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Preserving Quilting As A Family Tradition

My grandmother and mother are both quilters. I love looking at the works of art that each have created over the years. My sister and I decided that we would like to learn how to quilt to keep this tradition alive in the family. Our mother makes very elaborate appliqué quilts. We knew that we did not want to start with something that complicated. We went to a fabric store together to find quilting patterns for beginners.

The sales clerk suggested that we start with a patchwork quilt. This would be less difficult and also less expensive. A patchwork quilt consists on different fabrics cut into pieces and sewed together to create the quilt top. A coordinating solid or print fabric is used for the back of the quilt and a batting is placed in between. The top and back are then quilted together through hand sewing with thread, or by tying knots through all the layers with pieces of yarn.

That process is known as tying a quilt. Each patchwork quilt is different because the quilter decides if each piece of fabric will be the same size and shape and also how to arrange the pieces. The clerk suggested using the same size squares of each fabric and to alternate the fabrics to create a sequence in the colors. As people get more involved in quilting they can create designs and patterns in the patchwork quilt by the placement of the colored fabrics. I decided that I would make the patchwork quilt for the bed in our guest room. I wanted jewel tones for this room. I chose three solid colors and three coordinating patterns. I found a striped fabric that featured all of the colors to use for the back of the patchwork quilt. My sister’s daughter is pregnant so she decided to make a baby quilt. She bought pastel colored solids and prints that had animals on them.

I like the look of hand stitched quilts so I new that I wanted to quilt my patchwork quilt by hand. I did not want to attempt an elaborate pattern for my first project so I decided to cut my different fabrics in six inch squares. Once I cut out my squares I arranged the squares alternating solids and patterns. I sewed the squares together and then pinned the top, bottom and filling together. With chalk I placed as X in each square. I then hand stitched the outline of the square and the X. I used an embroidery hoop to hold the fabric taunt while I sewed. I then used a solid color binding to complete the edging. My first patchwork quilt is not perfect, but I enjoyed doing the project and look forward to making another one.


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