Archive for September, 2011

Tracking Today’s Trends in Quiltmaking, Part 1

Posted in Uncategorized on September 6, 2011 by rjohn

On June 27, 2009, Jean Ann Wright


gave a Rug and Textile Appreciation Morning program on “Tracking Today’s Trends in Quiltmaking.”

This program was one of several the TM has arranged in conjunction with its recent exhibition of Amish Quilts.

(Note that you can see one piece and a description of this exhibition using the link above.)

This virtual version of this Rug and Textile Appreciation Morning has two parts.  This is Part 1 and is devoted to letting you see some projected images of quilts with which Ms. Wright began her program.  It also includes some additional comment that a colleague and I have added (this latter is explained below).

Part 2 of this virtual version provides images and discussion of the quilts that Ms. Wright and members of the audience had brought it.  You can go to Part 2 using the link immediately below:

Tom Goehner, the TM’s Curator of Education introduced Ms. Wright, sketching her background and experience.   She edited both Quilting Magazine and Quilting Review.  But here, in this virtual version we can provide access to some details.

First, here is her card:


And three relevant links:

the third of these links, below, is for a quilting group to which Ms. Wright belongs.

One of these friends was in the room with her.

If you have dipped into any of these links, you now know that Ms. Wright has a deep experience as a quilter, as an editor of quilting publications, and as a quilt designer.

I attended this RTAM with a former work colleague, Dottie Reed, who is also a long-time quilter.  This virtual version of this program will draw on notes Dottie took during this session, but also on her own knowledge and experience as a quilter.

This opportunity to construct this virtual version with Dottie is a very unusual one, like having access to an active weaver while one talks about rugs and textiles.  And I am going to take full advantage of it.

Sometimes in our side conversations Dottie has provided detailed information that might move beyond the needs of some more casual readers.  I will retain such passages, but label them, so that those with a more general level of interest in quilts and quilting can skip by them without loss of the central features of the Rug and Textile Appreciation Morning program on which this virtual version is based.

I want to begin by setting out some of the major distinctions that exist nowadays concerning quilts and quilting.  As the title of Ms. Wright’s program indicates, there are “trends” in quilt making.  Things have changed over the years and are still changing.  So, to these distinctions about quilting.

Traditionally, quilts have been textiles with a “pieced” or “appliqued” design face, a middle layer of batting, and a backing, which usually is one piece, but also may be pieced.

(A pieced backing may be so elaborate as to consider it a reversible quilt, or it may be more modestly pieced than the design front.)

(A “pieced” quilt face is one in which the decorative face is composed of pieces that have been sewn together at their edges.  An “appliqued” quilt face is one in which the pieces that make up the decorative face have been sewn onto an underlying fabric, usually of a neutral color.)

These three layers (the decorative face, the batting and the back) were traditionally sewn together (this is the “quilting” aspect) by hand.  But as we come forward in time, machine stitching has also been used and, nowadays, very elaborate sewing machines have emerged that can perform a wide variety of quilting stitches.  So some quilts that, if not examined closely, look like traditional hand-sewn ones, are machine stitched.


Note 1 for the REALLY interested:

The thread used for quilting has also undergone modernization, with the use of colored thread, variegated thread, even “invisible” thread.

With the use of “invisible” thread in the machine bobbin, a quilt can almost appear to be be hand quilted.   The invisible thread is a very fine version of fish-line monofilament.   A machine cannot mimic hand quilting.  In hand quilting there is a space between each stitch on a given side where the thread goes to the other side of the quilt.  In machine quilting, the top thread and thread and the bobbin thread loop together to lock each stitch into place and there is no space between the stitches.  The invisible thread won’t show through on the surface of the quilt and the effect can look like hand quilting.


Note 2 for the really interested treats some additional aspects of traditional quilts.

Traditional pieced quilt designs are usually either one-patch quilts [squares, equilateral triangles, octagons, (grandmother’s flower garden)


or multi-patch blocks in which the pieces form a pattern in each block.

