How to find cool quilts
Quilts… Aren’t they neat! They come in all sizes and for all purposes; they can decorate walls, floors, furniture or serve as bed covers; they can be soft or abrasive; they can be whole cloth or a veritable mosaic of patches; they can be colorful and vivacious, or bright and relaxing. Best of all, they can be decorated in a virtual infinity of patterns.
There are traditional geometric ones, ratty, patchy ones with a heavy stitch, and some new cool quilts that look like Mondrian paintings. You can even add figurative images unto them by applique; you can add flowers, hearts, cats, and cars, whatever your creativity leads you to.
There’s so much to say about quilts that one doesn’t know where to begin. The safe bet is always to begin with a bit of history, so let’s start from where quilting as we know it appeared in America.
How to choose the coolest quilts
Like any tradition, it arose from necessity. Due to a scarcity of local fabric and a high price being placed on imports from Europe, local housewives started recycling old patches of textile by sewing them together into bigger blocks.
These were used mainly as bed coverings and as wrappings for newborns, but they also served a decorative purpose. There are a lot of well traditional quilt designs to be found out there, either available for sale or to be used as inspiration for your own quilting endeavors.
Traditional commemorative quilts
These are generally made by groups of local women to commemorate special events, of a personal, local or national importance, such as weddings, births, graduations, homecomings, elections and even wars.
Quilts made to raise money for a specific cause usually have the donor’s name embroidered on them. These served — and still serve — a whole number of causes, from disaster relief to offering a symbolic parting gift for a pastor or funding the building of a new church.
They were even used as fundraisers for wars or gifts for returning veterans. Military-themed quilts typically feature patterns resembling medals, patriotic symbols, and even unit insignia.
Quilting, however, is a peaceful, relaxing activity. Like any light and repetitive manual labor, it elicits a state of serenity and deep contemplation in the person performing it. No wonder, it’s lately become very popular as a hobby.
Classic quilt designs
Wedding quilts follow either an interlocking ring pattern — with obvious symbolic significance — or a tulip floral pattern, which used to symbolize love back in the day. If anyone tries to sell you a heart pattern as a traditional wedding design, don’t buy into it! Hearts were never used as such since the heart-shaped pattern tearing was seen as ominous.
Baby quilt patterns tend to feature intricate shapes and pure colors, to give them a lively, joyful feel. Sometimes you’ll find these with an object pattern, such as a windmill or a sailboat, which alludes to a possible career path for the newborn. They are pretty difficult to saw, however, due to their small sizes.
Make your own quilts!
There are scores of websites out there offering you both traditional quilt patterns to use for a vintage, carefully crafted piece or new and cool quilt ideas to make your own original bed covering for a pittance.
After all, being thrifty is getting to be a necessity lately, and this is how quilting started in the first place. Assuming you are new to quilting, here are some tips we found useful for this type of handiwork:
Thirst thing to do is choose patterns that only require large pieces. This will save you a lot of time since everything goes painfully slow for a beginner. Besides covering a bigger part of the base area, large pieces also give you fewer seams to sew, thus leaving less room for error.
Quilt patterns that only use squares and rectangles are alway easiest to work with. They don’t pose much difficulty to be placed at straight angles from one another and are also easier to sew. With a triangle, for example, it’s hard to tell if you are stretching the material too much or not enough because you cannot always determine if its edges are at the right angle.
Although this might prove a little more costly (meaning more costly than not at all), you could start out with pre-cuts. These are pieces of fabric that can be purchased from stores already cut into various shapes. They might subtract from the originality of your creation, but they offer an added measure of accuracy and can save you a lot of time of careful cutting.
You might also consider taking a beginner’s class. Most courses are structured to teach all the basics in the first session, so it might prove useful even for people who don’t have the inclination to stick around.
You could also look for a beginner or novice label on the patterns you purchase. These are usually easy enough to identify following the tips above but some apparently complicated patterns might be deceptively easy, and you might be shying away from some cool quilts patterns that are fully within your ability.
Quilts are used to create a warmer environment, both literally and figuratively. Considering you used the right material for the job, they are useful as blankets; armchair covers can be utilized as carpets for an excessively cold patch of a tile floor or hung from the walls as makeshift insulation, oriental style.
But first and foremost, they add a bit of liveliness and color to every room. Even when pale, their intricate patterns break the monotony of straight lines and angles that dominate most modern homes. They give it a more rustic, “homely” feel which separates it in our mind from the often drab outside and the slow, precise grind of our nine to fives.
It worths mentioning that there are quilts out there for the those more inclined toward minimalism. While these take from the simpler and colder patterns found in modern art, we cannot help but get the feeling their effect is the same.