Facts and Fancies: Quilts

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A favorite quilt can bring its owner comfort, warmth and security. It can be an heirloom that is passed down to future generations, reminding a family of their history. I am a self-taught quilter who has been quilting for the last 15 years. As a member of the Quiltsy Team here on Etsy, I participated in quilting the giant quilts for Etsy’s new office.

In this quilting installment for the Facts and Fancies series, I’ll give you some insight into the different materials used in quilts and the varying styles and techniques of quilts.

Before we start, Webster Mirriam’s dictionary defines a quilt as “a bed coverlet of two layers of cloth filled with padding (batting) held in place by ties or stitched designs.” While this holds true for most, not all techniques considered quilting fit this definition, and I will introduce you to those, too.

It is important to know your sizes when buying a quilt for a bed. Before purchasing a quilt, you should take the mattress size of your bed and measure all around the bed for the amount of overhang you would prefer and add those measurements to the mattress size to get the quilt size you need. You can find the standard dimensions for mattresses here.

Most quilters like to use 100% cotton quilting fabrics. There are different grades of fabric in the manufacturing process. Normally, a mill will run tests on new designs to test for colors. This fabric is often sold to discount stores at a lesser price. Keep in mind that this test fabric often has a lower thread count and will shrink more and the colors may bleed and/or fade due to this. Most quilt shops sell the better grade with higher thread count. This fabric is more expensive, averaging about $9/yard in the U.S., but if taken care of properly, it can last for centuries and is well worth the investment.

Recycled materials are increasing in popularity with the push towards more environmentally friendly products, though upcycled quilts have been, for quite some time, a traditionally thrifty way to make do with fabric scraps.

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