Patchwork quilts were very popular at the turn of the last century because scraps of fabric, otherwise useless, could be used to create quilting masterpieces. When quilting was done by hand, women would gather together in a quilting bee to work on one quilt.
A simple patchwork quilt is made of squares of fabric, typically cut to 10 or 12.5 cm (4 or 5 inch) squares. These squares are sewn into rows and then the rows are sewn together to create a quilt top.
When a more intricate design is required, quilters work in quilt blocks. These blocks are made of small scraps of fabric of varying sizes sewn into a square shape. These quilt blocks are then sewn together like a simple patchwork quilt and can be as small as 10 cm (4 inches) and as large as 30 cm (12 inches). On the larger blocks, a more intricate design looks best.
Popular patchwork designs
The log cabin quilt is a popular early American quilt named after the popular homes of the day. Other popular quilt block designs include the pinwheel, star and the basket weave. As long as you stick to a block shape, your patchwork quilt can be whatever size or design you would like.