The Daily Herald from Arlington Heights, Illinois on March 9, 2008 · Page 80
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The Daily Herald from Arlington Heights, Illinois · Page 80

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Arlington Heights, Illinois
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Sunday, March 9, 2008
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Page 80
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SUNDAY, MARCH 9, 2008 Homes Plus DAILY HKRAl.l) SKCTION 8A PAGE 1 Quilts are part of the fabric of family history BY NZONG XlONG Quilts have been an important fabric of many lives through the centuries. They have kept many families warm through cold winter nights. At times, they have become treasured heirlooms because of the countless hours and painstaking details their creators have put into them. "They are comforting," says Kathleen Heinrichs, a 71 -year- old retired bookkeeper who has been quilting for more than 40 years. "There's just something about a quilt, that somebody cared enough to make something for me. They just look different from the ones at the stores." They have traditionally graced beds, but they also can drape on sofas or hang from walls. As the chill of winter tempts you to wrap yourself in blankets, don't forget about quilts, which have endured the test of time. Generally, a quilt is made of two layers of fabric with filling, called batting, in between. The batting is a thin layer of material, such as cotton, polyester or wool. The different quilt layers are stitched together by hand or by machine. Instead of stitching, some quilts are tied together with yarn or thread at regular intervals and are referred to as comforters, says Mary ELLzondo, co-manager of die Mennonite Quilt Center in Reedley, Calif. Many quilts have blocks that are sewn together to create designs. Some of the common, traditional block patterns include the log cabin, which starts with a small center square with narrow strips of fabric sewn around in a circular manner; the double wedding rings, which look like interlocking rings; and the grandmother's flower garden, SCRIPTS HOWARD NKWS SKRVICK PHOTOS Quilts are available at specialty quilt stores, craft fairs and department stores. Most quilts have blocks sewn together to create designs. which uses hexagons to form flower shapes, and a pathway that separates each flower. Where heirloom quilts that were passed down through the generations or maybe were made by your mother or grandmother likely were hand-sewn, many now are quilted together by sewing machines. (The tops still may be pieced together by hand.) Sewing machines can create simple or intricate designs — some guided by a user, others computerized. A special tool, a long-arm quilt machine, also can quickly and easily create the finishing designs on quilts. Not only can it cover more area on a quilt, it also has rails that roll the three layers (top, batting and backing) together, says Carolyn McCray, owner of Cottage Quilts in Fresno, Calif. They also can be hand- guided or machine- guided. Mennonite Quilt Center has a long-arm machine in the back where customers can Once quilts functioned solely to keep families warm through cold winter nights. But over the years they've become a form of art and treasured heirlooms. pay to have their quilts finished. If there isn't a long waiting list, "You can do it in half a day or a day, depending upon the size of the quilt," co- manager Elizondo says. Quilt designs and styles also are changing, especially as people in their 20s and 30s get interested. Some contemporary quilts can be more abstract in their designs, while others have incorporated bold-colored fabrics. "It's just exciting to see the young people come in," McCray says. "They want to make a quilt, but they don't want to make their mother's quilt." Cadee Peters, a 32-year-old attorney in Clovis, Calif., started quilting a little more than two years ago. She likes to make quilts as gifts for family and friends when they get married or have babies. "I definitely go for the more modern," Peters says. "I just love (quilting). A lot of people are afraid of color, and that's too bad. Don't be too worried about whether or not someone else likes it; the quilt will talk to you." Quilts traditionally have been used as decorative bedspreads. "A lot of people still use it for warmth," Elizondo says. Smaller ones can act as throws on sofas, while quilts of all sizes and designs have ended up hanging on walls like artwork. If you don't have a quilt, you can find one at many outlets, including specialty quilt stores, craft fairs and department stores. Machine-made quilts tend to cost less, depending on the size and design. Machine-made quilts can cost $40 to $350, while hand-quilted ones can cost $100 to $800, Elizondo says. . When you're looking for a quilt, know what you're going to use it for — the wall, bed or elsewhere. Then keep in mind what size you'll need. If the quilt is going to be used on a bed, look for a quilt diat will hold up to die wear of washing. With handmade quilts, "you want small hand stitches — small, even stitches," says Heinrichs. "If you're looking at a star, all the points should match. You also want one where the colors go well (together)." Quilts created as wall art might include items or materials that aren't easily washed, such as beads. Most wall quilts have sleeves in the back in which to slide curtain rods. The batting also can make a difference in the quilt's appearance. "If you're using (a quilt) as a wall hanging, use cotton," Elizondo says. "It's heavier, and it'll drape better on your wall. But cotton also has a tendency to shrink and give it a used look. If you want it to always look new, you want polyester." Regardless of how you use your quilt, don't leave it out in direct sunlight, McCray says. She also suggests using it six months at a time to limit its exposure. Serving all of your Real Estate needs in Chicago/and and greater Roekjord 142 Kast Lake Mrci't 7062 Walton Stm-l Accord Outstanding Agents. Outstanding Results. (630) 893-7860 (815) 387-1100 AccordHomes.com ^si to Loves Park &?JJ&USANDSOF $$$ "tin^tirJNext Home! BOULDER HILL 1 2 BEDROOM • 2.5 BATH MOTIVATED SELLER! 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