A long time ago quilters used fabric from worn clothing to make quilts. They could be beautiful but more often than not they were made for practical reasons. Then there were the calicos in feed sacks and of course the Victorian era rolled around and we were give the joy of luxurious fabrics and embellishments but we were still limited.
It wasn't until the boom of quilting began I think around the 1976 bicentennial celebrations that brought us the fabrics we enjoy today. This article at Womenfolk.com explains this very well.
Today we have the nicest variety of material to create our artwork. I was at a retreat this weekend and here are just of few of the beautiful types being made.