What is a Quillow and How to Fold it

Watch our quilt experts fold a quillow.

We are often asked “What is a Quillow”? A quillow is essentially a combination of a quilt and a pillow, creating a unique and convenient item. While the exact origins of quillows remain unknown, they have gained significant popularity in Lancaster County. These versatile pieces are highly sought after as gifts and are available in a wide range of designs and colors. When unfolded, a quillow expands to the size of a twin-sized mattress, making it perfect for cozying up on the couch. Once you are finished using it, you can easily fold it back up into a pillow, serving the dual purpose of protecting the quilt inside and adding a decorative touch to your living space.

A quillow, similar in construction to a handmade quilt, is crafted using cotton fabrics and features a plush, thick batting inside, reminiscent of a puffy sleeping bag. Instead of being hand-quilted, a quillow is secured through multiple sections with hand-tied knots, ensuring that the batting remains in place. The outer layer of the quillow, which serves as the decorative front piece, often showcases a distinctive design, such as a folded star, compass, log cabin square, autumn leaf, or a panel with animals. In many cases, these front sections are embellished with hand-quilting around the front design. Apart from these details and the hand-tying that secures the three inside layers of the quillow, the remainder of the quilt is machine-pieced for enhanced durability.

When it comes to unfolding a quillow, it’s a breeze, but folding it back up can prove to be quite a challenge, especially for those who are new to using it. However, fear not, as there are two different methods to successfully fold a quillow, and our dedicated sales specialists at our shop are more than delighted to guide you through the process with their informative demonstrations. We also provide written instructions on folding and caring for your quillow. And in case you ever find yourself struggling with folding your quillow back up, you can always refer to our video tutorials that are available on our YouTube page and here on our website.

Unfolding a Quillow

Once again, this is the simple part! All you need to do is pull out the inner part of the quillow that is tucked into the pocket. After that, grab the pocket and turn it inside out, shaking it until the lap quilt is spread out flat. And voila, you now have a lap-sized quilt to cozy up under. Additionally, the pocket that the quilt was folded into can also be used as a cozy foot warmer or a spot to rest your head.

Quillow Folding Method #1

To convert your lap quilt back into its pillow form, follow these steps: Lay the quilt flat with the pocket facing down. Fold the quilt in thirds along the seam lines that naturally fold around the pocket. Begin folding the quilt lengthwise into thirds until it becomes almost perfectly square, still with the pocket facing downwards. Take hold of the inside of the pocket and fold it inside out and wrap it around the folded quilt, enclosing the folds. Insert your hand into the pocket, grab the fabric, and pull everything back inside. Use your hands to adjust and smooth the quillow until it regains its original shape.

Quillow Folding Method #2

Once again, lay the lap quilt flat with the pocket side facing down and fold it into thirds along the seam lines around the pocket. This time, turn the pocket right side out first. Next, starting from the bottom, fold the blanket up into the pocket, leaving some of the insides visible. Fold it one more time, flattening and adjusting it inside the pocket. Finally, adjust and smooth the quillow until it regains its original shape.

Caring for Your Quillow

In addition to the folding instructions, we provide a set of washing and care instructions with each quillow. These instructions are the same as those we provide for our handmade quilts. Since the material used to make a quillow is identical to that of a handmade quilt, we recommend treating it in the same manner. It is suggested to machine-wash the quillow in cold water and on a gentle cycle with mild detergent. Adding a small amount of white vinegar during the first wash can naturally soften the fabrics. Additionally, using a Shout Color Catcher Sheet can help capture any color that may bleed from the fabric during the initial wash. It is important not to put the quillow in the dryer, as this may cause it to shrink and weaken the materials. Instead, always hang the quillow to dry. Once it is completely dry, you may fluff it in the dryer with no heat.

Make sure to stop into The Quilt Shop at Miller’s to see our full selection of quillows. They are available in numerous colors and patterns. We also offer virtual shopping experiences for those that can’t make it into our shop and would like to have one purchased and shipped to them. 

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