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The Ultimate Guide to Quilting

Quilting is a time-honored tradition in many parts of the world. Quilts are a practical item, but they also can function as works of art or as a way to pass stories down through generations. Quiltmaking may not be as common as it was when making things by hand was the norm, but it is still a beloved pastime of many - and it's an important part of our collective cultural heritage. If you are interested in learning to quilt, there are plenty of helpful places to start in this guide. If you're just looking for patterns and ideas or a quilting community to connect with, you can find that here too.

Quilting for Beginners

There are plenty of things you should know before you jump into your first project. Check these pages and articles full of helpful resources for beginners. You can get to know some of the vocabulary used by quilters, because it's easy to get confused going through tutorials and reading patterns if you don't know the lingo. You'll also have access to lots of tips and advice, and there's even a place where you can find some easy projects just for a first-time quiltmaker.

Quilting Types and Styles - Get to know the different types of quilts and how they are made with this helpful article, complete with high-quality images.

Beginning Quilting Series - This series of articles, by Diary of a Quilter, provides a fantastic overview of everything you need to know to start quilting. From choosing fabric to tips and techniques, it's all covered.

A Glossary of Quilting Terms and Definitions - You might want to bookmark this page from QuiltBug, especially if you don't mind a touch of humor with your helpful information. It's got an alphabetical list of common terms, as well as a definition list for quilting acronyms used in online forums.

One Block Only - The person who created this site is a talented and prolific quilting enthusiast. She also has a passion for sharing her experience with those just starting out, and freely gives away all of her best advice and quilting secrets for newbies.

Free Quilting Patterns

The Internet has made it possible for quilters to share patterns with others no matter where they are. Of course, it's always good to be wary of which sites you visit and what you download onto your computer. The sites in this section are trusted by many and offer lots of free patterns that you can use to create amazing quilts.

Quilt Patterns - Robert Kaufman Fabrics has lots of designs you can download and keep for free. You can also buy fabrics and supplies through the site.

The Quilter's Cache - This simple site is a popular place among quilters for quality patterns for quilting projects. There are conversion charts, tips, lessons, and other helpful things.

Antique Geometric Designs - All of the patterns on this page are taken from historically and culturally significant designs. There's also a lot of fascinating historical information to along with them.

Marcus Fabrics Free Projects - Check here for beautiful, designer-quality patterns and project ideas. There are lots of things you can purchase through the site, but this section consists entirely of free patterns and projects.

P&B Textiles Free Pattern Page - P&B is a reputable textiles company, and this page is full of quality patterns that you can print and use at no cost.

Communities for Quilters

Another great thing about the Internet is that you can find supportive and fun groups of fellow quilters online. The forums and communities mentioned here are all well established and populated by active groups of friendly quilters from all over the place. You can share stories and tips, ask questions, and make new friends who just happen to love quilting.

Garden Web Quilting Forum - This forum is always hopping with new threads being started almost daily. You can read through archived conversations, or you can start your own and pose your quilting questions to the site's members.

Quilters Club of America Forums - This forum is well populated and always abuzz with new topics and discussions. You can sign up and join the ongoing discussions, or start one of your own.

The Quilting Board - This is a dedicated discussion board, run by and for quilters. You'll find inspiration, help, and encouragement from the many members who frequent the board.

McCall's Quilting - This online version of McCall's magazine has all kinds of resources you can use without even signing up for a subscription. There are free patterns, lessons, and lots more.

Quilting in History and Culture

Quilting has a rich history, and holds deep cultural significance for many people around the world. Quilts can be used to share tradition and to teach valuable lessons in multiple subjects. If you want to look back at the historical heritage of quilting - or even find instructions for creating quilt-related lesson plans, look through some of the free resources in this section.

Quilting History Lesson Plan - The National Endowment for the Humanities offers up this free lesson plan for parents or teachers who want to use quilting as a way to teach about culture and history.

Quilt Code Patterns - One particularly fascinating part of quilting history is the use of codes and symbols as a means of conveying covert messages between slaves seeking freedom via the Underground Railroad. Here, you can view the different code blocks and read about their meaning.

History of Quilts - This is a fantastic site to find out interesting facts about quilting in the United States. This particular page gives a very thorough and excellent explanation of the history and evolution of American quilting.

Quilting Trivia - For a bit lighter fare, check out the fun and unusual facts about quilting here. Find out how quilting was used in historical military applications, why the Amish don't use patterned quilts, and other interesting tidbits.

Quilting With Kids

Quilting is a great way to pass family and cultural tradition to younger generations. It is of particular value in this high tech era to give kids a way to create something meaningful and lasting with their own hands. If you think quiltmaking isn't exactly the kind of thing that kids get exited about, try some of the suggestions and projects listed here. It's worth the effort to share this valuable skill with the youngest people in your life.

Quilting Projects for Young Children - has these fun suggestions for some easy quilting projects you can do with kids. The projects are designed to keep kids interested and engaged, and are simple enough to do in a short period of time.

Tiny Quilts from Craftsy - Looking for a project to do with kids or teens that will hold their interest and not be too overwhelming? Consider doing one of these cute, small-scale projects together.

Quilting Curriculum for Kids - This free 10-part lesson plan is offered courtesy of the University of Illinois. You'll find detailed lessons that use quilting as a way to teach first and second graders about Social Studies, History, and even Math.

The Incredible Art Department - This nonprofit site caters to teachers and parents looking for engaging lessons to keep kids interested in the arts. Browse the site for ways to infuse art, culture, and history together in an educational way. Many of the projects and lessons are quilting-inspired.