The difference between a Quilt and a Blanket – this should be common knowledge!


quilt vs blanket.jpg

Every quilter knows this. Every one else should know it too… there is a HUGE difference between a quilt and a blanket.

When my mom was a newlywed, she hand crocheted a queen sized afghan for her parents-in-law for Christmas. I crochet a little too because she taught me, and just thinking about the time that it took to make that afghan makes my head spin. A few months after Christmas she was visiting their home and she didn’t see the afghan. She looked around for it and finally found it – crumpled in a ball in the closet.

My grandparents were good people, but not makers. So they didn’t understand the love and countless hours she spent making that afghan. Needless to say, they did not receive any more gifts like that from my mom.

A quilt is different from an afghan, but both are handmade and both require many hours so I think I can appreciate how hurt my mom was.


Fat Quarter Fancy Quilt. Click for the free pattern.

Fat Quarter Fancy Quilt. Click for the free pattern.

Because of the many times I have been told, ‘Thanks for the blanket.’

Every time I hear those words I want to answer, ‘REALLY?’

Sometimes I want to take that ‘blanket’ back, because it’s not a blanket, it’s a QUILT!!!

So let’s just talk about the differences between a blanket and a quilt. Everyone should know this.

Blueberry Pie Quilt. Click for free pattern.

Blueberry Pie Quilt. Click for free pattern.

First: the Cost of a Quilt vs. a Blanket

A 90’’ x 90’’ queen sized quilt would require roughly:

  • 10 yards of fabric for the top – $120

  • 8 yards yards of fabric for the backing – $96

  • 3/4 yards of fabric for binding – $9

  • Batting – $40

  • One spool of thread – $8

Assuming the quilter shopped for high quality materials at a quilt shop and paid $12 per yard for fabric and about average prices for high quality batting and thread, a the initial cost layout for a queen sized quilt would be approximately $273.


So how about a blanket? Here’s a nice looking 90’’ x 90’’ blanket that I found on Amazon.

The blanket is super soft and it’s reversible. It has lots of excellent reviews. Most would agree it would make a great gift.

And it costs $35.

Verdict: in terms of money paid, the quilt costs at almost 8 times as much as the blanket.

Click for the free pattern.

Click for the free pattern.

Second: Time Spent Making a Quilt vs. Buying a Blanket

This is kind of silly but I’m going there anyway.

All quilts are different, but let’s estimate the time it would take to make a 90’’ x 90’’ queen sized quilt:

  • Piecing – 20 hours

  • Basting – 2 hours

  • Machine quilting – 8 hours

  • Making and attaching the binding – 1 hour

  • Finishing the binding by hand – 8 hours (I’m slow at hand sewing!)


Of course, one quilter is going to be faster than another at any of those steps so this is just a rough estimate.

My rough estimate is that a queen sized quilt would take at least 39 hours to make.


Now I’m going to time myself while I go back to Amazon and order that blanket.


I had already picked out the blanket (it took me about a minute to pick it out previously). And I didn’t click on the final ‘place your order’ button because I don’t want the blanket. But it took me 23 seconds.

So it’s reasonable that you can buy a blanket in 1 minute and 30 seconds.

On the other hand, some people might take an hour and a half to buy a blanket.

For the sake of argument, I’m going to say it takes 10 minutes to buy a blanket.


Verdict: It takes about 234 times longer to make a quilt than to buy a blanket.

Merry Stars Quilt. Click for the free pattern.

Merry Stars Quilt. Click for the free pattern.

Third, Fourth, and Fifth…

Is there more? Oh yes.

Quilts have historical value. They tell stories. They have museums dedicated to them.

Have you ever heard of a ‘blanket museum?’

Quilts get old and they are restored, preserved, handed down from generation to generation.

Blankets get old and we throw them away.

Only very special people can make quilts.

Anyone with a credit card can buy a blanket.


