How to Quilt

You don’t have to know how to quilt to make a quilt.  It’s much easier than that.

The making of a quilt involves a series of steps that are all relatively simple but, when combined as a whole, can be an outstanding piece of art, suitable for framing.  Or passing along to your grandchildren.  Or for snuggling up before a warm, toasty fire on a cold, winter night.

Quilts are common, comforting parts of almost every home.  Their origins, however, are clouded in mystery.

There is the belief that the first people who learned how to quilt did so as an act of frugality.  By piecing together pieces of scrap cloth, they were able to stay warm at minimal expense.

Others say the origins of the craft are found in the Crusades.  Those knights in shining armor were uncomfortable and their cold, metal suits caused chafing of the skin.  Quilted cloth under the armor saved the skin and kept the knight warm at the same time.

Sculptures from ancient Egypt are said to depict people wearing clothes made from quilted fabrics.  Desert evenings can be quite cool.

Regardless of origin, knowing how to quilt involves just a few simple steps.

Pieces of cloth are arranged in decorative patterns.  Next, these pieces of cloth are stitched into place using nothing more than a simple straight, or running, stitch.

Once the quilt top is stitched together, layering comes next.  Quilts consist of three layers – the stitched top, warm padding for insulation, and a bottom layer.  These layers are kept together with thread or yarn knots placed at intervals along the quilt.

These knots keep the layers from slipping and bunching during use or laundering.  They also create air pockets within the layers that add to the insulating effect of the quilt.

After knotting the layers in place, the quilt is finished along the edges by sewing a sash or border in place to cover the layered ends.

Now that you know how to quilt, you can whip up a hand-stitched masterpiece, make sure there are hot chocolate ingredients ready, a good book at hand, and wait for that first cold front of the season to make you really proud of your newly acquired craftsmanship.

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