Quilting can refer either to the process of creating a quilt or to the sewing of two or more layers of material together to make a thicker padded material. "Quilting" as the process of creating a quilt uses "quilting" as the joining of layers as one of its steps, often along with designing, piecing, appliqué, binding and other steps. A quilter is the name given to someone who works at quilting. Quilting can be done by hand, by sewing machine, or by a specialized longarm quilting system.
The process of quilting uses a needle and thread to join two or more layers of material to make a quilt. Typical quilting is done with 3 layers: the top fabric or quilt top, batting or insulating material and backing material. The quilter's hand or sewing machine passes the needle and thread through all layers and then brings the needle back up. The process is repeated across the entire area where quilting is wanted. A
rocking, straight or running stitch is commonly used and these stitches can be purely functional, or decorative and elaborate. Quilting is done to create bed spreads, art quilt wall hangings, clothing, and a variety of textile products. Quilting can make a project thick, or with dense quilting, can raise one area so that another stands out.
Quilt stores often sell fabric, thread, patterns and other goods that are used for quilting. They often have group sewing and quilting classes, where one can learn how to sew or quilt and work with others to exchange skills. Quilt stores often have quilting machines that can be rented out for use, or customers can drop off their quilts and have them professionally quilted.