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!


  1. Bonnie, didn't I see one of those ''No quilt Police here'' badges? Nuff said!

  2. Anonymous11:18 AM EDT

    When I visited the European Quilt Championship the first prize winner in machine quilting was beautifull but like all the others in that category is was dead; quilted and embellished too much.
    I too think that a quilt should remain a quilt; to snuggle under, to comfort. My quilts are all handquilted and therefor I don't produce many, but they are for my family, stitched with love.(wouldn't even know HOW to machinequilt) Handquilting sooths my soul and it makes me sad that other quilters look down on it, even think its pityfull to do everything by hand..
    I love your scrappy designs and I love the way you machine-quilt: you're quilts are very much alive, ready to give someone warmth and comfort!

  3. Quilting has changed so much and so fast in the last few years, but the one thing that hasn't changed is that it is still a very personal thing. What one person thinks is just awesome, another thinks leaves something to be desired.

    I personally think that the heavily quilted quilts are fine for 'art' but they don't really appeal to me. I do both hand quilting and machine quilting on my sewing machine. I also send quilts to a friend in Montana who does amazing things with her long arm machine. Not the heavy quilting thing, just letting the quilt tell her what it needs.

  4. I hand quilted for years before I started longarm quilting. I think the two art forms need to be thought of (and judged) in very different ways. Neither is going to replace the other.

    I like simple, fluffy quilting on my personal scrap quilts. When I do teaching samples or quilts for magazines, they are quilted ornately and are very flat.

    I would hate to see hand quilting disappear. I would also hate to see machine quilting stop progressing as it has in the last 10 years.

    It's a big world and there's room enough for all kinds of quilts, quilting, and quilters.

    Good thoughts, Bonnie.

  5. There's such a thing as "too much quilting." I personally like a quilt to be soft & snuggly. The very heavily quilted, flat, stiff quilts may be fine to look at, but that's about it. The quilts you quilt are beautiful so don't second guess yourself. To heck with the "quilt police." Keep doing what makes you happy and don't worry about it.


  6. Bonnie, we all love what you do, and I think that your type of quilt showcases so many fabrics of our era that they will become catalogs of our time. I personally love hand-quilting, though I don't get much of it done, because it is so calming. I can actually feel my heart rate drop when I sit down to hand-quilt something. I agree that hand-quilted and machine quilted items should not be judged against each other. As to the automated machines, I don't get that at all. The only talent shown there is being a good technician at setting up the machine. I can't see how working in that fashion provide the sense of fulfilment that I find from creating with my hands. Seeing the number of hand-quilted things decline at Paducah each year has created a sadness within me, too. I think those people are missing the point, and when their productivity ceases to sustain them, those of us who work with our hands and the love of creating will still be plodding along . . . happily, however!

  7. I really enjoyed the thoughtful dialogue here. I also can see the value in both. But I mostly had to leave you a note to say that the quilting on the pictures you have is beautiful - you have a real eye for picking designs that compliment your quilts - keep up the good work.
    Julie in Oregon

  8. I'd love to have you join me and other quilters on my new quilt blog list! Please give me a link back if you join up. Kindly, Niki

  9. Bonnie-- yep, quilt shows do the same thing for me.... I sometimes come away very depressed. I do a decent job on my domestic (I do not like to longarm, as I enjoy being REALLY close to the quilt when working. What I sometimes do, is throw in some hand quilting with the machine quilting. Believe it or not, the two are compatible. Barbara P barbpowers77@gmail.com

  10. I have seen so many place a 'value judgement' on their own work based upon their perceptions of another's work. Some of the these people I have tried my darndest to keep them in guild, or in the craft. I'm one of them!!!

    I used to think "My work will never be like that". Well it will be if I want it to be. But then if it is like 'hers'.... it stops being mine....... and after all, isn't that why we all started quilting in the first place?

    You do wonderful work Bonnie.... and you share so much of your talent and joy with the world. Remember it is yours, and no one can take it away from you.

  11. I was taught how to miter quilt corners at a quilt-retreat my small group sponsored. I'd been rounding my corners for almost 20 yrs before I was shown a better way. I'll volunteer to miter ALL your quilt's corners. :)

    I handquilt all my "special quilts" but get all those going to folks under 50 yrs old machine-quilted. SOme of the younger folks just *don't* know how to take care of handquilted heirlooms I'd do for them. I like your pantograph quilting better than heavy custom-quilting.

