Quilt Buying Guide
What You Need to Know:
Throughout history, quilts have been used for bedding, decoration, gifts and artistic expression. People have also made quilts to commemorate special occasions and to document social events. Probably the most favorite use of a quilt is as bedding.
Quilts should not be confused with blankets or duvet covers, even though sometimes they are spoken of as such. A quilt is not a blanket, since blankets are woven. A quilt is not a duvet, which is a lightweight comforter that has a slipcover. Quilts are a covering for your bed consisting of fabric backing, a layer of soft batting and a top layer. These three layers are stitched or tied together. Quilting is stitching (often following the pattern of the design) that holds the layers together. The tying technique uses yarn or ribbon at spaced intervals to tie through the quilt’s layers. In certain regions, tied quilts are called comfort quilts or lap quilts.
Traditionally, quilts were pieced and sewn together by hand; however, modern quilting is also done using a sewing machine. If you are looking for a quilt which will stand up to time and use, be sure to purchase one that has even, quality stitching, whether it is done on a machine or by hand.
Quilts are meant to be used. If you prefer to look at your quilts rather than use them, drape them on a quilt rack or put them over a seldom-used chair back. Even hanging them on a wall will keep them safe, as long as you keep them away from direct sunlight. Even though quilts should be enjoyed, washing can be the biggest reason for wear and tear. Most quilts are machine washable, which means they are easier to care for than down comforters or wool blankets. However, there is no need to wash a quilt frequently. Quilts can be washed just once a year, or even less often, unless used on a child’s bed. Instead, just freshen up your quilt: toss it in the clothes dryer with softener sheets and a few tennis balls to fluff it up. With this method, a quilt will last even longer. If you must wash, be sure to use a mild soap and the “gentle” setting on your machine. Check the manufacturer’s instructions on your quilt before deciding to wash it or have it professionally dry cleaned.