Quilters tend to cringe when people use the word “blanket” to describe a quilt. It’s not that blanket is a bad word; it’s just that quilters put a lot of work into making their quilts and therefore they want to people to call it a quilt. So what is the difference between a blanket and a quilt? A blanket is generally one layer of fabric (often of the fuzzy kind) with a binding around the edge to finish it off and is usually a manufactured rather than a home made item. A quilt is made up of three layers. The top layer is the part of the quilt that is put together, or pieced, with many different pieces of fabric. The first part of the process is choosing fabrics and a pattern for the quilt. That often takes hours, and when I’m doing that, I consider myself in “the zone” where I don’t want to be interrupted. The next step is to cut the fabric, but that may be days later after some fondling of the fabric. After cutting comes the part that is referred to as “piecing”, which is the process of sewing all the cut fabrics together into a cohesive design that results in a quilt top. After a quilt top is pieced, it still needs to be quilted and that is where the second and third layers come in. The bottom layer is a piece of fabric that will be the quilt backing and the middle layer is the batting. Batting is made of cotton or polyester or a combination of both and it is what adds depth to the quilt and makes the quilting look nice. The word “quilting” refers to the actual placing of stitches into the three layers to hold it all together. Quilting also adds a design element. Quilting can be done by hand which takes hours and hours, or by machine. Some quilters use their domestic sewing machine and others take their quilt tops to people with longarm quilting machines (pictured) to be quilted. The final part of the quilt making process is sewing a narrow binding around the quilt to enclose the raw edges of the three layers. Binding can be done by machine or partly by machine and partly by hand. As you can see, making a quilt is quite a process and therefore the reason quilters get a little cranky when someone calls their quilt a blanket.