A quilt is a multi-layered textile that is composed of three layers, a woven top, a middle layer of padding or insulation, and a woven back. Handmade quilts are sewn into one cosy cloth covering.
The earliest quilts go back more than 5000 years to around 3400 BCE. Although there are no physical remnants of quilts from this era, drawings and pictographs from the period show that quilts were part of the culture
The oldest surviving quilt was found in Russia. It dates to somewhere between 100-20 BCE.
It is part of a linen carpet that was found in a Mongolian cave. It’s currently kept in the Russian Academy of Sciences.
Quilts were introduced into Europe during the Crusades around the 12th century. Quilted garments called gambeson were worn under armour.
The earliest decorative quilt in existence is the Tristan Quilt. It is one of the earliest surviving quilts in the world and pieces of it can be found in museums in London and Florence
Australia and the United Kingdom.
The National Gallery of Australia has a quilt made by about 30 women convicts as they were transported from England to Tasmania. It dates from about 1841.
Quilting took off in the 17th and 18th centuries in the United States. During this period quilts were looked on as decorative items that displayed the needlework of the maker.
The Industrial Revolution in the 19th century meant textiles became more readily available. Women no longer had to spend time spinning and weaving to make cloth.
By the 1840s commercial fabrics became affordable for almost every family. The result of this was a rapid expansion in quilt making.
Modern quilts are more muted in design. They don’t rely as much on the bold colours and patterns of traditional patchwork quilts. They are one of the most popular forms of bedding available for the modern homeowner.
If traditional patchwork or a bold style quilt is not to your liking modern quilts come in a wide variety of colours and materials. Whole cloth quilts are the most commonly available type of quilts from bedding manufacturers. You can find many modern queen quilt covers to suit your style and taste.
Uses of Quilts
While early quilts were used as clothing for warmth or protection, their use was rapidly extended to bedding and bed covers. Early quilts were very practical. In earlier days cloth was hard to come by, and every scrap was used for either clothing or other coverings for warmth and protection. Very little was wasted. Scraps of old cloth were often used to patch blankets and clothing.
Today although quilts are still most commonly thought of as bed coverings, they can be used to cover couches, walls and tables. Quilts can be framed and used as wall art.
One of the early displays of quilts as fine art occurred in 1981 at the Whitney Museum of Art. 61 quilts were hung and lines formed around the block and the exhibit was extended for weeks.
Whether you choose modern or traditional quilts, these bed coverings offer a warm, comfortable, and fashionable choice to enhance your bedroom setting.