The multi-patch blocks have names such as “nine patch,

mosaic-9 patch quilta

in” which the nine squares have an alternating color pattern and are separated by blocks of a single color or by strips of fabric.  Other mult-patch designs include: Ohio star, lone star (a very large single star made of diamond-shaped pieces, “Burgoyne surrounded,”


“hole in the barn door,” “log cabin,” etc.  Another traditional pieced quilt which was very popular during the Victorian era is “crazy patchwork,”


in which odd shapes were fitted together to make a block.

Here is a complete “crazy block” quilt:

Traditional quilts were divided into “utility quilts” – to be used to keep warm, and “best quilts.”  Utility quilts were often “whole cloth” quilts composed of a single piece of fabric on the front and another on the back.  Any design was in the quilting.

The simplest example of a whole cloth quilt is a mattress pad, and the most elaborate whole cloth quilts reach the level of art quilts.


“Applique” quilts  were either “broderie perse”


in which large-printed designs of flowers or other objects were cut from fabric and rearranged on a plain (usually white or creme) fabric to create and original design


in which a quilter created a flower, house, horse, cat, or other object from one or more pieces of colored fabric and sewed the object to another fabric.

“Baltimore Album” applique quilts

BalitmoreAlbumquiltThere are more here:

are considered “traditional” and reached a high form of art.

Baltimore album quilts became popular in the mid-1800’s in Baltimore, MD.  Individual blocks were extremely elaborate and frequently each block was made by a different woman as a wedding gift (see  Many of these quilts reach the level of “art.”  This form of applique is still popular today for accomplished quilters, and while some use elaborate blocks, others, such as the “Conway Album Quilt” (see the web site above) are less elaborate, more modern versions.


Traditional applique quilts were hand-stitched, with stitching as nearly hidden as possible.  Today, applique is done both by hand and machine, and there are several different ways  to machine applique, all of which have different appearances.

A second set of quilts, nowadays, are called “art quilts.” An “art quilt” is one that is innovative, but that meets the definition of “art” rather than “craft.” With “art quilts” the emphasis is on the designs created. Art quilts may or may not conform to the usual definition of a quilt.  They may or may not be sewn wonderfully.  They may not be sewn at all, as some approach fabric collage.  Dottie: “I’ll never forget the ‘art quilt,’ that was exhibited here at The Textile Museum ten years ago, and that was held together with safety pins.”

“Art quilts” may be hand or machine-stitched, may be abstract designs, may be pictorial, or may be an innovative way of arranging a traditional block.  For example, the traditional “flying geese” block is rectangular


made from three equilateral triangles placed in a row.

A modern innovation has been to stretch the triangles so that the geese fly in a circle.


(The image above does not show the full quilt that resulted from this innovation.  When it was first made by Carol Fallart it was an art quilt, but it has been copied many times since then.)

“Art quilts” sewn on a machine  can still be very time-consuming.

Traditional quilts were mostly geometric.  “Calico” fabrics, are plain woven textiles with very small repeating designs. They are inexpensive and have been popular with quilters for a long time.  During the Depression, feed sacks were printed with 30s style “calico” patterns and were widely used for quilts.  And these “antique” fabrics or reproductions of them have become popular again for many quilters.

A further note on “calico:”  “Calico” is a type of printed fabric.  The term “calico” has different meanings according to the country in which it is used.  Originally, “calico” was a plain-woven textile which originated in the city of Kozhikode, Kerala, India, which was known by Europeans as “Calicut” in the 11th century.

Amish quilts are a distinct type of “traditional” quilt, using only solid colors in a simple, large, geometric design but with elaborate quilting. The block designs above are examples of traditional quilt blocks.


Note 3 for the very interested:


“Art quilt” makers do not so much desire the ability to sew wonderfully fine and regular stitches by hand, but rather yearn for the most advanced sewing machines with complex quilting capabilities.  (Dottie Reed was a traditional quilter, but now works mostly by machine.  She says that like art quilts, the quilts she makes nowadays are “non-traditional and innovative” but, modestly adds “…I don’t know if they reach the definition of “art quilts.”)

