3 Little Soapboxes

Here are 3 topics on which I just couldn’t hold back:

1. Competitive quilter?!?! I don’t think so!  I took a great class with a noted quilter about two years ago and was stunned when she referred to herself as a “competitive quilter”.  I’ve always thought of quilting as the ultimate cooperative endeavor, with women working together in quilting bees and quilt guilds, sharing both their work and their lives. It was discouraging to hear that many quilters find out who the judge will be at a major show and then make a quilt specifically to please that judge.  I do understand that many people make all or part of their income from quilting, and that big wins can bring in both fame and fortune.  I’m still shocked that some people quilt for other people rather than for their own artistic expression.  Just call me grumpy.

free motion quilting

Some practice quilting–love that shiny thread!

2. I don’t want to become a machine. I’ve written before about what works and doesn’t work for me in terms of learning to quilt on my domestic sewing machine.  It finally occurred to me when I was working to get all my loops exactly the same that a pantograph (all-over) design on a longarm machine could do exactly the same thing with a fraction of the effort. HUH.

So, from now on I’m going to limit my efforts on the domestic machine to small items that are easier to do than to send out, and to quilts that really require custom quilting for some reason.  And I’m going to quit trying to “perfect” my loops, stitches, etc.

I figure I could have every quilt I’ll make for the rest of my life quilted for what it would cost me in time and money to buy, house, and learn to use a longarm machine.

I recently met a woman who says she will have her longarm paid for after 40 quilts. But she was accounting for only the cost of the machine, not her time in learning to use it, her time doing the quilting, or the cost of finding a place to set it up.  Seems to work for her and for many others, but I think it’s not for me.  I’ll hire one of them to do my longarm work!

free motion quilting

More practice quilting, more shiny thread

3. Chutzpah and modern quilting.  I’m not big on a definition of modern quilting. “I know it when I see it” works for me.  But in looking at many blogs and websites, it appears to me that it’s modern quilting if you say it is.  I’ve seen very traditional designs done in modern fabric and called “modern”. So I  if I use traditional fabric but with asymmetric design or lots of negative space or one of those other “hallmarks” of modern quilting, that would be a modern quilt, too!  Looks to me like modern quilting is a lot like all other art: 80% chutzpah.  Fine by me. Don’t tell me my design isn’t modern and I won’t tell you that yours isn’t either.  We get to define ourselves.  Enough said.

Have a good week!

One final sample...

One final sample…not perfect and not meant to be since I’m not a machine

6 thoughts on “3 Little Soapboxes

  1. Can I stand on your box with you? We can shout together since we both know the words! Yes, on these same issues. I *do* have a long-arm and it is good for me, but I would never suggest it is right for everyone. I’ve heard too many stories of quilters who buy the long-arm and then are afraid to use it. So there sits this piece of equipment that cost as much as a decent used car, and it takes up a whole room, and NOW how are they getting their quilting done? I do figure mine is “paid for” and I’m glad to have it. I also know if my life changed and I needed to use a different solution, I could.

    Thanks for bringing these up. Good call.

  2. Hi, “grumpy!” 🙂 I certainly think of quilting as something that brings women together, too. Competetive quilting sounds like a bit of an oxymoron……IMHO……..thanks for your blog….

  3. Interesting 3. First thoughts. Not sure how I feel on #1. . If I know a judge’s style and have an idea that fits it and one that doesn’t, makes sense to create the one that fits. That said, I’d never consider myself a competitive quilter. #2 I like Angela Walter’s idea of changing up size of motifs, of making five echoes one time and 3 another. In other words varying design enough that it looks intentional. She does it on a longarm, but it fits DSM as well. More a concept of freehand FMQ. A longarm is not in my future either. Longarmers need the rest of us so they can stay in business. #3 Modern quilting–a moving target.

    • Thanks for reading, and for your thoughtful comments. I see what you mean about #1–of course we’re all influenced by “show quality” standards. It just doesn’t START there for me. That said, if we’re designing quilts as a challenge (which often we are), I suppose a judge’s preference could be as valid a challenge as any. And yes, thank goodness for people who want to quilt my quilts for me!

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