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Quilting began out of need and practicality, with women in the pre-industrial age stitching together scraps of fabric and old clothing to create blankets that would keep their family warm in winter. Over the years, however, quilting has transformed from a necessity into a skilled craft and creative art form, and quilt designs have changed drastically. Quilting maven Amy Garro of 13spools.com takes a look at some of the current top trends.

English Paper Piecing
A meticulous hand-sewing method, English Paper Piecing faded in popularity when the domestic sewing machine became a staple in the home, but it’s making a comeback. The stunning La Passacaglia quilt is one of the most popular EPP patterns at the moment, with no sign of slowing down. Tula Pink’s Tula Nova quilt pattern and Giucy Giuce’s Moonstone pattern are equally gorgeous.

Stripes 
Striped fabrics are notoriously difficult to piece, but this season you’ll see a lot more stripes hitting the shelves; beloved designers Carolyn Friedlander and Becca Bryan are just a few major names to reveal striped prints in their upcoming fabric lines. We can thank Libs Elliott for starting this trend with the stripey piecing showstopper she first debuted a few years ago – and now you can buy her striped fabric, too!

Animal Quilts 
Animals have graced quilt tops for ages, but Portland-based Violet Craft has undoubtedly popularised large-scale animal quilts of late. Both foundation paper-pieced and English paper-pieced, her exotic animal patterns will take your breath away. Want something a bit less serious? We’re loving the new Awkward Animal Portraits pattern line for a quirky take on this trend!

Modern Hexies 
The hexagon hit the spotlight when Nicole Daksiewicz created an innovative new way of applying basted hexies to fabric. Her “modern hexies” have since made a deep impact on quilting aesthetics, and every major fabric company at premier US quilting trade show Quilt Market boasts one of her projects in their new collection showcases. You can find her pattern and tutorial for creating your own modern hexie project here.

[Photo: modernhandcraft.com]

Weaving 
When you think of quilting, you might not exactly think of weaving – but it’s making the rounds in the quilting world. Of course, we’re not talking about loom-based weaving, but rather the practice of folding and carefully ironing strips of fabric before weaving them together to create another layer of pattern. All of the credit for the current rebirth goes to Mister Domestic, who has modernised the look of the technique and launched it back into popularity.

Batiks
Batik quilting (using batik fabrics made with a wax-resistant dyeing technique) recently underwent a transformation and came back refreshed, with cleaner, simpler patterns replacing the notoriously foliage-heavy fabrics. Whereas the batik section over-represented blues and greens in the past, we’re now seeing a brilliant infusion of colour from the entire rainbow spectrum, as well as black. And on that note…

Black Is Back
While black was an important player in Amish quilts, it fell out of fashion in mainstream quilts. Why? Who knows! But black is the new black, and it’s fabulous at adding a touch of sophistication and practicality to any design. And let’s be honest: white is pretty, but it hides zero stains.

Framed Quilts
As a fresh twist on art quilts, framed quilt blocks and mini-quilts direct the viewer’s focus entirely onto the elegance of piecing. The smaller size makes them very practical items of wall decor, and the framing elevates them from quaint to collection-worthy. We’re interested to see where this trend might go in the future, and eager to decorate our walls with some quilt art!

Screen-Printed Fabrics 
Screen-printed fabrics have been gaining traction for the past several years, but now they’re out in full force. Indie designers have monthly subscription clubs for their hand-printed fabrics, while leading fabric company Robert Kaufman has picked up popular designers Karen Lewis Textiles and Cotton & Flax. We’re eager to see this trend increase in the coming year!

Online Communities
While quilting bees were queen in the 19th and early 20th centuries, online communities reign among the current generation of quilters. From raising money for hurricane victims to participating in quilt-alongs, modern-day quilters are never far from social media. While Instagram is undoubtedly the most popular platform, you can find the extremely supportive and active Late Night Quilters and Quilt Design a Day groups (among others) on Facebook. In-person quilting bees may be harder to find, but the quilting community itself remains as integral – and connected – as ever.

[Photo: play-crafts.com]

Quilts With A Message 
Quilting may have been born out of necessity, but the quilter of today has an increased focus on the aesthetic and artistic side of the craft. A growing number of quilters use their stitching to convey political views and commentaries on social injustices, addressing topics from racism to gun control.

I made this back in 2011. It hasn't lost relevance.

A post shared by Completely Cauchy (@cauchycomplete) on

Tricky Piecing 
At the start of the contemporary quilting movement, a huge number of beginner quilters entered the quilting world, causing easier patterns and piecing techniques to surge in popularity. Yet as the rookie quilters improve their skill levels, we’re seeing a rise in more technically challenging pieces. The recent QuiltCon “Best in Show” is a perfect example of a returning appreciation for difficult construction techniques.

[Photo: twocatsquilts]

Dense Quilting 
In the beginning of the 2000s, straight line quilting was all the rage, but that has given way to beautifully dense, free, motion quilting. Swirls and graffiti-like patterns are taking the place of more regular, geometric antique quilting patterns, while quilters are also mixing a variety of patterns into a single area in a method known as “flow quilting”.

[Photo:13spools.com]

Longarm Quilting 
As the love of dense quilting grows, many modern quilters are sending out their projects to longarm quilters to receive a professional finish. Whereas working every step of the quilting process yourself used to be a staple of the modern quilting movement, these strict views have eased, and the talents of longarmers are once again being celebrated.

Rainbow Quilts 
This may be the biggest trend right now, with Instagram chock-full of rainbow quilts everywhere you turn. This style is currently tending toward more jewel tones than ever before, veering away from the typical crayon-box rainbow. These colour choices lean more sophisticated than youthful, so go bold and make one for the master!

About Amy
Amy Garro is a modern quilter, pattern writer and the author of quilting guide Paper Pieced Modern: 13 Stunning Quilts. Sewing since age 7 and quilting for the past 6 years, Amy focuses her talents mainly on designing and creating quilts with a modern aesthetic: structured, striking, mathematical and geometric. In addition to writing patterns – both for self-publication and magazines – and hosting small quilt-alongs, Amy runs 13 Spools, a modern quilting blog where fellow quilters can find tutorials, patterns and inspiration for their own projects.

Which quilting trend are you most tempted to try out next?


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