Just Curious as to Quilt Sizes

calliopeMay 8, 2013

When I made my first quilt six and a half years ago, never did it enter my mind I'd keep on making them or enjoy the process so much. Somewhere on floppies or CDs I have pictures of most of them, and thankfully I've kept a binder of instructions and notes and from that I've put together a list of those I've made and their ultimate destinations and the pattern names.

I'm working on my 27th quilt now,( if you include three of them large crib sizes like 48 x 60) and aside from two made specifically for a twin or daybed, most of them are large enough to be used as spreads on a full sized bed. This translates to at least 49 and usually more like 56 to 64 12" blocks or more.

However, I notice comments occasionally about thirty or forty blocks being almost enough for two quilts. Am I buying myself a lot of extra work? Do most of you make smaller quilts or make up the dimensions by adding large borders or sashing or what? Or do you not use them to cover the beds completely. Since I don't 'get around the quilt world" in person, but soley on this forum this is probably a newbie question. I'd like to make smaller quilts for gifts, but have always been afraid my recipients would not find them suitable. How do you do it?

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I have wondered the same thing.

With the exception of baby quilts, I have always made big quilts. . I am like you in that I always figure that a smaller-sized quilt wouldn't be suitable for the recipient. I want the quilts to be at least 70" wide & 80" long which means at least 56 12" blocks or smaller blocks with a wide border or several narrower borders.

This year I am making all wall hangings and table runners and smaller projects. It is nice to not have to attempt quilting those big quilts on my small machine.

Thanks for starting this post.
I am looking forward to hearing the comments from others.


    Bookmark   May 8, 2013 at 7:03AM
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This is just my opinion from my experience, but I don't make many bed-size quilts.....only 3 in total over twenty-some years of making quilts. I've made probably 30 to 40 baby quilts and a number of lap quilts. I've also made several wall quilts, some on commission. One of my quilting buddies makes more bed quilts - for family members, wedding gifts, just because gifts. Another friend makes many, many quilts for charities and gives them all away.

I do not enjoy trying to shove a huge quilt under my Viking machine so I make more baby quilts. I try to keep a record of the quilts that I gift to others, but some projects have not made it into my record book. I do have many on file as photos on my computer.

The type and size of quilts that one quilter makes is entirely personal choice. IMO, crib/baby quilts look more in scale if the blocks are smaller, so you need more blocks to make up the quilt. With the bed quilt I made myself, I found I loved making 16-inch blocks and fewer of them! Huge bed quilts made from 4 to 6-inch blocks would feel daunting to me.

There really are no quilt police! Do what you enjoy, what feels right for you.


    Bookmark   May 8, 2013 at 7:04AM
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I guess I'm asking what do people "expect" to get when you give them a quilt? What shows up most at quilting exhibits, fairs? Do people lay quilts across a bed for display over a spread, so it doesn't have to be so enormous. It is daunting and a pain to move a huge quilt under a small machine, and why I sometimes do them in panels. I want to make a quilt for each of my cousins and I assume they all have full or larger mattresses sizes and I'm wondering if I make them a 6x7 or so if they'll look at it and roll their eyes and ask 'what am I going to do with this?'

    Bookmark   May 8, 2013 at 7:41AM
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I have been quilting for about 10 years. I have made 3-4 bed-size quilts and about 20-25 smaller quilts. Mostly lap quilts. I enjoy the lap size quilts because I can finish them within a reasonable amount of time. Since most of my quilts are for family and friends (have a large family) I get to see my quilts - on the back of a couch, displayed on quilt rack, or wrapped around someone in a photo on Facebook. At first I did worry what they would think when I gave them a quilt but now I hear them asking who the next quilt is for or when are you gonna make one for me? So I agree with Teresa do what you want and enjoy it.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2013 at 9:02AM
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I make everything from miniatures smaller than 12" to king size quilts. I give away lots of quilts (how many can you really use in Florida, anyway? LOL). Lots of factors go into the size of gift quilts. Sometimes it's just a pattern I want to make, sometimes I want to give them a bed size or lap size or wall hanging, sometimes it's a kit I have on hand that I think will appeal to a particular person.

We just had our quilt show in Feb. and I was surprised this year by the number of large (many VERY large) quilts we had. There were a lot of medium and smaller size ones, too, but it seemed like more large quilts than usual. Maybe it's a cyclical thing, too. And it may depend on what is currently popular with teachers.

So, yeah, make what you want!


    Bookmark   May 8, 2013 at 9:25AM
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A lot of mine, I call lap quilt size. Between 45-60 inches wide to 60-70 inches long. Usually 12" blocks, 3 across and 4 down with sashing (if I want) and various borders. All of my girls have gotten bed size quilts and another bed size for their 50th birthdays. I really prefer using 12" + blocks but have used smaller. I don't think anyone in my family expects a certain size as they're just happy to have something to snuggle in while on the couch. I have one member who takes it from the couch to the bed when not feeling well.

If you don't want to make a big quilt, don't! Make it the size you want to and that's easiest for you.


    Bookmark   May 8, 2013 at 12:18PM
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I have made mostly lap-size, or napping, quilts as gifts. Since most of my recipients live in the northern states, they use quilts to cuddle up with while watching TV, reading, etc. I wouldn't ever make a full-size bed quilt for someone who didn't specifically ask for one and who didn't also chose the colors and pattern. But I'm comfortable giving them a lap quilt. It's less of a commitment. I think the smaller quilts are more versatile too. They are also much faster to make and less expensive than the larger ones.

