Any discussion of quilting for beginners should define what a quilt is, as well as how it’s made. A quilt is a bed covering composed of three layers. There’s a woven cloth top, a layer of batting or wadding, and a woven back.
‘Quilting’ refers to the way the front and back of the quilt are joined with hand or machine stitching. Some quilts are tied with string. The middle layer of batting traps warm air between the top and bottom layers, keeping the bed and its occupants warm during cold winter nights.
Quilts are distinguishable from other blankets because the top and back layer are pieced together with patches or blocks of cloth. Today, quilting is considered folk art, which immigrated to the New World with the first European colonists. Making quilts was a matter of economy and need. Large swatches of cloth were prohibitively expensive for use as blankets.
Patchwork quilts often consisted of joining oddly shaped scraps from worn-out or out-grown clothing. Because of this, a hand-pieced ‘crazy quilt’ became a tactile and visual journal of a family’s history which used fabric to record weddings, births, even sickness and death.
Intricate patterns were also created with different sized blocks cut from a variety of cloth scraps. The secrets of quilting for beginners were passed down from one generation to the next by the clan matriarch.
Quilting often became a social event – known as a ‘quilting bee’ – for female relatives and neighbors who formed assembly lines of sorts, which was a far more efficient production than quilting solo. Many quilters today also enjoy gathering socially to piece together a new quilt.
With regard to modern quilt making, the ‘top’ of the quilt is typically the decorative side, with blocks of colored patches joined to form from simple to intricate design elements. These blocks may or may not be separated by plain fabric swatches known as ‘sashing.’
Today quilts are still made to commemorate important family events, compliment bedroom and living décor, as art, and as heirlooms handed down from one generation to the next; and treasured for years to come.
Quilting, for beginners anyway, can be a tough “art” to learn as well as to master. This is why many quilters are thus able to capitalize on their hobby by making custom quilts to order or for sale at auctions, flea markets. craft shows, swap meets and similar venues.
While quilting is considered by some to be too time consuming to be considered a lucrative source of income, many quilters enjoy selling their creations for extra spending cash or to contribute to household finances while caring for children at home.
Looking to make a baby quilt? Missouri Quilt has a great selection of baby quilt kits.