Until about the late 1960’s to 1970, sewing machines mostly sewed the “straight stitch,” (like that used in most clothing), although some early machines sewed a “chain stitch” (like you see on a bag for dog food, where you grab the end of the string and pull the stitching out — not very practical for clothing.

But in the late 60’s-early 70’s, the “zig-zag” stitch (which was patented in 1873) was introduced more generally.  Now sewing machines often had “cams” that enabled the machine to stitch button holds (a real blessing) and other simple designs.

Later, variations of the zigzag stitch were added, as were simple embroidered patterns.  Today’s innovations in sewing machine capabilities include the above-mentioned quilting stitches, entire patterns for quilting a quilt block, elaborate embroidery designs, may even make lace edgings and free-standing lace designs, the ability to sew in a circle, may connect to computers to download designs from the web, etc.

Talking about the sewing machines most of today’s quilters use, Dottie said that she invested a few years ago in a “Mercedes-level” model and that, while it does good work, she now longs for the “Lamborghini-level-machines” that have since come to market.)


[“Cheater” quilts that include the entire design of one side of a quilt (we will show you one later) are not “art quilts.”  They are the lazy, quick way to make some “utility” quilts.  Cheaters tend to be used on quilts that get used and washed a lot, and that can get worn out.  They are often used on any quilt where it is not worth the time to piece the top.  Charity quilts (such as those quilters made for Hurrican Katrina victims) or those given to people to whom you are not close but for whom a gift is obliged, are examples of such quilts.]

Beginning in the 1930’s, a third level of quilting activity, the ” quilt kit”, became available. These kits responded to the fact that many women would like to make a quilt or two, but don’t have the time to do all the preparation and design work that quilting, more comprehensively defined, can entail.  The kits made this possible by supplying the fabric selection, the design, and complete assembly and sewing instructions. Not only is this something of time-saver, it also ensures, for the novice quilter, that the fabric designs and colors work well together.

So some folks, like Ms. Wright, have become “designers of quilts,” often working with fabric companies to produce attractive quilt designs that can be sold as kits to busy quilters.

A quilt kit contains a specific pattern for either a patchwork (pieced) quilt or an applique quilt, a picture of what it will look like when finished, enough fabric to complete the top of the quilt (sometimes some of the pieces are pre-cut) and instructions for how to put the quilt top together.   These kits make it possible to make a quilt top in a few days or less, sometimes as little as a day.

The quilt kits, in addition to saving time, ensure that color and scales choices, choices of fabrics which are used are attractive when placed together, and, for “art quilt” kits, that the design is of a high quality.

This third level seems to be that at which most of Ms. Wright’s current work resides, and her program demonstrated that there are real design skills associated with taking a set of fabrics provided by a given fabric manufacturer and producing from it an attractive quilt design and kit.

With these preparatory remarks we turn to Ms. Wright’s program proper.  She started with a


with a PowerPoint assisted talk on quilts she has made and/or designed.  She showed 25.  I was able to take single photos of about 15 of them.  Here they are in the sequence shown.

The first four quilts Ms. Wright showed below all seem to be innovative, one-of-a-kind quilts that reach the definition of “art quilt” (whether or not they qualify as pure “art”).

We have provided further comments on some of these first four below.


Quilt 1

Quilt 1 combines the dominant foreground images of an elephant with a faint, background echo of a traditional “double wedding ring” design.


Quilt 2

In Quilt 2 egrets are staggered with over-under checkerboard strips with have color that move them forward in these areas, but fainter checkerboard areas serve, mostly, as a shadowy background for the egret panels.


Quilt 3

Quilt 3 is a painting of plant forms on fabric.  It is obviously bound and presumably quilted, although the quilting stitches cannot be seen in this image.  In fact, in most most or all of the images we present, here, the quilting stitches are not visible, but if they were absent, the finished quilt would be baggy.  This piece is a 66 inch square.


Quilt 4

Quilt 4 features tree forms, radially arranged around an eight-lobed central medallion and further decorated with vines and flower.  An overall expanding geometric “star” impression is projected.  This is an antique, pieced and appliqued bed-sized quilt (72 inches square).


Quilt 8

No comment on Quilt 8.


Quilt 12

No comment on Quilt 12.