Conclusion: Only a very well loved (and very lucky) person will ever receive a quilt as a gift. If you recieve one, you must be loved so very much.

So do me a favor…. never, ever, ever call that quilt a blanket!!!!!


p.s. What do you think about the topic of Quits Vs. Blankets? Tell us in the comments below!

Disclosure: some of my posts contain affiliate links. If you purchase something through one of those links I may receive a small commission, so thank you for supporting SewCanShe when you shop! All of the opinions are my own and I only suggest products that I actually use. 🙂

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  1. Little Quiltsong says:

    Loved this post! So, so true. I too find so many people not appreciating the time and love sewn into a quilt. Handmade is Heartmade!

  2. Miss Daisy says:

    I Really Enjoyed your post , what you posted is so true. I crocheted my brother a scarf and hat and Never saw him wear it. I said Never Again ! At the time I was new at crocheting so it took me longer plus I have severe arthritis. So, for my labor of love , pain and time I got a slap in the face .

  3. Love, love, love this. Like you, I wish everyone would appreciate hand made items, not just quilts, but everything a person makes with their hands, heart and soul. Thank you so much for this Wish I could share on my Facebook Sewing page. Again, thank you.

  4. I’ve had this very conversation so often and just watched people’s eyes glaze over. I’m not sure whether they really don’t understand or just don’t want to. Needless to say, I won’t be making them a quilt!

  5. I quilt AND crochet; I’ve had both quilts and afghans referred to as blankets and it makes me crazy! Glad I am not alone in that. I get that not everyone knows the terms, but once I have said I made you a quilt or an afghan, PLEASE don’t lower it to the level of blanket! And, if you are going to crumple it in a ball in a closet (or let the dog use it!!!!), give it back to me and I’ll make sure it gets a loving home. OK, stepping back off my soap box now. Great post!

  6. Patricia clement says:

    And please realise if you live in Australia we pay up to $35:00 for a meter of fabric. A meter is approx 39 inches long. The Australian dollar is usually worth about 76 cents to your dollar. So the “ nice blanket” costs a lot more down here

  7. Judy Chastain says:

    So right, Caroline! And people who have not a clue about what goes in to making a quilt or no feeling of sentimentality won’t get a quilt from me. I gave one of my DILs a quilt because she liked the colors. I’ve never seen it since, and I’ve asked about it; she says it’s "somewhere." I gave a different DIL (and my son) a quilt one year for Christmas. The difference in those two experiences was like night and day. I know we aren’t the only quilters who don’t appreciate the "blanket" receivers. Frankly, it hurts.

    On the lighter side, I’m teaching my niece how to quilt, and the language that goes with it. It’s hard to get her past making "squares" (aka blocks) and a "blanket" (aka quilt). LOL

  8. I have been making quilts 40 years and an afghan maker for 46 years. I totally disagree with you. A quilt is a blanket and an afghan is a blanket. It has nothing at all to do with how long it takes to make either, nor does it have anything to do with the cost of materials. A blanket is a covering. That covering can be a covering of snow or it can be an afghan or a quilt or other covers made to blanket us or other things. A quilt is the process of joining two or more layers. Quilts are most often made for blanketing us. Afghan’s are made of yard whether they are crocheted or knitted, they are a blanket made of yarn. So, don’t get offended if someone calls a quilt or an afghan a blanket because, technically, they are blankets. It’s okay. Also, once your gift it, it’s theirs to do with as they wish. Not everyone has the love for quilts as you do. I personally only give them to people I know that love them and know all the work that goes into them. Has that stopped my niece’s dog from chewing on hers or has it stopped my nephew’s dog from chewing on his? No it hasn’t. Did it irritate me when I found out? Yes it did. Will I repair them? Of course I will. Will they allow their dog’s to chew up a quilt again? No. They learned their lesson. Everyone needs to take a chill pill and realize that a quilt and afghan are really blankets that are made to cover us and others.

