The Top 5 Best Reasons to Make a Quilt

Let’s start this conversation with the frequently asked question, “Why do you make quilts?”

This question could apply to almost any topic. Why make anything? In this day and age when basically most every item you need can be commercially manufactured, mass-produced and purchased at a much lower price and in less time, why would you go through the time, trouble and expense to make anything – especially a quilt?

I have to be honest, when someone asks me this question it is not any easy one to answer. Especially when there are a number of online avenues that advertise ” 3 Piece Quilt Sets” for under $100 or $200. Add to this, the number of retail chain and outlet stores that have many, many quilts/comforters/blankets available for sale in all sizes and price points, the idea of making a quilt gives me pause and has me asking the same question.

The simple cost of making a quilt alone certainly adds to the difficulty justifying such a venture.

However, …there are many qualities that distinguish the quilt or blanket you buy in a brick and mortar or online store from what you piece and quilt yourself. Below are the top five reasons why I love to make quilts and the reasons why I will continue to make quilts for probably as long as I live!

1. Fabric Quality

Designer quilting fabrics are manufactured using the highest quality materials and techniques. The thread count is higher than basic cotton or cotton/blend fabric – typically 60 x 60 threads per square inch. However, some fabrics have a higher thread count. These fabrics almost feel like silk. Take a look here if you want to read more on designer quilting fabric.

2. Quilt Pattern

In this sense, I’m referring to the quilt pattern as the specific color or colors of the various shapes sewn together to create the overall quilt appearance – the “How it looks”.

For example, let’s say you are in the market for a quilt pieced into a “Double Wedding Ring” pattern using fabrics from a favorite designer and / or manufacturer, the most probable way to accomplish this is to make it yourself – (or have it made).

Another scenario – you have cherished fabric from clothing worn by your children when they were young and want to use it to create a quilt in the double wedding ring pattern to give as a gift when they marry. The only way to make that particular quilt is to make it yourself. That specific item will not be found on eBay or Amazon!

3. Quilt Design

This describes the actual “quilting” process – the design used with needle and thread to create the “quilted” appearance.

This example shows a very traditional design – the Continuous Line Cross-Hatching pattern on a very traditional quilt pattern – the Irish Chain. You can read more about this quilt here.

This is such an easy and common pattern – it can be found everywhere. It is the quilt pattern used in the manufacture of coveted and high end bags and purses such as this iconic handbag :

Modern long arm quilting machines however, have taken the basic, traditional quilting technique to an entirely new level. Using creativity and imagination to place stitches into an intricate pattern instantly transforms any pieced quilt top into a one-of-a-kind work of art. Again, this creation is an item not easily mass-produced – yet. ( Sadly, I’m sure someone, somewhere is working on this…)

Looking closely at the image below a variety of quilting patterns have been used. This snot only adds dimension to the quilt top but allows specific fabrics and design elements to stand out and become more prominent.

 


4. Originality

This is for those of us who have an insatiable need to maintain our sense of individuality and resist, at all costs, the trap of following the crowd. Not that the “crowd” are a bad bunch of people but as for me personally, I have no desire to have home decor / bed quilt, etc. to be a replica of what 2,000 other people have purchased.

It is my personality and design style that I want to stand out! And for this reason, my creations, for the most part, are designed to fit the recipient. If what I have designed and created happens to appeal to the masses I consider that a bonus!

When it comes to gift giving, originality is always at the top of my list.

The image below is a baby quilt I finished about a month ago.  It is not a 100% original – the pattern was purchased from a designer and the fabric here.  However, I highly doubt there is another baby quilt with the same pattern and fabric combination!

 

5. Charity

I belong to a quilt committee at the hospital where I work and our mission is to make quilts to be given to our patients and families who transition to palliative or hospice care. For me, this quilting group represents a unique and creative way to give back – not only to the recipients but within the group as well.

Members of our group represent all skill levels – some cut fabric, others piece quilt tops, others do just the ironing or tying off. True, when we meet it is primarily for the purpose of replenishing our quilt stock but these 6 – 7 hours are also an opportunity to learn or instruct new techniques or share quilting tips.

Each of us is well aware of the potential struggles involved with making any quilt and anytime we can offer a tip to make any aspect of the process easier for another makes the event a win-win situation for all.

Bonus

There is no better way to spend a cold snowy day than making a quilt which is exactly how I spent this Monday! I should give thanks to my sewing machine and fabric stash for keeping me off the streets! So, in preparation for our next quilt meeting, I pieced these two tops today:

The first is an adaptation of a pattern called “Off the Rails”. The second is made up of practice blocks in the “Disappearing Four Patch” pattern. Both quilt tops shown above are made using scraps from my stash. They are not perfectly color coordinated however, these images taken with my phone camera and less than optimal lighting do not render the color representations to be even less accurate. To get a better picture of the fabrics used, material of similar color and pattern can be found here. Once the batting and backing are added, the perimeter top stitched and the quilt the layers tied together they will be ready for giving.

So, there you have it. My top 5 (and a bonus) reasons for quilting.

What are your reasons for making quilt or for making anything? Is the reason you began quilting still ring true today or over time have you developed a new source of motivation or inspiration?

I would love to hear your thoughts!

17 thoughts on “The Top 5 Best Reasons to Make a Quilt

  1. Ashley says:

    Your quilts look so good! I will say, I have always loved the way quilts feel. There’s just something so uniquely warm and heavy about them that is comforting. Making something yourself is always going to have it’s benefits. It’s such a great way to exercise creativity, and nothing says love like giving someone a handmade gift! 

