What are quilt patterns?
Quilt patterns are instructions or directions on how to produce a quilt that someone else has created. They're like plans or designs to create a quilt. Most quilt patterns have step-by-step instructions on how to create the quilt of interest. Most quilt patterns have a photo of the finished quilt and information, tips, and educational tidbits on special techniques needed to finish the quilt. Some patterns come with templates, usually a geometric design on a paper you can photocopy and cut out so that all of your pieces are the same shape and size.
There are my types of quilt patterns. They are generally broken into patchwork or pieced designs, applique, and wholecloth. Wholecloth patterns deal more with the threadwork and embroidery on a single large piece of cloth. Applique refers to the technique of cutting out a piece of cloth into a shape and stitching it on to another cloth. Applique patterns give you the templates to cut out the shapes and instructions on how to place them on your quilt. Patchwork or pieced quilt patterns are used mostly for piecing geometic shapes such as squares, rectangles, triangles, etc. together to form a block, and the block is repeated on the quilt. There are many patterns with a variety of combinations of these types of quilt patterns.
Before printed and published quilt patterns, women learned how to create a certain quilt by studying someone else's quilt block. A block is a small section of the design of a quilt pattern that is repeated to form the whole quilt. Some people collected many quilt blocks and shared them with neighbors to get ideas on how to create quilts.
Published quilt patterns have been around for about a century. Farm magazines published quilt patterns, tips, and news to increase readership among women. Newspapers then carried a quilt block or pattern in their publication. As more people started to read and share ideas through print in the industrial age, and as printing became an easier and more cost effective way to share ideas and illustrations, books containing quilt patterns came about, published by quilters.
Quilt pattens today are published by designers who create their own designs and patterns. Most patterns are sold in a three to ten page packet, one pattern for one quilt. Some designers publish several related patterns in one book. The Quilt Pattern Shoppe takes advantage of the Internet and the digital age to share quilt patterns in an electronic format, allowing you to get the greatest patterns from talented designers without needing to make a trip to the store -- and to get the pattern immediately after your purchase without needing to wait for the mail delivery man.