    1. Melissa Shultz says:

      I have to agree with you.
      My grandma made quilts and my mom makes quilts. I have many quilts made by both of them. I also have a few afghans crocheted by both. I use two of the afghans my mom made for me all of the time. And my cat loves snuggling up in them.
      If I took the time to make a quilt or blanket for someone I would prefer they use it as a blanket then just hide it away somewhere. I mean, if it’s not a blanket then what does one expect the recipient do with it?
      I do understand that it is a more personal gift. And you wouldn’t give them to just anyone. But comparing shopping for a blanket vs making a quilt really is not the same thing at all. Someone made that blanket. Maybe instead compare yardage of material and time it takes to make that blanket that is sold online. What about "quilts" that are mass produced and sold as blankets? I cherish store bought blankets from niece who doesn’t sew as much as the hand quilted blanket from my grandma and my mom. They all have value and meaning to me. I also really love blankets.:)
      I find this article to be nothing but opinion, not fact.

  9. Colleen Woodcock says:

    I so agree with you on all points and will print this out and place it with each QUILT I make and GIVE away to those folks i consider worthy! When I first started quilting I made a small lap quits for my sister-in-law, I found it on the floor of the laundry room and assumed it need to be washed so I picked it up and put it on the washer. she walked in behind me and said "Oh it’s fine where it was the DOG really likes it and "drags it in to sleep on it"! YEP in my head rang out your words – "that’s the last quilt you will EVER get from me! BUT I guess I should have known better – the Christmas before I "Tatted" several ornaments for her and she tossed them in the trash thinking they were just gift packing decorations! Thankfully my husband found them and I took them home!

    Thank you again,
    CFW, Powhatan Va.

  10. Stacey Trichel says:

    So, so true, I have found that people do not have a clue as to the time it takes to make a quilt. They see the ones at the store & think they all are like that. When someone asks me to make them a "blanket", I tell them they sell them at Wal-mart, I make quilts! lol. My Mom taught me to crochet & I still have the king size afghan I made her about 30 years ago. I will pass it down when I am no longer here. My daughter sent me a little sign that says, "The children of quilters are blessed, for they shall inherit the quilts"!

  11. That is so true…..and the reason I will never make a quilt bigger than a baby one!!!

  12. Deborah Werner says:

    AMEN!! I cringe when I hear a quilt called a lowly blanket. True, both keep you warm, but there the likeness ends. NUFF SAID! Thanks for all you do. I depend on your tutorials to keep me out of trouble!

  13. Right on, Caroline. While Lisa may be technically correct, she didn’t add in the LOVE and emotion that goes into the quilt or hand knitted or crocheted Afghan (we could call these items coverings as well!). But I am right there with the majority of the commenters. A quilt is a quilt and please acknowledge that. We make the quilts and afghans out of love for a recipient—whether it’s family or friend or a charity. Please don’t dismiss the emotional time spent in making them.

  14. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I hope my family knows how much I love them!

  15. I agree with you.

    I remember quilts that my grandmother made for us. She used pieces left from other things and clothes. Most had a blanket inside instead of batting, usually army or navy blankets that men in the family had brought home. They were so warm and most people used them on the bed under the bedspread. Now they get shown off on the top. Times change. All are beautiful.

  16. Totally agree, but you didn’t include the time it takes to shop for the fabric, choosing colors is hard for me, so it takes time. Washing and pressing the fabric (I usually wash it before using it). Then cutting of the fabric is very time consuming on a queen size quilt. I kept track of the time it me to make a large queen size bargello quilt, are you ready for this, 100 hours, from beginning to end. Now it did have 20 colors in it.

