Today's quilter has many fabric options. One of these is sometimes called
"cheater fabric." This would include fabric printed with traditional block
designs, as well as panels, and linear prints.
Cheater fabric should be called smart fabric. Anytime you can make the
fabric do the work for you, that makes quilting fast and easy.
In the past, cheater fabrics tended to be of poor quality. Now, quality
manufacturers, and noted lines like Thimbleberries, sell cheater fabrics.
You can use cheater fabrics to make whole cloth quilts, or you can cut them up
and use blocks of them in a pieced patchwork quilt. Panels are almost
always cut out of the fabric. Then they are framed with lattice or worked into
the quilt in another way.
In the picture to left left I am holding a quilt I made from simple squares.
I cut up the cheater print, and put some of the squares in the border to give
the quilt a little more personality besides the autumn colors.
Here is another picture of a cheater fabric. With this fabric the
individual block patterns are much smaller. It would be hard to use this
fabric other than as a whole cloth quilt or as border pieces.
If you find a print you like, you might buy just a little of the fabric and use it as an
inspiration piece and copy and piece the blocks.
prints are also cut up and worked into quilts for their personality. The
picture to the left is a small section of a long linear design for a child's
When you make a linear quilt you often piece a row, and then you can insert a
row of "cheater fabric." Fabrics like the print to the left have many
different designs, so you can pick and choose which ones you want to add to your
quilt as well as where to add them. There is still a lot of creative
process using this fabric.
Panels, linear fabrics, and other types of this fabric can make beautiful
quilts. Do not be afraid to use them. You can get a look using these
prints that is hard to get with nothing but pieced blocks. They are a lot
of fun to work with and children love them.
One last tip is that if you are going to use your sewing machine
to quilt your project when you are done, and are going to use straight
stitching, think about doing some quilting on your panels before you add them to
your quilt. When you have a small piece of fabric, you can easily turn it
and highlight some of the designs. Then you can quilt the area again with
straight stitches when the project is done.