Quilt 13

No comment on Quilt 13.


Quilt 15

Quilt 15 is a shaped, wall-hanging quilt, composed of three quilt panels hanging close together.  The squares at the top are most likely loops through which a rod of some sort is passed through to hang the quilt on the wall.

John comment:  Dottie does not comment on such a wall-hanging quilt being especially unusual, but to a non-quilter it was a surprise that there are quilts of this sort.


Quilt 16

Quilt 16 is a very innovative piece of work.

The background fabrics are decorated with circles made of novelty yarns which are couched on.  [“Couched” means that that the yarn or other item (string, ribbon, etc.) is laid on the underlying surface and attached with an up and down stitch.    The up sides and the down sides of the stitches are often of shorter and longer lengths ,depending on the function or effect desired.  If “attaching” is the primary function (as it appears to be in this quilt) the stitch on the top surface is very short and effectively disappears into the material.  (One can also make the upper surface stitch effectively invisible by using thread or a similar small fiber.) If the function of the couching is to “create pattern,” the length(s) of the stitches on top surface will be longer.]

The dangles are curled ribbon.  The bottom strip of fabric with the “pebble” design), is a batik.

Overall Quilt 16 is 20 inches square.


Quilt 17

Dottie’s notes say that Quilt 17 is a “log cabin” variation, but she says that the sense in which this may be true is not evident to her.  Regardless, she says, it is a wonderful quilt, made of one-square blocks of very unusual fabrics.  Some squares may be batiks, some may be hand-painted, and some look like hand-painted batiks.


Note 4 for the very interested, this time, in “log cabin” quilts.

Dottie says that Quilt 18 (for which we do not have a good image) is, definitely a log cabin quilt, but a non-traditional one.  She sent me a little treatise on the “log cabin” design and I’m including it here.

Here is an image of a traditional “log cabin” design.

Traditional Log Cabin Design

The traditional “log cabin” design has a small red (for the chimney) block in the center, with strips of the same width placed in rotation around each side until the desired size of the finished block is reached.  Here, below, is a single block from a traditional ‘log cabin”  design.


Also, traditionally, one diagonal half of the square consists of light fabrics and the other half of medium colored or dark fabrics.

Here’s how blocks of this sort can be combined to make a complete quilt face.


Such versions of the “log cabin” design are probably the oldest and simplest of multi-piece, quilt blocks.  Some such blocks appear to date back to ancient Egypt where mummified cat wrappings used this design.

Traditionally, in the U.S. “log cabin” blocks can be set together in many different ways.  Some conbinations have their own names.

Here is one “catalog” of “log cabin” variations in black and white.

There is more discussion of the “log cabin” design at:

But the “log cabin” design has spawned some very non-traditional variations.  Here, below, is one that is very new and very non-traditional.


This is a variation of the “log cabin” block design composed of triangular shapes instead of squares.

You  can read a little more about it at this link:


Back to Ms. Wright’s projected quilts.


Quilt 21 (a fuzzy detail of it)
Quilt 21 is an innovative quilt using rectangles cut from commercial fabrics.


Quilt 24

Quilt 24 was made from a fabric collection.  It consists of a central star block (one of a great many star variations) surrounded by a multi-colored, checkerboard (one patch) square border and a variation of the “clamshell” block.


Quilt 25

Quilt 25 is also made from a fabric collection.  We can’t tell from the photo whether this is pieced with individual pieces of fabric or put together with one or more pieces of fabric with a quilt block printed on it.  It appears to be bordered with a separate fabric.


Quilt 26

Quilt 26 is a collection of individual squares of different flowers from one or more printed fabrics and framed by different coordinating fabrics.  These squares are framed by narrow dark border and a wonderful outer border that may be a batik.  The outer dark area is a binding that matches the dark, narrow, minor border on the inside edge of the major border.


Quilt 27

Ms. Wright described Quilt 27 as from the “Flower Bucket Collection.”  This quilt is pieced with the flowers most likely appliqued.  Ms. Wright said that it is notable for its use of color, although red-green usages in quilts are frequent and traditional.