  12. I'v felt the same way when coming home from a quilt show. I had to think really hard about what I want to get out of my quilting experience. I make quilts that are used and loved. I have made some that are nicer than others. I have a friend that does the long arm quilting for me and we have a great time designing together. When I see quilts from a show I realize that those will never be my quilts, sometimes a little sadly. It is nice to admire and get some ideas from the things they do but I know my quilts will never be like theirs, and that's ok. Maybe we should start a quilt show for ordinary folks, like us. Who like pantos and like not stitching their mitered corners down or filling their binding or over quilting their quilts. Like and "Everyday Quilting" show? I bet we would learn as much if not more from each other and wouldn't it boost our morale??

  13. There's nothing wrong with making quilts to be loved and used rather than entered in shows to match someones idea of perfection.
    I'd love to one day be a fraction of the quilter you are - you have a fantastic eye for colour, design and I LOVE your quilting.
    Don't try and conform to someone else's standards or feel embarressed by your own. You've got a following for WHO YOU ARE :)

  14. I also feel the same way as you. I will not enter a quilt show because I feel my quilting is no where near the others work. And I've been hand quilting for 26 years and longarming for 11.
    I don't sew my mitered edges of my binding down either. In fact, I won't hand sew them down either. I sew to the back, flip to the front and edge stitch. Good enough for me!

  15. I'm a longarm quilter and shop owner, and I always tell people, It's YOUR quilt, and YOU are the one that has to look at it, so do what pleases you, and no one else. Also, most people just can't afford extensive custom quilting and are quite happy with a pretty pantograph. Keep doing what you're doing...as long as your customers are happy, then you're doing great!

  16. Bonnie, I absolutely love the quilts that you've quilted for me. You do beautiful work and have NOTHING to be ashamed of.

    (If you were trying to "quilt for show" you could but you are CHOOSING not to and that's more than okay.)

    I make my quilts the way I do because they speak to ME -- my heart, my soul, my inner self -- and if others happen to feel that passion then all the better. I cannot make a quilt for a judge - I just can't.

    Soul searching aside, I hope you will hold your head up and continue to be the uniquely wonderful person you are!!!

  17. Bonnie,Bonnie,Bonnie...you're THINKIN' too much!! lol Do you like your quilts? I do, but do you?? Well, you have to decide if you want to quilt for what seems to be "in" at the moment or for YOU. I think you already made that choice, thankfully. You're doing just great, you're making quilts that reflect your tastes and aesthetics (I've always wanted to use that word...hope I spelled it right!). lol Lori in VA

  18. I think perhaps we were separated at birth! Right down to not sewing down the miters in my bindings and getting marked off for it each time!!
    Lisa in NH

  19. Typically I'm a very competitive person and when my sister Deb started longarm quilting doing very elaborate custom quilting and winning awards - I had to stop and think about why I quilt.

    I love scrap quilts, I really like pantographs although I'm stretching myself to do more freehand quilting, and for me a quilt is something I cuddle under or donate rather than art I hang on the wall and less quilting suits those quilts.

    I make quilts to use and donate and my interest isn't in working for hire or making show quilts. I'm OK with that too.

    I hope your musings will come to the same conclusions - you do what you CHOOSE to do better than anyone - be proud!

  20. Hi Bonnie:
    I love to read your thoughts...fun and so akin to mine! Sometimes we are our own worst critics. I have a quilt, quilted by you, that is one of my most precious posessions. The quilting is absolutely fabulous, and every person who gets to see it says the same. So I disagree with your feelings like your quilting doesn't measure up! You do, indeed!! A quilt that is machine quilted so much that it is stiff is not very pretty to me, and that seems to be the trend here in Texas. An old time quilter would never quilt so much as to make the quilt not drape on her bedstead...
    I am saddened to by the lack of hand-quilted quilts in our shows. Out of 150 quilts hanging in the last show, 2 were hand quilted. People just don't have the time...want it done now...Me included!! So, this is rambling, but we are our own worst quilt police!!!

