Friday, November 21, 2008

Choosing Quilt Fabric

There are many different types of fabric that may be used in patchwork, quilting and appliqué. The following information will help you identify and choose the best fabric for your projects.

Calico is a strong, plain weave fabric. It is available in a variety of weights and is usually white or natural with darker flecks.

Corduroy or fine-wale corduroy is a plain-weave fabric with vertical pile-effect ribbing. It frays easily but is suitable for appliqué and large-scale patch pieces.

Cotton is the choice of most quilters. It is hard-wearing and easy to work with. Cotton comes in a wide range of plain and patterned print colors. It is the best choice for patchwork quilt fabric.

Felt is made from wool. It is non-woven fabric. Instead, the fibers are compressed with moisture and heat. Felt shrinks making it unsuitable for most articles that need frequent washing. It is ideal for appliqué

Gingham is a cotton or cotton blend fabric. Alternating stripes of colored and white threads in the warp and weft produces a checkered pattern.

Lawn is a fine crisp cotton, or cotton blend fabric. It is available in prints and plain.

Linen is fabric that is woven from fiber produced by the flax plant. Linen frays and creases easily but is suitable as a ground fabric.

Muslin is a white or natural open-weave cotton or cotton blend. This fabric is suitable for backing quilts and is also used in shadow quilting and appliqué.

Organdy is a fine cotton fabric that is starched. It is used for shadow work.

Organza is a gauzy fabric woven from silk or synthetic fibers. It may also be woven from silk and a synthetic blend. Organza is available in plain colors and with metallic and iridescent effects making it suitable for appliqué and shadow work. It is also sometimes used for delicate patchwork.

PVC is a plastic, cotton-backed cloth. It is difficult to work with because of its lack of flexibility. It is used for patchwork and appliqué.

Sateen is a soft fabric that has a surface sheen. It is a popular quilt fabric.

Satin is a shiny fabric that can be woven from cotton, silk, or synthetics. It is used in appliqué.

Silk is fabric that is woven from natural fibers produced by silk worms. It works well for almost any project and is available in a variety of textures, colors, patterns and weights.

Shantung fabric is woven from yarns of irregular thickness giving it an uneven surface. It is used for quilting and patchwork.

Taffeta is a plain-weave fabric with a two-tone effect. It is suitable for appliqué and small patchwork.

Velvet has a closely woven backing and a dense cut-pile surface. It is used in patchwork, especially crazy patchwork, but the nap should lie in the same direction as the patchwork.

Voile is a fine woven fabric that is used for shadow work

Wool is made from woven fleece. Wool does not launder well and should only be used for inlaid appliqué, unless it is lightweight. Light weight wool may be used in patchwork.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Where to Find Free Quilt Patterns

Back in the early days of American history, women made quilts with scraps of whatever fabric they had on hand, using patterns they had memorized or shared freely with each other. That trend continues today within the quilting community, and if you are in the market for free quilt patterns, you'll find a wide variety of them available from many different sources.

Many online sites offer free quilt patterns as a way to get you to visit their site. Google "free quilt patterns" and a huge number of listings will come up.

Many sites list hundreds or thousands of free quilt patterns. Among the categories of free quilt patterns you will find there are quilts for babies, traditional American quilts such as the Log Cabin, Hospitality Pineapple or Lone Star, holiday designs, designs with animals or flowers on them, and many, many more. There are even free quilt patterns for food and drink, nautical designs, or angels and butterflies.

While many sites feature free quilt patterns for old traditional designs, some also offer original patterns. Some sites have lists of links that will take you to more sites full of free quilt patterns. Quilting is such a time-honored craft that many patterns have been passed around from quilter to quilter for years. It's a good idea to look at several different sites that offer free quilt patterns as you may find one particular site's patterns of more use to you than others.

Variations in the way the free quilt patterns are written are common, and it takes only a bit of research to find a site which is compatible with your needs. You may get so engrossed in the free quilt patterns on one site that you'll never need to go any further!

But it is a good idea to keep browsing, because while searching for free quilt patterns you will also find yourself on sites that offer all kinds of other goodies for quilters, from fabrics to notions to books to patterns to purchase. Spending time looking for free quilt patterns is actually a good way to acquaint yourself with what's available in the world of quilting and learn more about the craft along the way. A sure way to expand your knowledge about your hobby is to become familiar with all the tools and notions that are available.

Another place to find free quilt patterns is to ask your friends, family and neighbors. Many people have learned to quilt from their grandmothers or mother and they may have written down patterns from family members. These are wonderful free quilt patterns to get your hands on! All quilters can be grateful that quilting has been a social activity-first out of need, and later for reasons of entertainment-and this has caused quilters to share not only information but patterns as well.

Browsing for free quilt patterns, whether on the internet or asking friends, is an enjoyable aspect of the hobby of quilting, one that is certain to keep you engrossed for many hours.

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