Thursday, September 22, 2011

What Makes a Quilt a Quilt

Hand quilting on a no-baste quilt frame

A quilt is an artistic expression of love

I've always held firm that a quilt isn't a quilt unless it is hand quilted. As I have embraced quilting as a full time en devour, I am finding this thought needs to be reconsidered. I have so many ideas in my head that hand quilting will not possible afford me the time to get them all created. I have so many quilts on my list for family members and friends, many I want to do for charity, and also ones for the art and fun of it. I have a dilemma. If I continue to hand quilt I will surely never get all the designs and ideas out of my head and into creation. However, if I don't hand quilt them will I be short-changing someone of what I truly believe a quilt to be?

To me quilt is more than just the hand stitching; it is a labor of love. From the moment I decide I am going to make a quilt for someone, I begin to pour my heart and soul into that quilt beginning with the pattern and design all the way through completion. I think of that person and what they mean to me, what their meaning is to the people around them and to the world. Sometimes I think on a quilt for years because I want the quilt to be a perfect reflection of what that person means to me. When they wrap up in their quilt I want them to feel all my love and the thoughts of them I was thinking while I worked on it. I want it to feel like a great big hug from me saying I love you, I'm thinking of you, you matter to me, and that everything is going to be OK.

I heard an opinion on the difference between hand quilting and machine quilting that went something like this; it's kind of like taking a trip, hand quilting is like taking a walk, enjoying the scenery, kind of like meditation as you travel to your destination. Machine quilting is like taking a car to get there. You arrive at the same place it's just how fast you get there. After hearing this I began to look at machine quilting in a new way. I guess sending a quilt to a long armer would be like taking a vacation and having your souvenirs mailed to your home so you don't have to lug them back on the plane.

Sure my hand quilted stitches aren't perfect, I'm not so concerned with stitches to the inch, I do try to be consistent. I don't quilt with winning a show in mind. I quilt with the recipient in mind and to express love; love for the person, love for the art, love for the cause. I suppose machine quilting wouldn't diminish the meaning of the quilt. You still put a lot of effort and thought into the design and process of machine quilting and I would still be doing the quilting myself. I'd be able to get more quilts made to share with others. Hmm? I may have to consider this a little longer.

1 comment:

  1. I used to hand quilt every quilt. Over the years I've come to realize there is a time and place for every type of stitching. One is not better or worse than another just different. Some items are made as keepsakes,some are made for use/wear and some just for crazy fun. There are so many things to make and so little time. Why stress over it:)


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