Perhaps, Ms. Wright was pointing to the fact that the red and green usages are of two  of the most directly complementary colors on the color wheel (they are literally opposite one another).  Some like yellow-green conbinations, and they, too, can be attractive, but yellow’s strongest complement is purple.  So, while a “red-green” combination is not unusual, it does exhibit stronger complementary contrast than would any other combination used with either of them.

In Quilt 26, a single, boxed flower form is placed, but not centered, on a traditional checkerboard, which is in turn placed asymmetrically inside a wider, flower-patterned fabric border, and two narrower borders further still to the outside in light and medium green.  Even further outside this border array are two more, first, a pieced strip border, and to the very outside, a scalloped border in red.

This scalloped usage is similar to some “tongue” usages as outside borders on “penny” rugs.  Dottie suspects that a teacup or saucer was used to cut these scalloped pieces.

The combination in a single quilt of all the elements described above is non-traditional and creative.  Simple non-traditional designs like this  have been sold as patterns or kits.

Ms. Wright had brought a few quilts “in the fabric,” and she showed these next.

To see these quilts and those brought in by members of the audience you need to use the link below to go to Part 2 of this“Tracking Today’s Trends in Quiltmaking.”

Dottie Reed and John Howe

Tracking Today’s Trends in Quiltmaking, Part 2

Posted in Uncategorized on September 6, 2011 by rjohn

This is Part 2 of  a Rug and Textile Appreciation Morning program give by Jean Ann Wright at The Textile Museum here in Washington, D.C.  on June 27, 2009  on the subject of “Tracking Today’s Trends in Quiltmaking.”

The program began with comments by Ms. Wright on a number of projected quilt images.  If you have not seen Part 1, it is located at the link below:

I had the advantage of attending this program and working on this virtual version of it with Dottie Reed, a friend and former work colleague, who is herself and experienced and active quilter.

So Part 1 includes, not only Ms. Wright’s descriptions of her projected quilts, but some elaborations and asides  by Dottie about some aspects of quilting.

The first quilt that Ms. Wright had brought “in the fabric” was the one below.


Brought in Quilt 1

No comment on Brought in Quilt 1.

Closer detail images of the pieces in the room were possible.  Here are those taken for Brought in Quilt 1.





The next piece was Brought in Quilt 2 below.


Brought in Quilt 2

No comments on Brought in Quilt 2.

Detail images of Brought in Quilt 2 follow.




The next piece shown was Brought in Quilt 3, below.


Brought in Quilt 3

No comments on Brought in Quilt 3.

Here are some closer detail images of this quilt.



The image below is of a corner of the back of Brought in Quilt 3.


The next piece was Brought in Quilt 4.


Brought in Quilt 4

No comment on Brought in Quilt 4.

Here, below, are some closer detail images of parts of Brought in Quilt 4.





Brought in Quilt 5

No comment on Brought in Quilt 5.

Here, below, are some closer details of parts of Brought in Quilt 5.



Again, below is a corner of the back of Brought in Quilt 5.



Bought in Quilt 6

No comment on Brought in Quilt 6.

Below are closer detail images of Brought in Quilt 6.



Here is the back of Brought in Quilt 6.


And here, below, is a closer detail of part of this same back.



Brought in Quilt 7

No comment on Brought in Quilt 7.

Detail images of Brought in Quilt 7.






Brought in Quilt 8

No comment on Brought in Quilt 8.

Detail images of Brought in Quilt 8.






Brought in Quilt 9

N0 comment on Brought in Quilt 9.

Details of Brought in Quilt 9 below.




Here, below, is the back of Brought in Quilt 9.


And, below, again is a closer detail of that back.



Brought in Quilt 10

No comment on Brought in Quilt 10.

Below are detail images of Brought in Quilt 10.





Below is the back of Brought in Quilt 10.


Here, below, is a closer detail of this back.



Brought in Quilt 11

No comment on Brought in Quilt 11.

Details on Brought in Quilt 11.




Below is the back of Brought in Quilt 11.


And, again, below, is a closer detail of that back.



Brought in Quilt 12

No comment on Brought in Quilt 12.


