The art of quilting grew out of the very practical activity of making warm bed covers, often out of recycled fabrics. Even hundreds of years ago, creative quilters took the opportunity to make something beautiful as well as useful. Clever patterns were passed around and became traditional, but the art is not limited to those patterns that became most common. The only limit for quilt patterns is the imagination of the artist. We've brought you collections of video game quilts and science fiction quilts. Here are others that transcend the title of sewing project to become works of art.
1. Physics Quilt
The cousin of redditor zeldajk made the beautiful quilt pictured for a baby gift. The pattern was designed by Julie Becker, and each square represents a different facet of physics. There are squares for Einstein, energy, acoustics, thermodynamics, light, and the four known forces of nature, among other things.
2. Math Quilts
Elaine Krajenke Ellison is a retired math teacher who makes quilts with patterns that represent math concepts in a beautiful way. Ellison has made quilts that represent Fibonacci numbers, tessellation, Buckeyballs, fractals, parabola, hyperbola, spidrons, and other geometric shapes. This quilt is a illustration of the Clifford torus, which results from "projecting a sphere into the fourth dimension." Among Ellison's collection, you'll also find more conventional (yet still awesome) quilts that celebrate her grandchildren.
3. Fractal Quilts
Rose Rushbrooke makes gorgeous art quilts with intricate designs, including a collection of fractal patterns she designs and hand quilts. I was particularly taken with this quilt displaying a pattern based on the Mandelbrot set, titled Les Folies Bergère. A quilt like this will impress everyone, but particularly anyone who recognizes how the intricate pattern came about.
4. Urban Quilts
San Francisco artist Amy Ahlstrom describes herself as an "contemporary urban quilter creating hypermodern fiber art." Her quilts are far from the traditional homespun patterns! Rather, they are images of visual details from major cities around the world, quilted in pop-art colors. The quilt pictured is titled SFChinatown.
5. NYC Subway Map Quilt
A whole cloth quilt is one that is not pieced together, but made of a single sheet of fabric for each side. The art is in the quilting itself. Karyn of The Workroom made this whole cloth quilt using a quilting design that recreates a map of the New York City subway system! The different train lines are sewn with different colors of quilting thread.
6. Stellar Quilts
Jimmy McBride makes quilts that mirror actual images of astronomical entities. This particular quilt depicts the image taken by the Hubble Telescope known as Pillars of Creation. See more of McBride's quilts at his Etsy store.
7. Solar System Quilt
It would be a mistake to think that science quilts are a modern concept. This quilt depicting the solar system is from 1876! Sarah Ellen Baker constructed the quilt of wool and used it to illustrate her lectures on astronomy in several towns around her home in Iowa. The solar system quilt is part of the National Quilt Collection at the Smithsonian Institution. You can see more quilts and read the stories of their owners, but if you do, you might find it hard to stop.
8. Heavy Metal Quilts
Mixed media artist Ben Venom puts the "crazy" in crazy quilts. You could say his sewing machine is made of heavy metal, because he combines themes from heavy metal music into his quilts. The quilt pictured is titled Raised by Wolves. Some images in his gallery may be NSFW.
9. Muppet Quilt
Craftster roxy nova made blocks illustrating sixteen of your favorite Muppets for this quilt. She even used fake fur to make them authentic! You can see close-up photos of some of the blocks on this page. I especially got a kick our of the background fabric for Beaker!
10. Threat Level Security Blanket
Just for fun, how about a pun quilt? Jessica Vitkus made several craft items to encourage crafters to get involved in the then-upcoming 2008 presidential election. One is this Threat Level Security Blanket featuring the colors of the Department of Homeland Security's bygone color-coded security alerts.