  21. I love you quilts! And I love hand AND machine quilting and do both. And I have a question : I'm thinking about handquilting the blocks of my top in progress and machine quilting the border with feathers...Can we do this??? Mix hand AND machine quilting in the SAME quilt??
    I would like to know what you think!

    Nat, from Paris, France

  22. I've long since freed myself from quilt show judges and their opinions. My quilts have also been criticized for my not-tacked-down mitered binding. That was just about the last straw. I love the look of just the fold and never stitch the miters down. And don't intend to.

    I've seen judges who didn't understand art quilts mark down the maker whose work didn't have seams that lined up. We don't all have to color in the lines all the time!

    And I've seen quilt judges who didn't understand quilts made to replicate 19th century asthetics. Not many old quilts have mitered borders and that's what those judges like to see.

    And as to long arm technique--I like pantograph quilting too. And I've been dismayed by the stiff overall quilting I've seen on some award winners. Fot a wall quilt--great. But a bed quilt ought to retain some softness and loft and not be totally beaten into submission.


  23. The problem is with the judges who ARE by the very nature of their task THE QUILT POLICE. For that reason I will never enter a quilt in a judged show, not even the county fair.

    I have nothing against this newer generation of quilters who want a finished product NOW! That is what has given rise to the popularity of machine quilting. But those who have been assigned the job of judging in shows are influencing the decline in fine hand quilting. Pshaaaw to them, I say. If I want an instant product then I'll machine quilt or send my top out to be done. If I want a quilt to gift to someone as a token of my love, it will be done entirely by me and be quilted by hand. There's the difference to me...one is a product & the other is a quilt.JMHO

    Your work makes your customers happy so be proud. There are plenty of us around that still value hand quilting and don't feel that there is some arbitrary standard that we must meet. We just love quilts!

  24. For what it's worth, I'd rather have a Bonnie Hunter scrappy hand quilted or machine quilted quilt any day over and above any other I've seen. I've seen some beautiful quilts, but you take me back to a time that is long past for me. Back to when my Grandmother would put anything into a quilt top. I love the "old" feel of the busy, garbage can tops. Bonnie, YOUR quilts have inspired so many of us to try it, to step outside our own comfort zones. Hold that head up! WE are all so proud to call you friend and mentor!
    Regina in MI

  25. I think alot of quilts are overquilted!!! In my book the quilting (whether machine or hand) should enhance the design created by the piecing not take away from it or overshadow it. Hand quilting is still my favorite and that's what I do alot of!!

  26. I look at your quilts and think there's no way I can quilt the way you do. If you're feeling the same way, looking at other people's quilting, I might as well just sell my machine now! I try to do what makes me and my customers happy. I know I've lost a LOT of customers to quilters with computerized machines. They can quilt faster and less expensively than I can. I'm seriously considering getting out of the business. Quilting isn't nearly as much fun now that I feel I can't keep up with the new technology in the field and I really don't want to. I'm not sure how much longer I'll be doing this.

  27. Anonymous6:43 PM EDT

    I agree with everything you've said. I generally have edge-to-edge put on my quilts because I make them to use, not to look at. Now for the spanner, the custom quilting I like best is done by three women, one of whom uses a small "hobby" gammill, the other two using domestic machines. The girls who use the domestic machines really fill the quilt, but it's a whole different look to longarm quilting.

    But for me, 90% of the time, panto quilting is exactly what my quilts need. They are still quilty, but the right panto just adds that bit more.

  28. Bonnie, I would much rather have a quilt that is "loved" than a quilt that has been "judged". The quilts that I've pieced, I don't "quilt", are not to be put in a show. They are made as gifts for the people that I love. These people don't care if a seam lines up or if the border is wonky. They also don't care how its quilted by me or someone else, sometimes they don't even know, lol. I think the people who sent you their quilts to quilt are so lucky to have had you do it. So, don't over think this. You know what is good for your quilts and your quilts always come out looking beautiful. So, keep up the good work and keep the piece. Renée

  29. Whew - a lot of reading here, and I see I have been 'spotted' by the gadget on the side! More fun!

    I love your quilts because they are meant to be used and give the appearance of making-do. What good is a quilt if it sits on the bed and no one can use it, or sit on it, or have a fever and cuddle under it? And what if DH sits on one of those show stoppers when he has a screw driver in his back pocket?

