The making of quilts is an art that has survived thousands of years. Two pieces of material are joined together usually stuffed with a third material called batting. The process traditionally was used to make bedding and was a necessity; a skill required for survival. Through time the art of quilting has declined as commercial blankets are more common yet the art of quilting not only survives but thrives around the world.
Quilted garments were worn under suits of armor in the 12th century with it becoming fashionable clothing between the 14th and 17th centuries in Europe. Quilting has stayed in fashion in many ways ebbing and flowing with times but the methods have survived the years and modernization.
In the U.S. quilting is considered a valuable folk art. The fine needlework quilts crafted in the 19th century set the tone for modern day quilt work where the craft is prized for patterns, stitch work and creativity.
Quilting also has regional influences in the United States. African-American quilting has its own distinctive style based on the heritage and circumstances of the slaves at the time. Interestingly as resources were not as available they were ingenious in using whatever scraps of material could be found including gunny, flour and grain sacks which also influenced the designs.
Country and local traditions have the most influence over the designs and materials of quilts made around the world. Within each country you will find regional quilting practices that are passed down from generation to generation.