Monday, March 5, 2012

Sold a Bill of Goods....?

A few weeks ago when I was on Mark Lipinski's show, Creative Mojo, I was asked if we had been sellling a bill of goods to quilters.  Meaning, are we (those who write patterns) simplifying things too much, are we not providing enough opportunities for challenges and growth?  I have been pondering this question for awhile.  I totally understand his point of view, there are a lot of patterns and books out there advertising their ease and ability to finish in a timely manner (mine included).  Is that all quilting has become, a quick and fast blanket factory (you should gasp with shock and horror now...I said BLANKET and not QUILT)?

All these quick and easy quilt making books are for one give those who might be overwhelmed by quilting, a comfortable introduction to this art.  I know when I wrote my book, many of my friends and family members wanted to learn how to quilt, but were too intimidated by it all.  The fast and easy description, is truly to let people know that they CAN DO IT.  As the quilting population dwindles, I think it is important we embrace new quilters, and arm them with the confidence they need to make more than one quilt.

Another plug for Fast and EASY quilts is, THEY GET DONE.   If you are an expectant mother, and you know you want your baby to have something you made for them, you will want this baby to love and USE this quilt,  and you will choose a pattern that you can finish in a few months.  Also, you will want to choose a pattern that will allow frequent washings, and will last.  The simple act of choosing fabric for your baby, and the pattern used, will show this child a little bit of your personality.  Little parts of YOU will shine through, and become part of the quilt you give away.  This part of quilting is HERITAGE!  No ones cares if the points match, or if the quilting is perfect.  What matters is that the quilt was made with a special purpose.  LOVE!
from my home....

But, then there is another kind of quilt.  The kind that stretches your abilities, that makes you think harder, do more math, take a long time, maybe read a book, or sew many trials blocks.  With this kind of quilt you are growing, and stretching, and increasing your ability.  This kind of quilt shows you want to learn, improve, and master the art of quilting.  As you grow in this way, the quilt becomes ART.  An artful expression of you.  And, at this point....the world gives the quilt and quilter VALUE.  These quilts are amazing!  They inspire others to work hard, to reach farther, to go out on a limb and experiment with different ideas.

from the Feb. 2012 Tucson Quilt Show

It's my hope that we stop comparing these two kinds of quilts.  They are not in competition with each other, they are not made with the same purpose.  Each kind of quilt holds immense value for the person or purpose for which it was made.   I don't think we should belittle either kind or purpose.

Each quilt can be inspirational, touching, and amazing.  Simply, make one!


  1. What a great post! But I wouldn't say the quick and easy books have only one purpose. Just because I CAN make something complicated doesn't mean I always WANT to! Sometimes I like just sitting there and mindlessly piecing hundreds of squares, or making an entire quilt top in a day. Other times I want something more involved that makes me really think. It is great to have access to quilt patterns that suit every mood,

  2. I can't believe you said BLANKET...

  3. Susan, you are totally right. Sometimes we need a mindless sewing moment! Thanks for your input.