    Your quilts are all so friendly, doable, and down-to earth. I love them all. I also do hand quilting on occasion, and now there are hardly ANY other hand quilters, but I still don't win! Wahhhhh. And I DON'T like the movement to so many heavily-machine-quilted, but they had a place - just not my favorite.

    Thanks again, for all you do for us.

  30. Wow! Looks like you struck a nerve! I agree that some of the custom quilting we are seeing in shows now is over the top. You can't use that quilt for anything except to hang on a wall. Though they are gorgeous; they are not my style. I love the pantographs that are available now. The woman here in town that has done several quilts for me does nothing but pantographs...without a stitch regulator. She is so good, I dare anyone to try and find a stitch that isn't uniform. That, in my opinion, is art. Having danced with a Gammil myself a few times, I know it isn't as easy as it looks.

    You should be proud. Your quilts are beautiful and loved. And bonus...look at all the people you have inspired. You even have me doing leaders and enders...me...who gave Mrs. Goodneedle 3 large trash bags of scraps last year.

  31. I think it's all dependent on why you do what you do.

    Do you have the skill level to fill up a quilt with quilting? Probably. Do you have the motivation to do it? Probably not. Then what's the point?

    I have learned I can go to quilt shows and admire and appreciate the art quilts and the intricate machine quilting and incredible embellishments and handwork, but if I compared my work to theirs, I would never make another quilt. And that would be a shame because it's my outlet, my release, my love language.

    So I go to quilt shows to appreciate, to learn, to see what's new and what can be done, but not to judge my work by theirs. Maybe someday that will be important to me, but not right now.

  32. I'm not a long arm quilter (though I'd like to be!). But I have to agree with what you've said here. At the big Mid-Atlantic quilt show I got tired of looking at quilts with so much close stippling. Some were very special but for the most part it got boring. Kind of a contest to see who could get the most thread on a quilt. What's with that????

    Very few of them were "happy" quilts. They were so untouchable. I can admire the skill but where's the "feeling"?

    You make happy quilts. They make us smile. It's very hard to smile when you're saying ooooo and ahhhh. I'd rather smile! :-D

  33. I went to MQX in New Hampshire this year; and while I was very impressed with some of the fine detail work, I also realized I have no desire to own anything like it-- not only because I want to *use* my quilts, but also because I wouldn't want to pay for it. My longarm quilter has used mostly pantographs on my quilts, with some free motion work, and I consider myself fortunate to own such beautiful quilts--I never thought I'd ever own a quilt so beautiful until I found her. Longarm quilters like you fill an important niche in the marketplace, so keep on keeping on. Besides, these things cycle around every so many years. In a few years, hand quilting might be all the rage again.

    If you're feeling like you don't measure up or if the competition is important to you, then put in the hours of practice and get better. After seeing some of your work, you could accomplish it. If not, then don't compare yourself to them, because you're unique in what you do. You also have a million devotees on the internet who love everything you do. I think that's pretty remarkable, and I think the comments on your blog are testament to that.

    Hand quilting is beautiful, and I love it, but I simply don't have time to do it, or I couldn't use the quilt in my lifetime. Machine quilting is another means to an end and takes great skill to do it well. To each her own.

    I don't mitre the corners on my bindings either, and I don't care if anybody else thinks I should! Exactly where is that in the rule book anyway?

  34. Dear Bonnie,
    I have been watching you via your website for several years now. I first encountered you when you wrote on the longarm list about your trip returning from the Sisters Quilt show to Burley, Idaho. I was laughing so hard I fell off my chair as you talked about your being stopped for speeding and wishing the cop would hurry because you reallly had to go. I have been machine quilting for 18 years and it is so nice to see you write the things I have felt for years. When I started people looked down on me because I quilted by machine, then as that became okay I was thought to be less because I liked doing edge to edge or pantograph patterns. I fill a market for those that want their quilts quilted but can't afford the high dollar work. I also don't believe every quilt needs show stopping work. You have nothing to apologize for you bring such joy and sharing to quilting. Hold your head up high and enter some of your quilts to let others see all the options open to them. Hand quilters have nothing to hang their head about either they are a different enitity all their own and shouldn't be judged against machine quilted quilts it's not fair to either. You just keep on being you and doing you own thing. After all there are almost 2000 of us on just this list that are here because we like what you do just fine. By the way my husband and I are moving to Burley, Idaho. Keep up the good work.
    Anita Owen
    Olalla, Wa
    Bed of Roses MQ

