Quilts have been made since the seventeenth century. Early textiles were very precious and every scrap was saved to be reused. A quilt is a combination of fabrics joined to a filler and a backing by small stitched designs known as quilting. An appliqued quilt has pieces stitched to the top of a large piece of backing fabric. A patchwork, or pieced, quilt is made of many small pieces stitched together. Embroidery can be added to either type. Quilts that have dark spots , when held up to the sun, are said to have cotton seeds left in the cotton, a proof of age. This is not true. A cotton seed is large and hard and even homemade cotton batting is carefully cleaned of all seeds or debris by the quilter. For more information, explore our identification guides for American quilts and other textiles