Through the Years: The rules and Trends of Quilting

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Last night I had the pleasure of chatting with Beth Ferrier at the Evening Star Quilters meeting in Davison, MI.  Beth was there to give a lecture and trunk show, sharing her beautiful designs and quilts from the past 20 – something years.  She made references to rules that quilters used to follow back in the 70’s and 80’s.   Oh boy, do I remember those times!  A quilt wasn’t made properly if it wasn’t all made by hand.  Over time, it became acceptable to machine PIECE a quilt, but traditionalists still frowned on that.  Then, applique by machine started to become popular, as it was much faster than applique by hand.  When I started quilting around 1975, very few quilts had machine applique, and those that did utilized that fancy stitch, the ZIG-ZAG.  Big, heavy zig-zagging around each appliqued piece.  Yuck!  Now, quilters like Beth are able to produce machine-stitched applique and you have to really look to find the thread that holds each piece down.  (Beth’s applique is GORGEOUS!  She has a new book out that you should really consider getting if you’d like help with your applique. The name of her book: More Hand Applique by Machine, can be purchased from her website.

On Feb. 20, 2011 I posted a photo of a quilt I made for my parents called From the Woods to the Water.”  Done in cream and green, the quilt was made in colors they liked.  The quilt was machine pieced, but hand quilted.  My blogging friend, Susan, commented “still love those 80’s colors.” 

DSC04145I find it funny how we can look back and recognize a period in time by the colors that were used.  Yet, we can!  The spool quilt I’m working on now has fabric in it from the 30’s and 40’s.  If you were to hold the quilt on your lap, I bet you could spot those spools in <img title="” style=”border-top-width: 0px; padding-right: 0px; display: inline; padding-left: 0px; border-left-width: 0px; float: right; background-image: none; border-bottom-width: 0px; padding-top: 0px; border-right-width: 0px” height=”244″ alt=”” src=”″ width=”155″ align=”right” border=”0″ />no time! 

In the late 70’s, the Mosey house had lots of country blues in it.  Remember the “country look?”  When I was a young girl growing up, we had gold shag carpet and harvest gold appliances in the kitchen.  Oh yuck! 

I wonder what we’ll think twenty years from now when we look back at the quilts we are making now.  What will we laugh at?  The big, bold, bright prints and patterns? The large patterns that are so simple to sew, yet look fantastic when completed?  All our polka dots?  What new trend will be 110908003popular for the actual quilting stitch?  Will quilts be quilted by hand, or will they all be machine quilted?  Perhaps we’ll have robots doing the quilting for us by then.  (We must be getting close, as now long arm quilters can have computers  operate their sewing machine while they go make dinner!) 

As I write this and think about the future of quilting, I wonder my children will think about the quilts they inherit from me?    Today is my last day of being a 54 year-old quilter.  When I wake up tomorrow, I’ll have two 5’s to deal with.  So in 20 years, I’ll be 75.  What will I be sewing then?  Will my hands still allow me to enjoy hand quilting with a rocking stitch?  Will someone look at my beautiful “Feathered Cheddar” and go “Tisk, Tisk, she didn’t quilt around the edges of her applique!?!?”  Will the bold colors of that quilt make them gag?  Middle

Oh, I hope not!

5 thoughts on “Through the Years: The rules and Trends of Quilting

  1. What an interesting post, Caron! I think future quilters are going to be just as fascinated and in love with our quilts as we are with past quilts. I love the variety of styles – everything from traditional quilts done by hand to modern fiber art that barely fits the quilt description.
    But oh I hope to never look at harvest gold appliances again – we had them too.

    Happy Double-Nickels to you tomorrow, I hope you're doing something really special to celebrate your day!!!!!!!!!!


  2. Happy Birthday, Caron!

    I think the current crop of quilts is so varied that the early 2000's won't be as easy to categorize as past decades. Sure there are brights, but the Thimbleberries crowd is alive and kicking. It's kind of analagous to skirt lengths. There used to be one length that the majority of people wore, now they are all over the map. And you can quote me on that! 😉

    Enjoy your day. 8)
    Susan in Texas


  3. Today is 2-25-11 so Happy 55th Birthday! 🙂 I really found this post extremely interesting—tomorrow, 2-26-11, I will be 55. :/ Your post resonated with me. Hope you have a fabulous birthday, and here's to another 20 years of whatever kind of quilting we want to do. 😀


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