  35. HAVE WE FORGOTTON WHERE WE HAVE COME FROM??????? Quilting from its humble beginnings was all about utility and frugality. The fact that the finished product was beautiful was an added bonus. Scraps are really a patchwork of lifes adventures. It is so wonder ful to look at a scrap quilt and think back to where the fabric originated from. For me it might have come from a deceased friends stash or leftover from one of my other quilts, or perhaps from a friends leftovers or an old garment or from a gift or any of a multitude of other sources. Quilts are all about memories, thoughts, experiences and life -- oh yes and fabric. My quilts are beautiful in my eyes, well crafted and well thought out-- I don't need a judge to tell me that -- I don't need to have my work validated by anyone other than myself. I have done the best that I can do and that is all that matters!!!
    We have our skills and talents because people have shared with us their skills and talents--- in turn we share with others so that the tradition and craft continues. Your generous sharing of your craft has enriched the lives of so many -- don't ever underestimate your contribution or your work.

    the mischief maker

  36. Bonnie - Don't you dare change how you make or quilt your quilts. I would give my right arm (well I would if I wasn't right handed...lol) to be able to stand next to you while you sew and quilt - just the inspiration alone would be so worth it. Every time I look at your beautiful quilts I feel a sense of "rightness", a link back if you will, where quilting was a way of providing not only warmth but style in a time when there wasn't much in the way of luxuries. You have inspired me to try quilt patterns and materials (ie op shops shirts...vbg) which I would never have been game to try before. Even my quilting machine is getting more of a work out of late as your quilting designs are inspiring me to play more and worry less about the dreaded "Quilt Police". Don't worry about your style of quilting or how its even done. So long as you are happy with what you are doing, and I think I can safely assure you that the rest of us "Bonnie Fans" are very satisfied, then that's all that matters. Yes those quilts in the show are beautiful but I would much rather see my children wrap themselves and one of the dogs in my not so perfectly quilted quilts and know they are warm than have one that I would tuck away in the cupboard for fear it may be ruined.

    Quilty Cyber hugs


  37. Bonnie,
    You're a maverick--you don't fit into the world you viewed. There are "show" quilts and there are "love" quilts. And the show quilt makers love their quilts just like the love quilt makers love theirs. The quilting world has expanded into different facets. There's nothing wrong with pantographs or hand quilting. There's nothing wrong with heavily quilted artsy quilts. But I can tell you the general public thinks of a quilt as hand quilted.

  38. Wow, what a thought provoking post you shared with us today Bonnie! Look at all of these responses! I’m so glad you brought this up for discussion as I feel the same as you on a lot of views. And after reading the many replies I have to say that I agree with what Calidore said... about giving an arm just to stand next to you while you sew and quilt!! :)

    Not everyone can afford a longarm quilter, an those that do save their money to get a quilt quilted, can not always afford custom quilting… so I love your comment about the fun panos! I agree, and am so glad that you enjoy quilting them – b/c that is about all I can afford at this time.

    [i]"Thanks to these designers, edge to edge quilting no longer resembles a mattress pad or a cheap motel bedspread."[/i] Bonnie, I don’t' know if you were lookin for an AMEN, but [b]AMEN Sister!!![/b] ;c)

    Thanks again for sharing your thoughts! - oh and also thanks for sharing the photos to go along with the post  you know us very well… we love photos to keep our attention!!!

    Love from Texas! ~bonnie

  39. I like my quilts to be snuggly and those machine quilted ones are beautiful, but more of an artwork, not soft and comfy. Just do what you like, your customers obviously like what you do, too.

  40. keep on quilting Bonnie -- and do it your way! I first became acquainted with you when I stumbled onto the Scrapsaver System. I was hooked! I can't tell you the number of hours I spent pressing and cutting my scraps. You have inspired me -- and I am sure thousands of others.