Brought in Quilt 13

No comment on Brought in Quilt 13.

Details on Brought in Quilt 13.




Brought in Quilt 15

No comment on Brought in Quilt 15.

Detail images on Brought in Quilt 15



The image below is a slightly turned corner of the back of Brought in Quilt 15.



Brought in Quilt 16

No comment on Brought in Quilt 16.

Detail images of Brought in Quilt 16.




Brought in Quilt 17

No comment on Brought in Quilt 17.

Detail images on Brought in Quilt 17.




The next items shown focused on pieces I had brought.  I mostly collect oriental rugs and textiles, but have a few “quilts.”

The first of these is the “penny rug” or “quilt” below.


Brought in Quilt 18

This piece was constructed by cutting pieces of felt in circles (the “pennies”) of three sized and then sewing them one on top of another to create the “stepped” circular forms in the field of this piece.  These “pennies” were then sewn onto a ground color in ways that follow particular color usages.  This particular penny quilt has red “tongue” forms (there are “tongue” rugs with tongue forms in their field) sharpened with black edges and applied to the edges of the field to create a dramatic effect.  We do not know the age of my “penny quilt,” but its usages suggest that it was made in New England.

I have previously published this penny quilt on the internet  and some folks have sometimes contacted me about it.  One of of these was a California quilter, one Jeri Pollock, who asked me if she could use my penny quilt as her inspiration on a variation she was going to do for a “challenge” event her quilting group was holding.  She needed my agreement because the inspiration sources and the results of the “challenge” would be published in a catalog.

I agreed and a few months passed.  Then one day the challenge catalog appeared in the mail.

Metamorposis Catalog Cover

So I had brought it to this event and opened it to the appropriate page and placed it next to my inspiring penny quilt.


Here is a scan of the relevant page so that you can read Ms. Pollock’s strategy and assess the results.


I was not familiar with the “challenge” device, but Dottie Reed explained to me that it is a familiar one used by quilting groups to stimulate creativity.

Jerri Pollock has sent along a second catalog with the results of a different challenge, this one based on instances of “urban decay.”  Here is that catalog cover.



There are a number of interesting quilts in this catalog inspired by this challenge theme, but both Dottie and I were particularly taken with this one.



The use of scale in this quilt is remarkable.

We have included comment here about the challenge device because it seems likely another way that one could track the “trends” that are going on in quilting nowadays.  What interests and preoccupations are visible in the various kinds of quilting challenges being mounted?

A second piece I had brought was a doll’s quilt done in the more tradition quilt making mode.


Brought in Quilt 19.

This little quilt has a version of the traditional “nine-patch” design we referred to earlier.

Here is a closer detail of once corner.


The challenge catalogs sent by Jeri Pollock contain several quilts that took the “nine-patch” device as their inspiration.

The “quilt-ness” of the third piece I brought might be questioned.  It is a small piece described as a “yo-yo”.


Brought in “Quilt” 20

This piece does not have the three layers that proper quilts are said to have.  Instead, circles of cloth of various color and designs are cut.  The each circle is gathered and sewn together on one face to create a textured surface on that side.  Then these textured piece are sewn together edge to edge to create textiles of various sizes.

Yo-yos are made in a wide variety of sizes.  Some as large as bed spreads (the sewn circles on such pieces are larger too).  And they are still be made with some frequency.  What charms me about this one is its fresh colors, its diminutive size (11 x 15 inches) and the invisible sewing that connects its elements at their edges.

Yo-yos seem to be seen, by at least some quilters, as worthy of their attention since (again in the Jerry Pollock-provided challenge catalogs) several pieces took yo-yos as their inspiration.

A third piece I brought looked like a quilt, had stitching, but lacked one element: the batting.


Brought in Quilt 21

This piece is even smaller (at 8″ X 6.5″) than the yo-yo.  It is another doll quilt.

It is an example of the use of a “cheater” to create the design for the entire face side of a quilt.  In this case all of the school houses in its field of this doll’s quilt and its three layer of simple border devices are printed, not pieced together or appliqued onto a background material.

Here is a look at its back.



