The Art of Quilting: Why Quilts are More than Just Blankets

So many times, I've heard quilts referred to as "blankets." To a quilter, this is akin to putting a dagger in their heart! Of course, to a novice, they only know quilts to be used basically as bedding, but to a quilter, it is so much more. Let's examine the differences as there are actually some key distinctions between quilts and blankets.

Quilts and blankets are both cozy and comforting. First of all, a quilt is a type of bed covering made up of three layers: a top layer of fabric, a middle layer of batting or filling, and a bottom layer of backing fabric. The layers are stitched together using a technique called quilting, which creates a decorative design or pattern. The use of three layers in quilts sets them apart from blankets.

Quilt tops can be a single fabric or put together using techniques such as patchwork or appliqué to create intricate designs. I believe that the patchwork style we know today is truly American since Colonial America did not have easy access to fabric like Europe, so they became the first recyclers of what they had to create necessary household items like bedding. We have better access to materials now, and the "patches" have taken on design elements, making beautiful and unique bed coverings that are not only functional but also works of art.

On the other hand, blankets are typically a single layer of fabric or material, such as fleece or wool. They may be woven or knitted and can come in a variety of patterns and colors. Blankets are often made by machine and mass-produced, making them more affordable than quilts. An exception would be a Navajo blanket, which is made by hand but is still a single woven fabric, earning the title of a blanket.

While both quilts and blankets provide warmth and comfort, quilts offer more meaning. The hours, effort, and thought that go into making a quilt are as if the maker is pouring a part of themselves or their heart into it. It is the careful selection of patterns, fabrics, colors, design layouts, and even the purpose for which it is made that adds to its value and makes it special. Quilts can be traditional or modern in style and are often passed down through families as heirlooms.

So, both quilts and blankets serve the same purpose of providing warmth and comfort, but quilts are a more complex and artistic form of bed covering. The use of three layers, the intricate designs, and the meaningful and historical significance of quilts all set them apart from blankets.

If you are an experienced quilter or just starting out and want to make a cozy bed covering, consider making a quilt! It is a fun and rewarding craft that allows you to create something beautiful and meaningful. Check into classes for a starting place, and then when you are done, sit down, snuggle up, grab a cup of tea, and enjoy the cozy comfort of a quilt.

Happy stitching,
Bluebird Janet