  41. So you are meant to sew down your mitred corners!!???? who knew? not me I agree with all the above comments... its this attitude of what is ok now that made me leave my quilt guild, after being secretary & president!, I JUST LOVE QUILTING.... however it turns out is how it's meant to be....I am going to do a machine quilting class in August,just because I have more unfinished tops than I will ever get hand quilted!! but they will be the fold up-pullout-throw on the floor-dog sleeps on-we cuddle under ones!! the presents/specials I make will still be hand quilted because thats what I like doing the most & I feel when I hand quilt for someone else I have given them a bit of me with the gift....I personally love the pantograph work that you do it is very flowing & soft ..I too hate the -so closely stippled you can't bend it look- ok for the wall but not for comfort ..any way keep doing what you do we all love it ...maybe we should stop going to the formal Quilt Shows :))& hold our own with catagories like didn't buy anything new for this- ran out of the blue & had to substitute- creative sewing used in this ( eg: strips not quite long enough so pulled a bit)
    My kind of thing !!

  42. Bonnie, you quilted our DS's and DDIL's wedding quilt and it was a MASTERPIECE. At the time (last summer), I was the proud new owner of a longarm, but I knew I didn't have the skill to quilt the top the way it deserved. I was in awe when I saw what you did and if I ever can get halfway as good as you are, I will be very happy indeed! You do gorgeous work!!!

  43. Everyone else has already said how beautifully you quilt. I just really need to say this, at the risk of sounding harsh... but when you feel ashamed of your (gorgeous) quilting, what do you think that does to those of us who lump along and just hope our quilts will not come unraveled?! Too many people feel reluctant to put quilts in shows - even non judged shows. When a talented quilt artist like you thinks YOURS are not good enough... it doesn't help the "regular" folks who are working up their courage to show a quilt. I think you momentarily forgot the only rule we need to follow: "ignore the quilt police!" Take a deep breath and go back to being a Maverick and quilting in the way that you love. It works.

  44. You do such amazing work, Bonnie. Don't second guess yourself and just keep on doin' what you do so well. Your fans are listening!

  45. For those of you who don't want to sew down binding at the miter, I want to share this blog tutorial. It works beautifully and is so easy!


    Also wanted to say that sometimes quilts are too "cold." I think we all quilt to show our love so no matter your skill level, the love is there!

    Bonnie has inspired to many of us--thanks, Bonnie!

  46. I know this posting is several years old, but am glad I found it. I agree with carrie. For a few years I've read blogs of quilters using expensive new fabric lines, and making perfectly coordinated quilts, and causing a bit of hysteria with readers who wanted the newest fabric line, the newest trend, etc... And recently the "modern quilters"... I like pretty fabric just as much as the next quilter, but honestly, I love my boxes of sorted strips, my stacks of Goodwill shirt fabric, my kids outgrown dresses, and shared scraps better than all the fabric lines in the world.
    This week I finished handquilting a very old quilt top that my mom kept in the cedar chest all my life. It was made by her great, great grandmother who was Cherokee. The fabrics by themselves are absolutely ugly, they are bits and pieces left from clothing or sacks, but put them together and it's like magic. The harsh colors soften, and blend together. If I didn't know better, I'd think it were a modern art quilt. So, I agree we need to remember who we quilt for, and do only what we love. Quilting has always been in my life, and for some reason it's simply what I do. I don't think I could live and not quilt. I've enjoyed reading everyone's responses.

  47. There are some great comments here and I only have one thing to add. Bonnie, your work inspires others like myself to stretch ourselves in our craft. Inspires us to try new quilting techniques and produce things we love. It is sad that the quilt show did not inspire you but it was a competition not an exhibition, so shake it of and find your inspiration so the rest of us can enjoy.

    There is a place for all, Art quilts should stay art on the wall, afar and our quilts can continue to be loved.

  48. Bonnie,
    I started this new year (2013) with a thorough cleaning out of my fabric bins and reorganizing by strips and blocks as you describe and I am already enjoying the quilts I can make, so thank you for that motivation! Next, I want to hone my abilities on my long arm, which, I have only owned for less than a year....Oh, I have the meandering puzzle piece stitch down pat, but really, nothing else yet and I'm wondering about pantographs....I tried a few, but with little success. I need some pantograph guidance...what should my first step be with this?


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