the World ISBN: 1400054575

External links

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

QUILT, properly a coverlet for a bed, consisting of a mass of feathers, down, wool or other soft substance, surrounded by an outer covering of linen, cloth, or other material. In its earlier uses the "quilt" was made thick, and served as a form of mattress. The term was also given to a stitched wadded lining for body armour, and also, when made stout and closely padded, to a substitute for armour. The word came into English from O. Fr. cuilte, coilte, or coute, mod. couette. This is derived from Lat. culcita or culcitra, a stuffed mattress or cushion. From the form culcitra came O. Fr. cotre or coutre, whence coutre pointe, Low Lat. culcita puncta, i.e. stitched or quilted cushion; this was corrupted to contre pointe, Eng. counterpoint, which in turn was changed to "counterpane" (as if from Lat. pannus, piece of cloth). Thus "counterpane," a coverlet for a bed, and "quilt," are by origin the same word.

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010
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Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

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quilt (plural quilts)

  1. A bed covering consisting of two layers of fabric stitched together, with insulation between, often having a decorative design.

Derived terms



to quilt

Third person singular

Simple past

Past participle

Present participle

to quilt (third-person singular simple present quilts, present participle quilting, simple past and past participle quilted)

  1. To construct a quilt.
  2. To construct something, such as clothing, using the same technique.

Derived terms


See also

Simple English

A quilt is a type of blanket made of three layers: a top piece of cloth, a layer of insulating material often called batting, and a bottom piece of cloth for backing. The layers are joined together either by sewing or by tying the layers together with pieces of yarn, thread, or ribbon.

The top layer of the quilt can be made from many pieces of cloth sewn together in patterns, known as patchwork. Other patterns can be made by running lines of stitching through the three layers.

Sometimes quilts are not used as bedding, but are works of art made to be hung on a wall or used as decoration.

Quilting is done in many cultures, such as the Amish, in Hawaii, and in India.


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