Quilt comes from the Latin word culcita meaning “stuffed sack”. A quilt is called a cloth sandwich since it has a bottom fabric, a top fabric which usually comes with decorative designs, and a middle layer which is considered a filler. The three layers of fabric are then stitched together. There is a quilt variation called “summer quilt” which is a kind of quilt with no middle filling. This makes it ideal for warmer weather.
People can only guess when did civilizations start the process of creating a quilt, but there are pieces of evidence that early people were already using the techniques of piecing or applique as many as 5000 years ago. Early Egyptians were already doing piecing patchwork as early as 3400 B.C. In England, people were using it as early as the 13th century as protective clothing under an armor suit. In the United States, quilt making was common in the late 17th century. Many civilizations – Chinese, Indians, Persians – claim a piece of history of quilting. The reason why it was difficult to find evidences of it was possibly due to the delicate material of quilt. If exposed to water or harsh conditions, fabrics can easily disintegrate.
In the 14th and 15th centuries, only wealthy people wear quilt or do the quilting. Since it takes time to finish one quilt project, those who had many spare times in their hands can afford to own one. However, during the early years of American colonization, many settlers cannot afford to just dispose of things when they wore out. Out of necessity, early settlers would then use worn-out blankets by patching it with another blanket or stuffing to make a new one.
From being a utilitarian and as fabric manufacturing starts to become affordable, quilting became a passion and expression of creativity nowadays. Millions of people are smitten with the process of making a quilt because of the creativity, intricacy, and passion required to finish a quilt.
The great thing about quilting is it allows the quilter to design or use any technique in designing one. By using imagination, creativity, and ingenuity, a quilter can create something unique and special. From simple designs to dramatic impact, there are endless combinations that the person can create.