A Brief History of Quilting For Beginners

Quilts as you like them


Quilting image courtesy of smiely

While there are excellent quilting traditions in America, notably the Amish quilts, it is a mistake to consider this an American art.  In the history of quilting, we find centuries old quilted firefighter and warrior uniforms from Japan, bedding and clothing from Scandinavian countries and heirloom quilts from around the globe.

Handmade quilts often become family treasures and museum pieces, but even today, modern quilters can take advantage of a long arm quilting machine to fashion beautiful garments and comforters that will become prized heirlooms.

We are most familiar with bed quilts, but aspiring quilters will be happy to know that they can learn how to make a quilt by starting out on small items, such as purses and totes, eyeglass cases, table runners and placemats.

Quilted Placemat

Quilted Placemat by heidielliott

Placemat photo courtesy of heidielliott

More than any other needle art, perhaps, quilting offers the greatest range to the beginner for individual expression.  While you may need to follow closely a pattern for a jacket when you are starting out sewing clothes, you can choose from a variety of fabrics for quilts and designs to create your own beautiful quilted items.  A collection by heidielliott demonstrates the ingenuity you can bring to the quilting arts.

Quilt work in progress

Work in progress photo by heidielliott

On the other hand, traditionalist have a wide range of classic designs and patterns to emulate as they dig deeper into the quilter’s art.  We have all seen examples of wedding ring, patchwork and crazy quilt patterns.  Each follows the rules for creating the signature design, yet no two are alike in their execution, so apparent is the individual stamp of the quilter in choosing fabrics, colors and placement of designs.

Aficionados can join The American Quilter’s Society to bond with other fans of quilting and keep apprized of shows and information on their craft.


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  • Header image, Two Little Fabric Cottages, courtesy of peregrine blue