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Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Machine Quilting Thoughts....
I have always thought that "To each their own, each in their own way" was a good motto for me. It still is.
I've been thinking lately though, after 13 years of longarm quilting for the public that I was feeling serious burn out, and doubting my abilities as a quilter to keep up with trends and the way things are going.
For instance, I worked my guild's quilt show this weekend. I was the hand quilting demo person! One of many,but I did my 2 hour stint between 12 and 2 on saturday. This also gave me an opportunity to view the quilts, visit the vendors and get to know the guild members better.
(All quilts here are ones that I've quilted. I added them to the post because it needed color in amongst all the paragrahs just to keep your attention! :cD)
This area has a lot more long arm quilters than Columbia, SC had. Their work puts me to shame. I seriously felt that as I walked the aisles and viewed their incredible work. I can't touch their quilting with a 10 ft pole. I seriously can't. The amount of detail work is incredible. I can't imagine the number of hours, the intense filler stitching, miles and miles of thread, each stitch so small and even. SHOW STOPPING. I was in awe.
And then I felt like hanging my head. Not only because I didn't put ANYTHING in the show, (everything I WOULD have put in was either being used in my traveling trunk show, or off that the photographers in Missouri)but because even if I *HAD* put anything in the show, under the scrutiny of judges I would feel really ashamed at what I pass off as quilting. Okay..maybe it's not that bad but.....
(I don't stitch down my miters on the corners of my binding. I'll confess that right now. I like my "dimensional" 3-D origami folded corners as is. I don't know why this is an important judging aspect, but it appears to be because I've been marked down on it every time..*LOL*)
I make traditional quilts. I don't make show stoppers. I use fabric most people would throw away. As Tonya said, I use the garbage can approach! (when she said this I about died laughing, I love the description!)My quilts are usually SO busy that a lot of intricate fancy show stopping quilting just has no where to show up on my quilts. I can do decent custom quilting, but I don't tend to quilt a quilt to death. I like quilts to still feel like quilts.
I happen to like what the pantograph designers have put out in the past few years. I think panto designing has really come into it's own as an art form. Because of these designers, I am able to put wonderful edge to edge designs on my quilts that really enhance the over all texture and pattern of the quilt. Sometimes I like to just plug those MP3 ear phones into my ears and zone out while following the lines with the laser light. I don't feel like I need to be embarrassed by the fact that I like the pantographs and even use them on my own quilts. Thanks to these designers, edge to edge quilting no longer resembles a mattress pad or a cheap motel bedspread. The pic shown here is a bit blurry, but it is quilted with one of my new favorites, Lime Tree,by our own Keryn Emmerson.
Then there is the whole thing of computer driven long arm quilting machines. There were a couple different booths with different machines at the show. I'm intrigued by the workings....fun to watch! They can do beautiful things as well. But I can't get over the feeling that they really are just an overpriced embroidery machine. I have yet to buy a car that is over $30,000.00. I just can't see why adding this feature to a machine is worth an extra $15,000.00. Do I really want my quilting to be this die-cut and computer-generated? The jury is still out.
Another thing I noticed at the show was the small amount of hand quilted quilts. This makes my heart hurt. As a long arm quilter, I still love hand quilting with a passion. Maybe that is an odd combination too. I remember when machine quilting was SO frowned upon. I was poo-poo'ed by the old tried and true blue guild members and quilt police when I started machine quilting in my mid 20's. At the time I just couldn't see putting all that hand work in quilts that my boys were going to drag around and that were going to need hard washing after many hours of hard playing. I still feel that way. Now it's the opposite foot. Hand quilters are ashamed to put their hand quilting in a show because it just can't compete with the amount of machine quilting that you can get into a machine quilted quilt. You just can't duplicate machine quilting by hand and fill every inch that way without it taking half your life to complete ONE project. Now hand quilters are feeling like there is not ENOUGH quilting in their quilt,as compared to machine quilting. Does this affect the judging of hand quilted quilts? "Not enough quilting" is something I've seen time and again on judged quilts. "needs more quilting in borders." "alternate blocks need to be filled to their edges".
Where are these thoughts leading? I'm not even sure. I'm just throwing them out there. I love to machine quilt. I love doing custom work and feathers in my own way even if they aren't show stoppers. I love covering a scrappy busy quilt with a gorgeously designed pantograph pattern. I love to hand quilt until my fingers are pricked and sore. I love it all.
For now, I think I'll throw on a scrappy busy and try a pantograph I've been dying to try!
Quipped by Bonnie K Hunter at 9:58 AM