Here’s Where You Can Find Custom Quilts
Handmade quilts are something to be treasured. They’re an art form unto themselves and have played various roles across history — the most notable being that it was claimed quilts played a hand in a secret code to help slaves along the Underground Railroad. However, their most practical use was providing warmth, though they also could also tell stories, showcase creativity, and provided hours of practice and entertainment. And quilts that have been passed down through generations are treasured heirlooms and a wonderful keepsake to pass on to future generations. Today, much quilting is done recreationally, with over 20 million people quilting, according to a study in 2014. Custom quilts, memory quilts, bereavement quilts, and baby quilts are all common and with the Internet, free patterns (and patterns for sale) abound. Quilters also have more platforms with which to sell their work as well, making a hobby also potentially profitable.
The History of Quilts
The origins of quilts can be found in ancient Egypt and China, around 3400 BC. Three layers of fabrics were all stitched together to keep the middle layer from slipping around or clumping in odd places. The three layers are of course, the top, the batting (for warmth), and the backing. The oldest existing quilt is the Tristan Quilt, which is dated back to 1360-1400 or so.
Today, quilts can be machine stitched as well, but hand stitching is prized as part of skill, authenticity, and time spent. The five most commonly used hand stitches are the outline, lazy daisy, satin, cross, and French knot stitches. Patchwork and piecing is one of the most common techniques that come to mind when one thinks of quilting, but there are many other techniques used as well, such as reverse appliqué or trapunto. And of course, various styles have sprung up over the years as well.
Where Can I Learn to Quilt?
If you’re interested in making, for example, a custom memory quilt or just learning the basics of quilting, there are plenty of classes (both online and in person) available. Your local craft store or fabric store might offer classes to help engage the community (and boost sales) and you might even find classes taught independently by community members.
Resources also abound online and you can teach yourself using online videos, as well as find a variety of patterns — some free, some paid. From baby quilt patterns to memory quilt patterns, the Internet is a great place to begin.
However, for most beginners, interacting with a person is still the best way to learn. They can correct your mistakes, answer tough questions, and if you get stuck, help you figure out where you went wrong and find a solution. They can make it a less frustrating process overall and encourage you not to give up if you’re stuck on a particular area. Plus, their expertise and end result can be inspiring and give you something to strive for yourself!
Where Can I Find a Custom Quilt?
On the other hand, if you’re less interested in learning how to make a custom quilt yourself and would rather just buy one, there are plenty of online shops or platforms where you can find one. It’s a great way to support artisans and an old craft — and to encourage people to keep on learning the craft.
Depending on where you live, you may also be able to purchase custom quilts right from your community, which is even better. Getting to talk to a quilter and explain what you’re looking for or select a quilt from their wares is a special experience. Juried shows and other art shows may also offer quilts for sale and some galleries even have special quilt shows to showcase quilters’ work.
The wonderful thing about quilting is how creative and expressive the quilter can be while creating. Whether you’re a traditionalist, art quilter, or a modern quilter — or dabble in all three — there’s lots of joy to be found in quilting, as well as satisfaction and pride in seeing your work out in the world.