Quilting: Informally Passed Down through Generations
Art quilting is more associated with fine arts than with traditional quilting. For it is based on imagery and ideas than the traditional patterns. Nonetheless, art quilting is still a home craft using the quilting technique. Home craft art quilting materials include wall hangings, textile products, and bed spreads to name a few.
Quilting, from the Latin word calcite meaning a padded and tied mattress, is a sewing method that puts together two or more layers of materials making it a one padded art object. This method is said to have come from Asia where the first quilted linen carpet dating back in the first century was found in a Siberian cave tomb.
Using a needle and a thread, a typical quilting usually has three layers composed of the top fabric (or quilt top), the insulating material called the batting, and the backing one. In binding these layers, the needle is passed through all the layers. A common and simplest stitch used is the running stitch.
There are three ways in quilting. Longarm quilting is one of the three types that utilize a large sewing machine intended for quilting. Yet, the most common types of quilting are by hand and by sewing machine.
Hand quilting is an old-fashioned quilt, which requires a quilter to sew the entire quilt material by hand, very time-consuming method. As such, this makes one quilt material unique among others even if done by the same quilter. Today, the combined uniqueness and time make it much expensive.
Although some may hold their work on their lap, most hand quilters use a quilting hoop or framed to be able to hold the quilt stretched out.
Meanwhile, machine quilting requires the exact opposite of hand quilting. It is cheaper and entails a shorter period of assembling. It is not unique but stitches have more peaks and valleys. In addition, machine quilting is easy to learn. Only the tension setting has to be adjusted so that stitches are even and there will be no loose loops of thread.
Today, quilters use several designs and styles. Some are imitation from ancient designs. Some have an ethnic effect. Some are either modern or post-modern-inspired styles.
One of the famous quilters who made significant contributions to the art of quilting is Harriet Powers. She was a slave-born African American woman who made two known story quilts. As quilting continues to be an artistic craft, still no school or organization teaches such home craft technique.