  17. Here is a recent experience that will warm the quilt makers heart. I have a very dear friend who was recently diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. So, I decided to make her a “cancer quilt” to take with her to chemo treatments as I had heard those rooms are kept very cold. Upon receiving it, I got a call from her in tears, thanking me for the most precious and thoughtful gift, and the time I spent making this “special” gift for her comfort. She took it to her chemo and got oooh’s and ahhhhh’s from those there and responses of how wonderful a gift it was. Now I’m not tooting my own horn here. I’m just letting you know that there are those who appreciate and love the time you put into your quilt gift and it warms your heart as well

  18. A Geat article and oh so true. If you are not a quilter, it is difficult to understand the love and the value.

  19. Caroline – I think a better (perhaps more fair) comparison would be between making a quilt and making a blanket by hand. Making a blanket would involve purchasing at least 8 yards of fabric for the blanket (likely fleece or Minky) and 3/4 yard of fabric for the binding. Using your figures – $96 or more for the main blanket, $9 for the binding, $8 for a spool of good thread. – $113 total. I consider that a minimum as some shops charge more for fabric than others… and Minky or Fleece are not among the cheapest fabrics either. Time factor – your figures again, about 9 hours (possibly more if I were to do the making, as I am incredibly slow with hand stitching) to make, attach and finish the binding. Yes still less time and money involved in making a blanket than a quilt, but considerably more than $35.

  20. Bambi Pearson says:

    Don’t even get me started-Haha. I have had several people ask me to make them a quilt and only 1 of them have gotten one because it was a special request. I didn’t take a dime for it because it was made using shirts & ties from their deceased loved one. I am very choosy when it comes to making someone a quilt!

  21. Very good points, but I think the first one you made about your grandparents not being "makers" that makes all the difference in the world. But I decided that those who might be lucky enough to get a quilt from me is someone I love, and that is a way I show love.

  22. For all of you who believe that a quilt is a blanket, I’d suggest you google the following – "definition: quilt". I checked 3 or 4 online dictionaries and not once, I repeat, not once was the word blanket used in the definition of a quilt. This is fact – no opinion.
    That said, a handmade blanket should be a treasured item regardless of cost or hours of labour involved.
    Like Caroline and many others have said I have become very selective about whom I give my handmade quilts to. I made a very time consuming quilt as a wedding gift for friends whom I thought would appreciate it. Another friend who knows the couple had suggested it would look wonderful on a large, bare wall in their family room. The bride told me that it would come in handy for the camper. I had to bite my tongue to avoid asking for it back!
    BTW, I’m a Canadian and our dollar is about the same as the Australian dollar in terms of the US dollar so our quilts are very expensive to make as well.

  23. Elaine Cawadias says:

    What’s in a name? Is it a cookie or a biscuit? Is it a blanket or a quilt?
    Canadian (and American) First Nations peoples use both terms but the ceremonial presentation is still called a Blanketing Ceremony. Plains People have used Star Blankets to honour individuals at the time of life changing events such as births, deaths, graduations and marriages.

    1. Mindy Peterson says:

      Are you a quilter? It is a BIG deal. Besides the monetary issue it is also a talent issue. It takes no talent to buy a blanket. My family and friends know better than to call a quilt a blanket.

  24. I agree 100%. How about adding hand quilting. It takes me 0n average quilting a hour a day about 3 months to finish a queen size quilt. I’ve slso made fabric blankets . Time and cost does not compare. And it would break my heart to see my quilt thrown in the bottom of a closet. x

  25. It takes a lot longer than 39 hrs. Before the process begins there is a pattern or idea to decide on, plus a trip to the quilt store to pick out fabric. This process could take many hours. The shopping for the pattern and fabric takes much longer than picking out a blanket.

  26. Personally i would never gift a quilt or blanket to anyone unless they requested it and chose colors and the style etc. Otherwuse you are only instilling your own personal taste to that person and expecting them to display in their home. I love and appreciate the time it takes but i personally would not display a quilt in my own home unless it was a very understated modern design, as its not my personal taste.

