When dreaming up a new quilting pattern, the avid quilt maker will undoubtedly take inspiration from some of the traditional patterns that have been used for many years. Many of them are reproduced and published for consumer use but even the concept of mass marketing doesn’t mean hand-made quilts will ever seem mass produced.
People who enjoy quilting enjoy it for the creative release it brings and even using the most popular quilting pattern to establish a design doesn’t mean any two quilts based on the same pattern will be alike.
The skill and artistry of the individual quilt maker goes into every quilt and most quilters consider a quilting pattern as merely a suggested starting point. The other factors that go into the design of a quilt makes each one unique.
One very popular quilting pattern is Sunbonnet Sue, which features a side view of a little girl wearing a dress and a sunbonnet so enormous her face is hidden from view. The direction the quilter orients Sunbonnet Sue, the size in which the pattern is reproduced, the number of repeated Sues, and the direction, or directions, she faces provide enough possibilities to keep each Sunbonnet Sue quilt different from all the rest.
Using the Sunbonnet Sue quilting pattern as an example, it’s possible to adorn a quilt with a dozen reproductions of Sue. One quilter may have all Sues facing the same direction but another quilter may choose to place her Sues so they face each other. Yet another quilter may place her Sues so they are back to back.
Still using Sunbonnet Sue as a quilting pattern, Sue may wear matching dress and bonnet in every block or she may be adorned in contrasting fabrics. She may wear a sunbonnet of a solid color and a dress of patterned fabric. Or vice versa.
One quilter may choose to enlarge her Sunbonnet Sue quilting pattern in order to place Sue in the very center of the quilt, medallion style, while the next quilter may prefer many smaller Sues placed throughout the quilt design.
Using the same Sunbonnet Sue quilting pattern and velvets, brocade, and lace will produce an entirely different effect than a quilt featuring Sue in fabrics evocative of the Wild West, the beach, or Elvis.
Thinking about Sue alone, it’s quite easy to see how using the same quilting pattern to make many quilts, even when they are all made by the same quilter, produces a one-of-a-kind quilt every time.