Whether you’re a seasoned quilter or you’re thinking of starting this timeless and fun hobby, there’s never a shortage of quilting tips and tricks to help you on your next project. There are also an endless array of types of quilts to try to make if you feel like you want to mix it up!
The earliest known representation of a quilt is on the statue of an Egyptian Pharaoh dating back to 3400 B.C.! The oldest surviving quilt in existence is dated from the 14th century in Sicily. Quilting has been around for generations, and passing down a handmade quilt is one of the most timeless gifts to cherish.
Types Of Quilts
Hand Quilts – these are stitched together by hand, sometimes with the aid of a hoop to ensure the fabric remains taut. Hand quilting gives you the freedom to create unique designs and patterns that a machine just doesn’t allow for. You can use many different types of stitches as well. This method is relatively cheap as you don’t need any expensive equipment, but it does require patience and time as it’s not as “quick” as some other methods using machines.
Machine Quilts – obviously these are quilts that are put together with the aid of a machine. Machines really do speed up the time it can take to put a quilt together and it can help you create more even and precise stitching. Once you become proficient with the machine you can use it to create more varied designs and patterns with the stitching.
Longarm Quilting – this is a type of quilting that uses a special quilt stitching machine that is about 10-14 feet in length. The head can be moved with a computer or it can be guided by hand. This type of machine is rather expensive so it’s not for a beginner – rather it’s for the mature hobbyist or perhaps someone who is selling their quilts.
Block/Patchwork – Block quilts are put together using blocks or other shapes such as half triangles of varied patterns and materials. Generally a rough pattern is formed to create some unity, but there really are no rules! You can be as creative as you want, however you do want your shapes to follow a uniform sizing so that your quilt pieces match up correctly.
Applique – An applique is a piece or decoration for the top of the quilt that goes directly over the rest of the patterns. These can add some character and pizazz to spice up your quilting! They can be completely flat or they can be somewhat raised (aka with a thicker or furry fabric).
Trapunto – This is a type of quilting in which a stuffing or padding is put inside the quilt top to create the appearance of texture and a three dimensional pattern.
English Paper – Although it might sound complicated, English Paper quilting is simply a method by which quilters can sew complex patterns through the assistance of paper or acrylic templates. The designs possible through this method are incredible and can be quite complex and fun to do!
If you have a cherished quilt that you need to store, or you simply want to keep your handmade quilts safe between displaying them, here are a few tips on the care and keeping of quilts:
Choose a stable climate – if you want to store your quilts, choose a room that has a relatively stable climate and that isn’t too hot or damp. This usually means no attics or basements. A bedroom or living room closet is a good choice. Under the bed is a great idea too but ensure that your quilts are packed in a container to prevent them from getting too dusty.
If you must fold your quilt for storage, do so as loosely as possible. Take them out and refold them a different way from time to time to ensure that the fabric doesn’t retain folds or wrinkles. Allow them to air out and inspect them for any damages or issues (too much dust? pests?). Take this time to clean out the area where you’re storing them to get rid of dust and spiderwebs.
Mothballs are a good idea but they shouldn’t come into contact with the quilt itself as this can damage or discolor some fabrics.
And remember to enjoy the quilts that you have! They don’t do anyone any good hidden away – cycle them in and out of use/display from time to time to ensure that they are being seen and loved.