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Quilting is socially engaging while fostering new skills and a sense of calm

Quilting is a time-honored creative outlet that brings people together and has benefits for the mind and body as well. Let’s take a look at quilting and its many benefits.

According to the United Kingdom’s Victoria and Albert Museum, quilting dates to medieval times and the earliest quilts were used to make bed covers. Quilts generally are described as having two layers of fabric and a layer of padding in between. There’s often a pattern or design, and some of the earliest quilts told stories of medieval legends like that of Tristan and Isolde. But there’s long been a tradition of quilting as the pursuit of middle-class women for pleasure rather than necessity.

The website Seamsandscissors.com shares a number of tips for sewing in general and quilting specifically. Quilts make wonderful baby blankets, decorative wall-hangings, table runners and throws. And all that cutting and sewing makes a difference for the quilter, too. The process of combining colors and shapes offers a distraction from the daily concerns of the world, is emotionally uplifting and provides stress relief. Quilting helps maintain mental agility, and the placement of various geometric shapes enhances problem-solving skills.

Quilt guilds have often been popular with quilters, providing an opportunity for social interaction and communication with others who share creative interests. A few Naperville-area quilting groups include Pride of the Prairie Quilters, Riverwalk Quilters Guild and Winberie Quilting. Classes are offered by Bernina of Naperville and Classic Sewing among others including fabric and craft stores. In an era when we are often online, there are virtual classes just a few clicks away, too.

Quiltmakers have meaningful creations that may share with others in the group, or with friends and family. The sense of accomplishment offered by quilting fosters the release of positive hormones in the brain. The shapes and patterns of quilts themselves can be calming, as well as the repetitive motions of cutting and stitching.

Monarch Landing, among its many offerings, provides a weekly Stitch and Chat group that includes quilting. At Monarch Landing, residents have participated in Project Linus, a nonprofit organization that provides handmade blankets to children in need.

Quilting may just be a stitch in time, but for a whole host of reasons it is a worthwhile pursuit that is valuable in the long run.