Quilting is an old traditional Craft!
Quilting is a way of making bedcovers and throws from by sewing two layers of material together, usually with a third layer of wadding or padding in between. It is an enjoyable and satisfying skill which produces beautiful, useful works of art. It can be done on a very simple level, making it suitable even for children, or can be used to make elaborate bedcovers to pass on to your grandchildren.
The skill of quilting has moved from necessity to art in no more than a few generations due to the industrial revolution making mass-produced items freely and cheaply available. Before then, no competent home-maker was without this practical and decorative skill.
Many of us think of patchwork when we think of quilting. Of course this was one of the ways in which every last resource in the household could be used. All remnants of fabric, no matter how small, were lovingly recycled into a useful household item. My mother-in-law taught me to make patchwork quilts when my first daughter was born, and I made a crib liner, pram cover, nappy bag and various items of clothing using the technique. I made a random design using co-ordinated fabrics (I remember getting a bag of fabric off-cuts from the Laura Ashley shop) but there are books of designs available. Patchwork quilting has a very strong tradition in the U.S. where time-honoured designs are reproduced. If you want to make a patchwork quilt, you must first do your patchwork, and then make up your quilt using the three-layer method. These wonderful works can become family heirlooms. I particularly like the fact that a favourite item of clothing that has come to the end of its life can be re-born as part of a patchwork quilt, a little reminder to you always.
You can make your quilt using a sewing machine or by hand. Often, the art of tying is used when making a quilt by hand, which is securing the layer of fabric together at intervals with stitching of some sort. It's a great way to keep the shape and hold the layers together. You can embark on quilting for any purpose, not necessarily a bedcover. They make lovely throws over the sofa or armchair, and you can always go on to matching cushion covers.
Quilting circles can be found in many towns, and there's nothing like having a chat to make your sewing seem quicker and easier. It's also a great way to get new ideas and pick up tips. Have a look in sewing shops for classes or groups, check in the library for evening classes or council-run courses. While you're at the library, take home a few books or buy a craft magazine. There is so much information available; you can't fail to be inspired.
Quilting is an old craft, with traditional work from many countries of the world. It's a rewarding and restful hobby that will give you plenty of beautiful things to look at. We'd like to hear from those of you that are already enthusiasts; we hope that you will use this space as a place to exchange ideas and information. Stay with us for more, and in the meantime, happy quilting!