Quilt Appreciation 101: Anatomy of a Quilt

I realize that many readers of The Inbox Jaunt are not quilters..so I would like to start a regular feature- Quilt Appreciation 101.  I hope this feature will bring a little insight into the vocabulary and  process of quilting and perhaps shed some light on why the Quilting Subculture is so fanatic passionate–and WE ARE fanatics passionate.   (Read more about this $3.6 Billion/year industry here.)

So, what is a quilt?  The definition of a quilt is constantly expanding, but we will stay very basic for now…

Quilt-a textile consisting of padding enclosed in two layers of fabric and held together with stitching.

Quilt top, batting, backing not visible

Quilt top, batting, backing

Stated another way:  a quilt has five elements:

  1. Quilt top
  2. Padding (known in the US as batting)
  3. Backing
  4. Stitching
  5. Binding

1.  The Quilt Top-The decorative fabric on top.  It is most commonly pieced or appliqued

  • Pieced-fabric is cut up and then sewn back together in a decorative manner
  • Appliqued-a large piece of fabric has decorative elements sewn onto it
Quilt Appreciation, Pieced block,

Pieced

Applique Block, Quilt Appreciation

Applique

2.  The Padding-the warm, thick layer in between the quilt top and the backing.  Common paddings (also known as batting or wadding) are made of cotton, polyester, wool, silk or bamboo.  The type of batting determines the overall weight and warmth of the quilt.

Batting, Wadding, Padding

Batting, Wadding, Padding

3.  The Backing-The backing is often a solid sheet of fabric, but increasingly, quilt backings are more decorative.

Quilt backing

Quilt backing

4.  The Stitching (my favorite part)-The sewing that holds all three layers together and is called quilting. In addition to holding the three layers together, the quilting adds texture to the textile.
This element may be sewn by hand, on a regular sewing machine-called Free Motion Quilting, or on a special frame with a unique sewing machine-called Long Arm Quilting.   

Hand Quilting

Hand Quilting

Free Motion Quilting

Free Motion Quilting

5.  The Binding-The binding is a fifth element-(not included in the definition above, but found on almost all quilts)-The fabric that encloses the edge of the quilt.

Quilt Binding

Quilt Binding

Next time in Quilt Appreciation 101, we will look at the stitching or quilting stitch and compare free motion, long arm and hand quilting stitches…I receive a lot of questions about how “Doodle Quilts” are made–they are Free Motion Quilted-without any computer aid, just free hand, but they are NOT hand sewn–that has an entirely different meaning which we will demonstrate…

I hope this discussion was useful.  Please chime in with questions at any time.   I will expand on every aspect…I could go on, and on, and on….

Don’t forget to sign up for the Stencil Giveaway.   If you are not passionate about quilting, but still like quilts…we will be offering A Shamrock Doodle Quilt Giveaway in early March…

Dog Tired

Dog Tired, Australian Shepard, Humor, Dogs, Pets

Did you ever have one of those days–a day where the spirit is willing, but the body is weak?  Meet my dog, Ruby...she’s a four-year old Australian Shepherd who cheerfully greets us each morning with her happiest dog version of “cock-a-doodle-do”!  Ruby is quick to chase a ball or a deer, go for a walk, or “help” us make our beds…but for now, she just needs a little cat nap!

Dog Tired, Australian Shepard, Humor, Dogs, Pets

Photos courtesy of FVKennedy.  See her Tumblr blog at Color Route Co.

Also, don’t miss the stencil giveaway here

Tomorrow we will be starting a new feature on Quilt Appreciation–for all the non-quilters out there–don’t miss it!

WIP. Stencil Tips. And a Giveaway!!!

Shamrock Quilt, Geranium Stencil, The Stencil Company, Free motion quilting

This week I am working on a few colorful projects.   This stencil, from The Stencil Company, is called “Geranium“.  However, if I stitch it on green fabric, I think it will pass as a shamrock for St. Patrick’s Day.

Shamrock Quilt, Geranium Stencil, The Stencil Company, Free motion quilting

I like this stencil because it can be used in six ways:

  1. It can be stitched as is-with a cross-hatch center and leafy outer border
  2. It can be stitched with the cross-hatch center and your own “doodle” design in the outer border.
  3. The outer leafy border can be quilted around a pieced or appliqued block.
  4. This stencil can be used to draw just the inner and outer square–leaving a blank slate for doodles–easier than using rulers.
  5. Individual leaf/flowers can be repeated in a row to make a geranium border.
  6. Finally, the cross hatch pattern can be used as the “rails” for other designs…again much easier than using a ruler.  I will add a tutorial on this in an upcoming post.

Shamrock Quilt, Geranium Stencil, The Stencil Company, Free motion quilting

After I draw the stencil as it is cut…I trace over the lines and fill in the gaps.  This makes the lines easier to follow while free motion quilting.  Also, it helps plan out the stitch order and understand the design.

Shamrock Quilt, Geranium Stencil, The Stencil Company, Free motion quilting

Once I finish drawing the stencil, I will make the “quilt sandwich”.  Finally, I plan to audition a few thread/needle combinations.

Shamrock Quilt, Geranium Stencil, The Stencil Company, Free motion quilting

Now for THE BEST part…sharing with YOU!  The Stencil Company is going to provide two “Geranium # SCL-513″  to TWO lucky readers of The Inbox Jaunt!

Here’s the deal:  In order to be entered into the drawing–simply answer the following three questions in the Comment section.  Entries will be accepted through Saturday, February 9th and the winners will be announced on Monday, February 11th.  (If you are not a quilter–don’t worry,  we’re offering a Shamrock Doodle Quilt giveaway before St. Patrick’s Day!)

The Questions:

  1. Do you know how to set your machine for free motion quilting?
  2. How many total hours have you spent free motion quilting: Less than 20 hours, Between 20 and 100 hours, more than 100 hours.
  3. What is the hardest part of free motion quilting for you?

That’s it!  There are several more stencil tutorials to come, and The Stencil Company will be offering several more giveaways through The Inbox Jaunt...so check in often!

You might also like this post on stencils.