    • Susan says:

      Hi Ashley,

      Thank you for your kind words!

      I have to agree, there is something uniquely special about a quilt.  They are a joy to make as gifts but at the same time they are somewhat time consuming to make. 

  2. Dale says:

    Its kind of ironic that just at a couple days ago my wife and I were talking about home made quilts and how it would be nice to have one.  She also said she would like to learn to make quilts.

    I have to say when I was a kid I uses to sleep under home made quilts and until this day I can still say that was the best sleeps I have ever had and have never been able to get back.  Right there is the best reason for wanting home made quilts.

    • Susan says:

      Hi Dale,

      Thank you for your comments!

      I too have memories of sleeping on and under homemade quilts – sadly I do not have those quilts anymore.  I can only imagine what a restful sleep I would have now had I held onto those!

      When your wife is ready to learn to make a quilt feel free to ask me any questions at any time!  My site is basically designed for those wanting to learn how to make their fist quilt!

  3. Eden says:

    There are great benefits to making your own quilts, it is fun and fulfilling when you produce something yourself. You can come up with any design and personalise the quilt. As you say make it different to what a whole lot of other people have got, from their shop bought quilts. I do love when people make their own products, its good to see that creative side and you can produce an item that is better than the ones in the shops. I love that you are part of a quilt committee that makes quilts for hospital patients and families. That is a lovely thing to do. 

    • Susan says:

      Hi Eden,

      Thank you for your comments!  I’ve spent enough time sewing and making quilts that the process is finally more “fun and fulfilling” than when I started!   

  4. Barry says:

    Hello there. Happy Thanksgiving 🙂. Thank you for sharing the top 5 best reasons to make a quilt. I have heard the saying several times that most things hand made and home made have higher quality and if it food, have a better taste and probably healthier than the one from the factory. This is not different if I decide to make a quilt by myself. Companies will want to have good profit hence the Quality of the materials used will be reduced. Also I will be able to customise and design the quilt to my satisfaction.

    Farewell.

    • Susan says:

      Hi Barry and Happy Thanksgiving to you as well!

      You made a good point – there is certainly a trade off between mass produced items versus those that are handmade.  And sadly, most corporations will place profits and quantity over quality any day.

      It is the satisfaction of creating something that is your own original design and with your own hands that outweighs profits!

  5. Che says:

    Wow! Great post about quilting. When I was still living in the Philippines (that was many years ago), I remember my cousin owning a big quilting company. I was young that time, and some of her products were being outsourced to the neighborhood. My sister used to get some quilting jobs at home for her free time and I learned quilting from her. At my young age, I found quilting very relaxing and enjoyable.

    Today, I honestly don’t quilt but I love quilted products especially the hand-quilted ones like the summer bags, baby carpets etc. 

    Thanks for this great post. This made me reminisce my younger years with quilts. 🙂 

    Best regards, 

    Che

    • Susan says:

      Thank you Che!  I’m glad you enjoyed this article.  I think nostalgia plays a big role in the recent (over the past 10 years or so) rise in quilting popularity.

  6. julienne murekatete says:

    Thank you for sharing with us this great [post on making quilt.In our country we have a new commercial idea called” made in Rwanda”,it help people make their own objects by themselves.It is the same when you make the quilts on your own.It increases self confidence in your abilities and it helps to do any design you like to please your heart.

    I have an american friend, she sews herself quits and send them to me to offer to her other friends , but when i see them,it please my heart because it shows me how much she loves me as she passed much time sewing them with such great heart.

    • Susan says:

      What a sweet story!  Most people do appreciate a handmade quilt and those of us who make quilts truly understand the investment of time and emotion that went into making that quilt.

      Here’s to much success with the “Made in Rwanda” program!

  7. julienne murekatete says:

    Thank you for sharing with us this great [post on making quilt.In our country we have a new commercial idea which helps people make their own objects by themselves.It is the same when you make the quilts on your own.It increases self confidence and it helps to do any design you like to please your heart.

    I have an american friend, she sews herself quits and send them to me to offer to her other friends , but when i see them,it please my heart because it shows me how much she loves me as she passed much time sewing them with such great heart.

    There are many reasons which can push us to make quit.

    Best regards

    Julienne

  8. mark kabakov says:

    Susan, hello! From your article breathed so homely comfort! I have to collect my thoughts and first thank you that you showed the reader your talent as an artist and your beautiful thoughts and hands that make eternal values. 

    Let others, and especially young people, see your needlework and think. 

    My sister is already young and full already sewed three large quilted blankets (herself, daughter, grandson).

    Your blankets can be shown in the gallery, they are made with great taste. This is a very difficult job. 

    Thank you for giving us the opportunity to see such beauty. Mark

    • Susan says:

      Hi Mark and thank you so much for your comments!

      I’m fairly new to quilting and still have a lot to learn.  It is my hope that other’s will view my work as a source of  inspiration and maybe take the plunge and begin a quilt of their own!

  9. Carmeta1 says:

    This is an informative and interesting article about quilts. I have never once heard about quilts so this is very new. I am amazed to learn that quilt techniques are used for making bag brands that we know. I totally agreed that you should make your own quilt in order to get the style and pattern that you want since it would convenient and cheaper. Thank you for sharing!

    • Susan says:

      Hi Carmeta,

      Thank you for your comments!  If you are interested in learning more about quilts feel free to check out a few of my other posts.  The earlier ones are also instructional but are geared toward the reader who has never made a quilt before.

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