Maybe my family is just too fussy, but I don't want my quilts to create an obligation on anyone's part to use them. That being said, I know many people treasure their gifts, regardless of size, color or pattern. I think you need to know your audience.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2013 at 12:29PM
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I have made all sizes but really don't think too far ahead as to which one will be made.
I used to sell wall sized hanging so there were lots........I've made all my immediate family bed sized quilts and lap sized. I think they appreciate them all. I give away any that happen to fit the moment but don't machine quilt any that are bigger then twin sized anymore.. the rest are sent out.
I believe in trying what YOU like and if others like it all the better but it should be fun.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2013 at 1:18PM
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If you want to give a quilt to a particular person for a particular event, ask them what they want - BUT, do it in terms that suit you. For example, I asked my niece (to be married in the fall) if they wanted a wall hanging or a lap quilt/throw for the sofa, and what colors they want. She said they would love a lap quilt and gave me some ideas for colors. You will notice, I did not ask if they wanted a bed quilt!


    Bookmark   May 8, 2013 at 2:14PM
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I like making bed quilts the best. I very much like having a selection here in my own house to clothe all 3 beds.

Baby quilts are in my mix, too. I like to have a selection of baby quilt tops pieced, ready to quilt if an occasion happens. Those tops are easy, and I usually make them about 40" wide, so I can back them with one width of fabric.

Lap or nap quilts are also useful, too. I make them at least 60" wide by about 80" in length - enough for someone to pull on for a nap on the sofa or recliner. I made both a full-sized bed quilt and two lap quilts for my mother and stepfather, using the the scraps from the bed quilt to make the lap quilts. Their house is old, drafty, and cold in the winter, and they love that they can each sit in their own chair, with their own cuddly flannel-backed quilt.

I do not do wall hangings - I wouldn't hang one myself, so why bother, LOL.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2013 at 3:22PM
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I think it's very varied, as you can see by the responses.

I've made them all. But usually decide based upon the event/person. I've not done many bed quilts for gifts that weren't commissioned. I think a lap/couch quilt is a good size for most gifts. As others have said, mine are about 45-50" x 60-70". However, I have a BIL who is 6+' tall and large... I made his quilt larger than that. And I'm making his daughter's graduation quilt large as well. It's suitable because they are larger people.

I really think it depends on the circumstances of who/what you need it for, as well as what you wish to do yourself. Sometimes I like to try a new technique, which may require a larger pattern; or a new QAYG technique that might work when I have to do a larger quilt.

So make it up as you go along, and enjoy the process. I think if a recipient actually 'expected' some particular, then I might not wish to make for them... They may have expectations that I can't, or don't wish to, meet.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2013 at 4:20PM
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I've only made lap and baby size quilts in my short quilt making time. When I first started I decided anything larger than a lap size would be too daunting, now that I've master a lap size, I going to try a queen size at a friends request; however, I won't be doing the quilting on my machine...it would be too much to handle.
The few quilts I've made have been either for home use or gifts for children....and all are in use...that's the best part!

    Bookmark   May 8, 2013 at 9:07PM
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Thank you all for taking the time to share your ideas on this. I seem to have issues with size, because I never seem to think they're large enough until the cover a full-sized bed right down to the dust ruffles. So, a modest project seems to take on a life of its own until I'm fighting a quilt the size of Rhode Island. I gotta get over this since what starts out as a fun project ends up being a long-term obligation. If I am sewing them for three sibling cousins, I certainly want them large enough to be functional, but not so intimidating that it would discourage me from even starting the project. I think your answers have reassured me that they don't all have to be huge to be appreciated. Thanks again.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2013 at 6:18AM
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My quilts are mostly bed-size. I wish I had kept track of how many! Granny T started me quilting when I was 5, along with learning some finer points of embroidery. Those were usually about 80" x 100 and served as bedspreads. Lots of 'crazy quilts', because of the embroidery.

Usually I have a specific bed in mind when I start, and the quilt is usually spread-sized. I have made some that were requested (I will never never never again make a white-work) and I have mixed feelings about doing requests. Yeh, glad I could satisfy the request but too often felt limited, bored or even put-upon. OTOH, I really enjoyed the one SiL requested for a friend -- friend was 6'10" and thrilled to have one that was "long enough to cover feet and ears at the same time". Friend liked cats so I designed graphic/block cats interspersed with squares of fabric featuring cats; this was about 30 years ago when such fabric was *not* common. My rule of thumb is that if I wouldn't do one for that person by my free choice, then no reason to be obligated to do one for him/her by someone else's request. The exception to that rule is that I will try to accommodate family -- so far they've been reasonable :)

I honestly think you should make whatever size is comfortable for you to handle. Even twin-size bedspreads are awkward, and the Cal. king spread I'm doing now is bulky and *heavy* - not recommended to do just for the fun of it. Bedspreads fall into two groups: those that hang down (15" to 30") each side and the foot-end, with the top of quilt even with the head-end; and those that are about 15" longer to enable tucking the pillows. The first kind really should have matching shams if considered a bedspread. Coverlets are generally the size of the mattress top plus a 5" to 10" inch drop on sides and end; coverlets may or may not have matching shams. There are NO set rules or requirements for quilt size although formal shows and competitions may have specific categories, and practicality specifies that a twin-size coverlet isn't going to work as a queen-size spread :)

People really seem to love lap-sized quilts and I've promised myself to do more of them... and it sure is quicker to finish 45x70 than the ones I've been doing. I keep reminding myself that I could do 6 lap-size in the time it takes me to do one big one...and that would mean 6 more different patterns to play with :)

    Bookmark   May 10, 2013 at 11:24AM
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