Patchwork quilt patterns can range from very simple to extremely ornate, utilizing a wide range of shapes, colors and materials to give each one a one-of-a-kind look. Generally speaking, a patchwork quilt is made by sewing patches of different pieces of material together, following some sort of pattern to complete the top layer. Beneath the top layer of the quilt are a layer of insulation wadding, and a layer of backing material. There are countless patchwork quilt patterns-seemingly as many patterns as there are quilt makers. Patchwork quilts are probably the most popular style in North America. Discovering and using different patchwork quilt patterns can make your quilts both distinctive and beautiful.
Although there are patchwork quilts with blocks of different shapes and sizes sewn together haphazardly with no discernable pattern, most patchwork quilts are put together based on a pattern of some sort. Generally patchwork quilt patterns work off of blocks, usually but not always square in their shape and uniform in size. Although blocks are a common feature of many patchwork quilt patterns, there is still infinite variety to be found among the many patterns you can use.
For example, some of the simpler patchwork quilt patterns follow the same pattern in each individual block, only changing the colors or material used to make the pattern. The change of material itself can follow one of many patchwork quilt patterns, or be completely random. The visual effect of this type of patchwork quilt is reminiscent of the décor found in country homes in bygone years. The use of repeated colors can add to the overall appeal wherever the item is displayed.
Other patchwork quilt patterns are even simpler in style, with alternating patterned blocks throughout the design. Some of them have a checkerboard style with only two major colors or materials. Others have many more colors, creating more of a rainbow effect. Within this general style are many variations, such as using repeated symbols like hearts or houses cutout and sewn onto one of the particular sets of blocks. Many beginners just getting started with quilting begin by making checkerboard quilts. The alternating block pattern in general is the easiest to design, because it involves much less labor than some of the more ornate styles.
Many of those styles of patchwork quilt patterns, however, produce some of the most stunning finished pieces. With different patchwork quilt patterns within each block, they are a testament to both the patience and the creativity of the quilter. The overall look of a quilt with such a complex block pattern is something to be studied and admired-each block a separate creation in and of itself, but also a part of a unified whole. They can be a conversation piece, a treasured family heirloom, or both.
Among the nearly endless variety of patchwork quilt patterns there are to choose from, several types and styles are among the most popular. Some have been favorites of quilt designers for generations, while others are just beginning to become more fashionable for decoration and gift-giving. Some of the more popular patchwork patterns are also the easiest to create. Even as a novice, you can find a great deal of help in putting together the perfect design, from online tutorials to inexpensive books, many of which come with templates to trace and cut out to get you started.
The log cabin pattern has been a favorite among quilters since at least Civil War days. Like all patchwork quilt patterns, it has many variations, but one basic characteristic of all log cabin quilt designs is that they all have long strips sewn alternately in horizontal and vertical directions, all around a square piece of fabric sewn in the center. To sew log cabin patterns, you first must decide on a width for your strips. The wider the strips of fabric, the easier the process will be, but thinner strips make for a more ornate pattern.
Log cabin quilts with a particularly ornate pattern are sometimes called courthouse step quilts. Once you have all your materials cut out, you sew on the square in the center of the quilt, and then add strips of material all around the square, working your way out toward the outer edge of the quilt with each successive layer of strips. There are many patchwork quilt patterns available for log cabin style quilts, and the choice of contrasting colors and different materials for the "logs" can really make the quilt stand out. In laying out your strips, you can choose to diagonally separate darker from lighter colors, for example, use a single color for each successive row, or work them in randomly for an altogether different look.
The baby quilt is certainly an all-time favorite among all patchwork quilt patterns. Quilt enthusiasts never tire of laboring on these beautiful, soft blankets to bring home baby in. In baby quilts especially, the nine-block pattern is very common, a simple block pattern to build a design off of. In some derivatives of the nine-block pattern, the center block can be either larger than the others to create more room for a more ornate pattern, or smaller to draw the eye more to the outside edges. In either case, a center block of a different size will create a disparity among the eight remaining, making four of the others rectangles and the other four squares. Some baby quilts aim for pleasing combinations of soft shapes and colors to blend in with the appointed décor of the nursery, while others are more thematic, evoking images of princesses or fire trucks. In any case, the choice of material for the quilt blocks is paramount, with an emphasis on warmth and softness for the baby.
In modern years, patchwork quilt patterns have been revolutionized in certain ways with the use of both modern materials and technology. Whereas in the past the quilt was in many cases an alternative wall hanging often displayed next to family photographs, some of today's patchwork quilts utilize techniques from yesteryear and add a modern twist, such as including those photos right in the quilted material. As easy as it is to get nearly anything printed on T-shirt material and the like, some quilts have become less an arbitrary or generalized piece of art, and more an expression on the life of whomever they were sewn for. Quilt-making mothers often sew together patchwork quilts for their children to take with them as they go away to college, with souvenirs of their childhood attached to the various blocks-sports jerseys, copies of school pictures, and yes, pieces of their own baby quilts. With this new twist on an old hobby, gift-giving comes full circle, reminding the recipients that while they may be all grown up, to get where they are going they will need to remember where they came from. Quiltmaking is an old art steeped in many traditions; one of the biggest traditions of all is one of innovation, of taking patchwork quilt patterns and making them new.