  27. Ericka Plough Almestar says:

    I looove reading this. The passion you put in the words really mention everything to me. As sewers, cross stitchers, crafters we make presents for our loved ones but most of them don’t realize all the effort and hours of work out into them. Thanks for writing this!

  28. Ella Mae Collett says:

    Thank you so much for this. I’ve made people wedding quilts mind you oversized lap ones. Baby quilts. And just because quilts , I have received only a couple Thank yous
    They don’t get it. But I do get really nice thank yous when I do.

  29. Judeen Izzard says:

    This is a fantastic piece and so true. Thank you for writing it, it made me smile and now I can tell others the "Difference between a blanket and a Quilt!

  30. Great info but you never told the constructional difference between a blanket and a quilt. That was why I started reading. People need to know that more than the economical differences.

  31. We make and give quilts to show our love for special people. Our quilt ‘blankets’ that person in love, a warm hug every time it is used. I don’t have a problem with someone calling it a ‘blanket’ but I will generally explain the difference should I have the opportunity. A crocheted or knitted afghan is also a blanket, and it serves the same purpose as a quilt, it also is a ‘blanket of love’. Don’t really thing we need to get caught up in the semantics, life is too short to get upset about a name.

  32. Mary Delisle says:

    I am a quilt maker and a machine quilter. Your estimated time to make the quilt is underestimated. I have spent as much as 120 hours piecing a quilt, and up to 150 hours machine quilting it. I have quilts that have been appraised at $600.00, and that was for an 85" X 85 ". I have another quilt that cost me $600.00 to make and have longarm quilted.
    SO I HAVE NO PROBLEM letting people know how much it cost and how long it takes to make them. AND I NEVER GIVE A QUILT to people I do not know personally, or to people who have not been interested in quilts, or have asked me for one. BLANKET !! HA, no way.

  33. Deb Bragen says:

    And yet, one must take into account the person one is giving a gift to. I love quilting, but don’t love or want most quilts. That simple, super soft , Amazon blanket might be more pleasurable to me than a quilt that doesn’t match my tastes.

  34. Deborah Mohn says:

    Thanks for your article. Blankets are dandy and older ones were sometimes used as batting in quilts during the depression, but blankets are not quilts. I have my great-grandmothers’ quilts displayed in my home. They are too precious and fragile to put on the bed. Amy Green made fabulous crazy quilts with bits and pieces of well just about anything and lovely embroidered around each piece. I can’t imagine the time and thought that went into that one. It’s over 100 years old and priceless to me. Bessie Strauss loved applique and her tree of life quilt is mounted in another room. You don’t fit those beauties into your design. They are the centerpieces of the room. Quilters quilt for themselves. It’s a personal experience and certainly not the exercise in frugality it was back in Amy’s day. I can see and touch something like that wild crazy quilt and know the woman who made it in a way I cannot explain. Thanks for your article.

  35. I have never had the desire to make a quilt. One small reason is because I know it wouldn’t turn out like the picture in my head. The other reason is I wouldn’t know what to do with it, as they are too beautiful to put on a bed. I have a couple gorgeous quilts my husband’s aunt made in the 30’s, and one his mother made. They are folded and inside a cedar chest that has a rounded glass top and glass on three sides.

  36. Susan Iacuone says:

    Technically there IS a blanket museum … but they’re woven and it’s in Shetland.

  37. I am 91. I came to quilting late in life after years of every other sewing project. I had promised myself I would make a quilt (filled with love) for each family member before I died. I finished my last quilt for my grandson 2 years ago. I had someone else do the quilting on a machine which does add to the cost but it was a labor of love.

  38. This is a great post to enlighten me!
    Now I would also like to know how to use the quilts? No one made me quilts so I m planning to make one for myself! Want to know it’s exact uses

  39. I am going to use this post to educate customers that buy our quilts at our guild Boutique sales. They try to bargain with us to reduce our already low prices as if we are a yard sale. They don’t really understand. Thank you for your wise words.

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