The Learning Center - Hosted by Pat Sloan

Hi everyone, it’s your host Pat Sloan here today talking about quilting types and styles.

pat sloan courthouse steps

Most people when they learn to quilt start out with Patchwork, or Pieced quilts. We learn block construction and the techniques to create quilts that are fit together with squares, rectangles and a few other more advanced shapes .. like a double Wedding ring. My court house steps is a variation on the traditional log cabin.

After awhile many of us venture into other styles of quilts. Maybe because we prefer rounded shapes like flowers and hearts (that’s me!). Or some want ultimate precision like a paper-pieced pattern can provide. Or a portable project like English Paper piecing. Most recently the Modern Quilt style has emerged with a look that is simple, clean and uses more solids and space in the finished pieced. Then there are the Art quilters, who wildly go where no quilter has gone before and create amazing works of art!

I asked these guests to tell us about a style they often work in… let’s take a look.

What is a Pieced Quilt?

By: Melissa Dunworth

Melissa Dunworth  pic1

There are so many types of quilts; one of the most basic is a "pieced quilt". The simplest definition of a pieced quilt is any quilt made up of different fabrics sewn together. A pieced quilt is also commonly referred to as a Patchwork Quilt – due to the patchwork like effect the different fabrics give the quilt.

It can be any type of block and virtually any construction technique: Half Square Triangles, Tumblers, Strips, you name it. Making a pieced quilt gives the creator pretty much endless freedom of design. Pieced quilts can be themed or scrappy, they can be planned or unplanned, they can be vintage inspired or modern, they can be from patterns or free form (wonky), etc.

IQSC Lincoln NE logcabin

Examples of pieced quilts include: Quilts made of one block sewn multiple times in different fabrics and rotated to create a design – an example includes a Log Cabin Quilt.

Sampler Quilts – where you make a specific number of pieced quilt blocks and sew them together – an example of this would be the Farmer’s Wife Quilts.

Jelly Roll Quilts – where you take the strips from a jelly roll and sew them together into a quilt top, add borders and you are done – an example would be the Jelly Roll Race 1600 Quilt.

iQSC Lincoln NE postage stamp quilt

Postage stamp quilts are assembled entirely of squares ranging from 1" to 2.5", sewn together in rows – example of 1" postage stamp quilts.

Hexagon quilts, typically sewn by hand, are also an example of a pieced quilt – these tend to be heirloom quilts due to the handwork involved.

Melissa Dunworth pic 2

Here is an example of my favorite pieced quilt that I have made so far. I call this quilt Fancy Flocks – it was made for a friend’s baby girl. Here is a link to the tutorial.

Melissa Dunworth
Sew Bitter Sweet Designs

Antique quilts courtesy of International Quilt Study Center and Museum
Log cabin IQSC Object Number: 1997.007.0005
Postage stamp IQSC Object Number: 1997.007.0845

Appliqued Quilts

By: Pat Sloan

Pat Sloan Wild Rose

As your host and a quilter that is passionate about appliqué, I wanted to talk about this style of quilt. Appliqué is the process of placing shapes onto a background and then sewing them to the background with one of a various number of hand or machine techniques. The quilts can be anything from a Bed Quilt to a table runner.

I love appliqué because it gives me the total freedom of creating any type of shape by simply drawing it. I don’t have to draft or make things meet.. I make a heart, cut it out.. sew! Backgrounds have often been solid pieces of fabric of light color, but I enjoy appliqué on a pieced background and make that background sing with some printed fabrics!

iQSC Lincoln NE Baltimore Album quilt

Appliqué has been around since early times… anything from a Fancy Baltimore Album quilt like this reproduction of the Mary Mannakee now in the collection of The International Quilt Study Center and Museum

Pat Sloan Spring Chicks

…to my simple Spring Chicks table runner that is quick and whimsical! (a free download pattern)

pat sloan whig rose

My Whig rose is a sample of how I take a traditional design, make it big, put it onto printed fabric and go! I love putting this quilt on my bed.

One thought… and really listen.. are you listening? If you have tried appliqué in the past and not liked it.. then you just didn’t find the right way for you! There are so many ways to appliqué which we’ll explore for a whole month later this year! PS… come take my machine appliqué workshop and I will show you the easiest way ever.. I make believers every time I teach it.. wink!

Your appliqué crazy host
Pat Sloan

Baltimore album IQSC Object Number: 2008.041.0007E

Art Quilts

By: Susan Brubaker Knapp

susan brubaker knapp ISeeTheMoonFullSil500

What is an art quilt?

First and foremost, an art quilt is simply art – a way of creating beauty, telling a story, conveying an intense emotion, recording an important event, or commenting on social issues. Art is a way for human beings to show how differently they see and interpret things, and an art quilt is no different.