There is a backing level distinctive from the front.

A closer detail of this back.


The hand stitching was estimated by the quilters to be quite fine.

Perhaps it was too little to pick on, because the quilters in the room seemed willing to accept this humble piece as a quilt.


Note 4 for the VERY interested.

Dottie Reed wrote a little more about “cheater” quilts.  First, she was kind about mine above, saying that “it has fine stitching…appears to be antique…” and for that might be “valuable.”

She said that “cheater” quilts have their place in the quilting world because they are used by many people, but there is absolutely nothing original or creative about them.

So, except for the except for the historical or emotional significance they might have, they have no real value other than the cost of the materials.

Cheater material is very cheap to buy, usually about $3-4 per yard, where as good quilting material runs about $10 per yard.

As we have noted above, “cheater quilts” are made from printed fabric “panels.”  The design on the panel may be that of a completed patchwork (pieced) quilt side (such as the “log cabin” design on mine above).

Dottie: “…The patchwork design seems to be most common in panels for doll quilts, and I’ve seen panels with little matching pillows.  Cheater baby quilts come in receiving blanket and crib sizes are printed with all sorts of cute “baby” designs.  I’ve seen a Noah’s ark theme, police and fireman designs, Sunbonnet Sue or Sam (sometimes both), angels, fairies, etc.  Depending on the size of the panel it may also include enough fabric for a matching back, decorated with the same or another print, or with a solid color.”

“In addition to saving the time it takes to cut and piece the fabric together or to design, cut, and applique a quilt top, the cheater quilt is less expensive to make, as it takes less fabric.  Your little doll quilt above probably took 1-2 hours to make by hand (it would have taken less than 30 minutes by machine). But it would have taken several hours (I’m guessing 6-8) to cut all the tiny pieces for the little houses, to either machine sew them together as a patchwork quilt, or to applique them and then to quilt it.”

“Some people like to make miniature quilts, but I find that, for me, its a lot harder to work with patchwork pieces that small (although I wouldn’t have trouble appliqueing pieces of that size).  A receiving blanket from a cheater panel would take 1-2 hours to machine quilt, whereas it would take 4-7 hours to piece a patchwork top and machine quilt it, and several days to make an applique top.  A crib size will take about 6 hours to machine quilt.”

“[Note:  Some batting is held together with machine stitching placed up to 4-6 inches apart, but they look saggy – sloppy – especially after washing and I think (as many quilters do) that the end result is a waste.  Traditional quilting is stitching 1 inch or less apart.  It appears a lot nicer, and looks “new” after many washings.]”

“Cheater panels for pillows come with designs that someone like me might like to use to decorate their home.  I have 4 pillows on my couch – the panel came with 4 different cat pictures, so I could make 2 or 4 pillows depending on whether I wanted to buy  additional backing fabric.  Cheater panels also exist for ‘rag’ -fabric – dolls, stuffed toys, aprons, vests, etc.”


A fourth piece I had brought was an interesting application of the quilt.


It is a quilted post card that Dottie Reed had made and sent to me.

Here is a closer look at its front.


Brought in Quilt 22

And here is the back with its message and stamp.


It was remarkable to me that this pretty little thing came successfully through the mail.  No one “stole” it.  Dottie says that they are great fun to make and send and that they go through without mishap.

Ms. Williams said that there are kits available that let you make quilted cards, but Dottie’s are made, individually, without recourse to that.

The next brought in piece was one by one of Ms. Wright’s friends.


I think this is likely Debby Kratovil from the quilt design team group.

Here is the first quilt she had brought.


Brought in Quilt 23

No comment on Brought in Quilt 23

Detail images on Brought in Quilt 23.



Here is the back of this piece.


And below is a detail of this back.


This same lady had brought, and perhaps made, the next quilt, which was the last of this “quilt morning.”



Here are some closer details of this piece.



Ms. Wright answered questions


and the program was adjourned.

Dottie Reed and I want to thank Ms. Wright for permitting us to produce this virtual version of her interesting “quilt trends” program.  And I thank Dottie for her very considerable assistance throughout.


Dottie Reed and John Howe