Top your bed with a patchwork quilt

Quilts are one of the most traditional blankets ever, well known and renowned for their unique patterns and historical value. Quilts vary from mass-manufactured bed quilts to handmade memory quilts and from simple repeating patterns to crazy quilts chronicling an entire family tree. They can be the perfect way to express yourself and your family's history— and the perfect blanket to cuddle up under.

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Handmade Quilts

Quilts usually have a pattern, but they don't have to. They are actually more characterized by the use of a particular sewing technique called quilting — connecting the quilt top with the batting and a backing fabric. The technique isn't difficult to do, which makes it a popular project for anyone even slightly handy with a needle and thread. Of course, there are also more advanced decorative stitches, like the needle turn used for an appliqué design.

If you're interested in making your own memory or bed quilts, there are lots of quilt patterns available on various websites or in crafting magazines that can help you narrow your focus. Decide on what you'd like to have as your main design and what you'd like to use the quilt for. Some of the most popular handmade quilts have a design that is personal to the maker or their family. Memory quilts can include names or family trees or may be made out of scraps from childhood clothing. Any repeating design can be used in simple patchwork quilts, so they may be a good starting project.

You can also buy handmade quilts from other crafters, and you can even find them in some of the more popular retail stores. Because they're generally affordable and available in almost any imaginable pattern, it's easy to redecorate regularly with bed quilts for each season or occasion.

Antique Quilts

Because of the stories they tell, quilts can end up being quite collectible. For instance, Amish quilts have been crafted for hundreds of years in Pennsylvania Dutch Country and are highly sought after. Quilts can also be used as a tapestry, and many antique and highly decorative quilts are used in this manner. When shopping for antique quilts, be sure to look at the actual quilt itself. You'll want to check the artistic appeal, the workmanship and the overall condition.

If you're interested in buying modern Amish quilts, Lancaster County has several quilting events where the local Amish and Mennonite communities gather to sell their creations.