An art quilt’s purpose is to be used as art; it is designed to inspire, not to keep you warm at night. An art quilt’s style can be abstract or realistic. It often uses materials that are unusual in traditional quilts (paint, metal, Angelina fibers, or Tyvek, to name a few), and may be three-dimensional. It may employ surface design and construction techniques that are not used in traditional quilting. Unlike traditional quilts, which often use blocks that have been passed down for a hundred years or more, art quilts are original artistic statements.

Does it ignite your emotions or make you think about things in a different way? It’s probably an art quilt. Do you hang it on your wall, rather than sleep under it at night? It’s probably an art quilt.

susan brubaker knapp MoonDetail1500

Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA), a non-profit organization founded in the early 1990s with the mission of promoting the art quilt, defines an art quilt as "a creative visual work that is layered and stitched or that references this form of stitched layered structure." The organization currently has more than 2,900 members worldwide, including artists, collectors, gallery owners and museum curators.

Some art quilters don’t use the term "art quilt" at all; they refer to their work as "fiber art" to distinguish it from a quilt, and think of themselves more as artists than quilters. Other art quilters embrace – and work in – both worlds, and are comfortable calling themselves "art quilters."

About Susan Brubaker Knapp

Susan, who lives near Charlotte, NC, is perfectly content to make both traditional quilts and art quilts, using both hand and machine techniques. Her work has been shown in national and international exhibitions, and she is the author of two books and three DVDs.

Visit: Blue Moon River and more info on Susan’s quilt show

Want to know more?

Studio Art Quilt Associates
Surface Design Association

Modern Quilts

By: Alissa Haight Carlton

Alissa Haight Carlton Broken Plaid

Modern quilting is a genre of quilting that has grown into a movement over the past five or so years. The modern quilting movement has been largely fueled by the Internet. The incredibly ease of connecting online has made the modern quilting community grow incredibly quickly. Through blogs and flickr, people have discovered the modern aesthetic and have started taking up quilting droves. The creation of The Modern Quilt Guild in October of 2009 then moved this thriving community from just online to “in person” meetings.

While the Internet has played a large role in the movement, there is a specific aesthetic that applies to modern quilting. Bold colors, graphic design and use of negative space are just a few things that you’ll see over and over in modern quilting. The Modern Quilt Guild has a thorough list of the traits you’ll find in a modern quilt.

The photo above is my most recent quilt called Broken Plaid.

Hand Made by Alissa

This quilt is from Jacquie Gering of Tallgrass Prairie Studio. She shared this quilt on the Modern Quilt Guild site during the 100 days of quilt event.

jacquie gering urban-garden1


The Modern Quilt Guild
New conference QuiltCon

Paper Piecing

By: Jennifer Ofenstein

jennifer ofenstein - two little hooters

Paper Piecing, also known as Foundation Piecing, is everywhere you look in the quilting world! If it’s new to you, it might seem like a bit of a mystery, but once you start, it can be very hard to stop!

Simply put, Paper Piecing is a quilting technique in which a final product is achieved by stitching fabric onto a paper foundation. The paper patterns have lines and usually numbers to follow that guides the construction of the block or quilt from beginning to end, making it a little bit like color-by-number.

jennifer ofenstein - tree trimming

With Paper Piecing, quilters can achieve perfect points for stars, flying geese, mariner’s compass and more as well as fantastic pictorial blocks and quilts, all by just following along the lines! If you have some basic paper piecing techniques under your belt, you’ll find that tackling even the most (seemingly!) daunting pattern isn’t so hard after all!

jennifer ofenstein - harry potter quilt close-up

For a step by step photo tutorial visit this page. I also have a full-length video workshop available through STITCHED. It’s a subscription-based instructional sewing site run by Alma Stoller.

Jennifer Ofenstein
SewHooked – psst … visit Jennifer’s blog for a give-away too.

English Paper Piecing

By: Katy Jones

Hexy MF

English Paper Piecing (EPP) is an old and traditional form of patchwork that dates back to as early as the mid 18th century in Great Britain (a very old quilt was found with newspaper templates still intact with dates on which made dating it very easy!) It most commonly is used to piece shapes with many sides and in-set seams, such as hexagons, and involves cutting individual paper templates to the exact size of the shape required and folding and basting fabric around those individual shapes in order to stabilize them. The basted shapes are then whip stitched together, by hand, to form larger shapes or blocks, and eventually a quilt. Once the quilt is completed the paper templates are removed and discarded.

baste hexes

The attraction of EPP is how portable it is. You can do it anywhere – on the bus to work, on your lunch break, at the sports game, whilst watching TV. The ‘dead time’ that you would normally be sat about twiddling your thumbs can be used to stitch up a few hexagon flowers and before you realize it you’ve got a whole quilt top.

