Thursday, April 17, 2014

Why a quilt isn't a blanket

Or a throw or a doona.
Tell a quilter that you like their 'blanket', and watch the steam come out of her ears. But why is it so insulting? It's a complex reason, but let me explain.

A quilt is composed of three layers. This is a woven cloth top, a layer of batting and a woven back. They are held together using the technique of quilting. A blanket is a large piece of cloth. 

For me, quilting is about many things. Friendship, legacy, creativity and skill come to mind. But, most importantly, quilting is about love. 
A quilt made for my good friend Gev, while he was undergoing treatment for cancer
I have friends through social media, bees and blogs and I have real life friends in my local quilt groups (some have started as online and turned into real life friends). My best friend and I love our sewing days, where we escape without the kids and sew together. We can chat about life, drink coffee, eat cake and sometimes we actually get some sewing done! Occasionally we get away together and retreat with a needle and thread or take classes as well. 

I am also lucky enough to be part of the most amazing quilt group. My guild friends are generous, warm and supportive. We can work through any problems together, drawing on our experience. We can learn together, attending classes and often teach each other new and exciting skills.  
The history of quilts began long, long ago. People in almost every part of the world have quilts in their history. It's a great tradition, passed down through generations and a skill mothers have taught their daughters (some of us more recently, however, have had to teach ourselves – that’s a whole other post). My mum taught me sewing, and now quilting. I know I am lucky to have a mother who knows how to sew and can teach me. Often, mothers of similar aged friends don't have this skill. It is certainly one I will pass to my children - even if they don’t want me too! 

Hours are spent sewing and researching, building a fabric stash, reading techniques and finding inspiration. Making a quilt takes many more hours than just the time actually sewing. It's a skill that I constantly work on and will forever improve upon. Quilting is my art, my creative outlet. It's where I imagine, play with colour and can create infinite possibilities.

Finally, quilts are about love. Quilters are some of the most generous people around. We make quilts for new babies, to celebrate marriages or say thank you. We make them for our children's beds, to warm a sick friend or just to say I love you. They might take hours, weeks, months or years to make. They are a labour of love and we usually give them away, no strings attached.

With all this in mind, quilts are amazing, complex and utilitarian. They can be beautiful and thought provoking. They are works of art that warm us on a cold night. They are a link to our past and our future. They are made with love.

This is why my quilts are so much more than blankets.


  1. An enjoyable post, I must say. Great job! I am not a quilter myself but I love quilts and the way quilters express themselves in their artwork. It has always amazed me to imagine how much time and effort must have gone into individual pieces. I can only imagine why it can be 'uncomfortable' to hear that your quilt is called a blanket.

    1. Glad you enjoyed the post! It's great to hear you appreciate out craft, even if your not a quilter :)

  2. Love this - and it's so true. My grandson (then 15 years) when I gave him his quilt, I heard him say to his Mum - "Nana gave me a "blanket" and it's not my birthday or Christmas". He was rather puzzled. I hope one day he reads the label "Made with love" and he realises that his "blanket" is love, his Nana's love.

    1. Domac, I would imagine that he already cherishes it!

  3. Beautifully written, and a shared sentiment. Burn the blankets!

    1. Thanks my love. I shan't burn the blankets. They are likely polyester and that would be bad for the environment ;) Thanks for stopping by x