What is a Quilt?
This is Part One of a two-part series. Part Two will be published on March 26, 2021.
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary: a bed coverlet of two layers of cloth filled with padding (such as down or batting) held in place by ties or stitched designs
A quilter’s definition is simply three layers of fabric that are stitched together that consist of:
- Top – is the design of the quilt or the front of the quilt.
- Batting – is the layer of padding between the Top and the Back
- Backing– is the layer of fabric on the back of the quilt that covers the batting
So, if a quilter’s definition is not confined to a bed coverlet, what is a Quilt? Bed coverlets are certainly included, quilts may consist of wall hangings, table coverings (table toppers and table runners), artistic renditions of people, places or anything that the quilt artist may conceive. Bottom line, if it has three layers of fabric and it is stitched together it is a quilt!
The Parts of a Quilt
The backing is a layer of fabric on the back of a quilt that covers the batting.
The Back of a quilt generally is a single fabric that covers the batting of the quilt making up the third layer of the quilt. Quilters choose for various reasons to have several fabrics that may make up the backing. This may be a design choice, or simply because they don’t want to purchase a large piece of fabric and may choose to stitch together leftover fabric from other projects.
A block is one square of the quilt design.
The Block is the foundation of a quilt’s design. The exception to this is a quilt that is an artistic rendition of something.
The Design of the quilt may consist of multiple blocks that are combined to make up the TOP of the quilt. Blocks may be very simple (just consisting of a single square of fabric) to very complex designs what may include 60 or more pieces.
Here is an example how different 3 “foundation” blocks can be put together to make one block that can be replicated to create an interesting quilt design.
Block 1 – Rectangle block containing two different fabrics.
Block 2 – Pinwheel Block is made up of 4 smaller quilt blocks called Half Square Triangles and those pieces are arranged to make the pinwheel. Note, that the fabrics chosen to match the same fabrics in the Rectangle block.
Block 3 – Mary G’s Block is made with a one large triangle, a square surrounded by two triangles. This block is an alternate color scheme to provide some variety. A pair of these blocks is made to be placed into the larger block.
Quilt Block – The four blocks (rectangle, pinwheel and two Mary g’s) are then placed into the desired layout.
Quilt design — multiple blocks are made and then arranged into the desired pattern. Here is how that one single block now fits into the design of the quilt top. Note that the Rectangle and Pinwheel blocks with the cheddar and cream background are in each of the blocks, while Mary G’s blocks are made up of different fabrics in the blocks.
Batting is a layer of padding between the quilt top and the backing.
The Batting provides a cushion or layer between the top and back that gives the quilt some warmth, thickness, and weight. The choice of batting in a quilt may provide varying degrees of warmth, ease of quilting, or the ability for the quilting to stand out. There are many different types of batting available in the marketplace. The choice of batting usually depends on the intended use of the quilt.
Stay tuned for Part Two of this 2-part Quilting Basics article. Part Two covers Quilting, Borders, and Sashing and will be published March 26, 2021.
~Diana Quinn, ASG Atlanta Chapter