Tricky shapes such as hexagons, octagons, pentagons or diamonds can be precisely sewn together because of the paper template keeping the shape nice and rigid. Inset seams become a breeze – no need to stop 1/4″ before the edge of the seam, no need to stress. Want to make a lone star quilt but don’t fancy all those inset seams? Make it by EPP.

katy jones pillow

Anyone can EPP – as long as you have eyes to see and fingers to stitch with. Start with the humble hexagon – pull out your scraps, either print off paper shapes (cias palette have a great set of simplified instructions for beginners and a sheet of hexagons for you to print off for free) or purchase pre-cut shapes from and start basting a heap of papers. Before you know it you’ll be hooked.

There’s a downloadable pattern for the ferris wheel block on my blog, which includes design sheets, the paper shapes, and templates. You can find it in the tutorials section of my blog under ‘Spring Carnival’.

Katy Jones
Monkey Do
Fat Quarterly

Fabric Artist Trading Cards (ATCs)

By: Pokey Bolton

Pokey Bolton Rock n Roll

They’re everywhere. Being traded at quilt shows, exchanged at guild meetings, swapped at lectures, handed out at quilt and paper craft classes – any place fabric and mixed-media artists have the opportunity to get together – deals are going down. Fast, fun, and frivolous, artist trading cards, otherwise known as ATCs, are little 2.5″ x 3.5″ pieces of your art – a mini quilt or collage – that you make and trade with someone else.

The only requirement for an ATC is its dimensions: 2.5″ x 3.5″. They can be made of fabric, paper, or mixed media. Scan and print your own photos or copyright-free clip art; stamp fabric or paper; embellish with stitching, beads, buttons, ephemera, etc. Stitch or glue a border on it if you like. Then add a cardstock backing, sign and date the card on the back, add contact information such as an email or web address if desired, and number the cards if they are one of a series.

Bonus: Fabric Collaged Artist Trading Cards (ATCs) – A Tutorial

Pokey Bolton

We’ll have another post next month covering some additional quilting styles including embroidery/stitchery, crazy quilting and sashiko.

What Style do YOU work in? We want to know … share in the comments below, link to a photo too if you like.

Be sure to listen to my radio show this week where I interviewed 4 international quilters… France, South Africa, Norway and Australia! Listen on your computer or download. You can even subscribe by itunes! over 40 shows ALL about quilting… catch up on prior shows while your there.

Pat Sloan - The Voice of Quilting

Pat Sloan is owner and founder of the quilting design and publishing company Pat Sloan & Co. She has published over 25 books, more than 100 patterns, nearly 10 fabric lines, and has had her work featured in all the major Quilt magazines. In January 2010, Pat started hosting her weekly Internet Radio show called Creative Talk Radio.

Find Pat here:

Web Site | Blog | Radio Show | Facebook | Twitter
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Quilting Types and Styles

15 thoughts on “Quilting Types and Styles

  • March 6, 2012 at 9:17 am

    I enjoyed your post and found it very informative and interesting. However, you left out my favorite Crazy Quilting.

  • March 6, 2012 at 10:42 am

    What an informative piece! I am more of a pieced quilt kind of girl like Melissa, but I also dabble in applique. :)

  • March 6, 2012 at 1:23 pm

    Pieced of every genre

  • March 6, 2012 at 1:34 pm

    I am diffinitly an Art Quilter. To me fabric is just a different media and I love fabric painting!
    I have played with some traditional pieced quilting but mainly for presents. :D

  • March 6, 2012 at 1:48 pm

    What a great post and such beautiful quilts! Paper piecing is the next thing on my list to try, I already love piecing and applique.

  • March 6, 2012 at 3:04 pm

    Really enjoyed today’s posts on all the quilting types and styles. Thanks to you Pat, and all the guests who contributed.

  • March 6, 2012 at 5:52 pm

    Great post and topic with lots to consider. Basically I prefer piecing but have begun to add applique, and ventured into art quilts. Thanks, Pat and guests.

  • March 7, 2012 at 12:58 am

    I loved this post. It explained several thorough instructive quilting techniques of which paper piecing and art quilts are my favorite! I loved your choice of quilts representing each
    technique! I love your Paper Pieced Patterns and look forward to seeing what is new in store….

  • March 7, 2012 at 2:39 am

    Great post… For the most part I like piecing… but do like modern and paper piecing. Applique is not my favourite…

  • March 7, 2012 at 6:55 am

    Thanks for Summary of types. It is a good reference.

  • March 7, 2012 at 7:40 am

    that quilt of yours pat that hangs in your house, I just LOVE… I’ve been collecting reds/whites ever since I saw it…. LOVE it!! great article!

  • March 9, 2012 at 1:42 pm

    Thanks, Pat, always great to review the basics. Especially appreciate the link for MQG List of Traits.
    Hexies Rule!

  • May 3, 2012 at 5:00 pm

    Where can I get the paper pattern for the owl?

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