Simcoe County Arts & Crafts Association


quilting handsQuilting is an historic art form with a very personal connection for many people. Memories and family heirlooms may help to explain the interest in quilts and quilt making that continues to this day.

It is believed that quilting existed as far back as the First Dynasty in Egypt (about 3400 B.C.) and is known in almost every part of the world. Knights returning from the Crusades in the Middle East brought the art of quilting to Europe, and knowledge of quilting traveled with early settlers to the New World.

The social aspect of quilting is believed to have begun as early as the eighteenth century. Women would gather together to socialize while working on a group project. For the women who were pioneers in North America, quilting bees were not only a practical way to exercise their creative gifts but a way to maintain community and support one another.

Quilting basically consists of three layers, the top decorative layer, the fill for insulation and warmth, and a backing to protect the inside layer. These layers are sewn with needle and thread to hold them together. This stitching can be as simple as knotting at intervals or as complicated as an intricate pattern that leaves the back as beautiful as the front.

The top is usually pieced and/or appliquéd with different patterned and plain fabrics. It used to be made from old pieces of clothing or household items but today is usually fabric purchased specifically for the quilt. The fill can be old blankets but today is usually polyester batting. The bottom can be an old sheet or fabric purchased to match the top.

‘Quilting,’ though used generally for the process of constructing quilts, specifically refers to the stitching that is used to bind the three layers together. Quilting can be done by hand or by machine.

A delightful movie that gives some insight into the social importance quilting has in many lives is worth renting … How to Make an American Quilt ... a 1995 movie was directed by Jocelyn Moorhouse and stars Winona Ryder, Maya Angelou, Ellen Burstyn and Anne Bancroft. It is based on a novel of the same name by Whitney Otto.

Getting started: First watch the video below. It is an interview with a quilter and will give you an idea of what is involved.

There are many resources available to help those interested in learning how to quilt. There are books and many magazines that specialize in quilting so reading may be the first thing. Many shops that specialize in quilting fabrics and supplies offer classes. Locally, we have a number of quilt guilds that have regular meetings and are accepting new members.


Simcoe County Quilter's Guild, Mailing: Box 21021, Barrie, ON L4M 6J1

Georgian Bay Quilters Guild

Kempemfelt Quilters Guild, Barrie. PO Box 20076, Barrie, ON  L4M 6E9. Meetings 3rd Thursday of every month at Army Navy Air Force Club, Barrie

Orillia Quilters Guild,

Slope to Shore Quilters Guild

Qulting Corners Quilters' Guild

Loving Hands Quilting Club, Bette Bull, 705-734-1441. Group makes quilts for people going through had times.  Meets irregularly at Simcoe Quilt Shoppe in Midhurst.

St. George's Quilters, Verna Dixon, 705-721-7804. Proceeds from quilts are donated to local charities. Meet every Tuesday from 10-2:30. Location varies, call first.

Quilt shops

Knit & Quilt

Simcoe County Quilt Shop