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Date: Thu, 5 Apr 2001 20:50:30 -0700

From: "Christine Thresh" <christinewinnowing.com>


I think the hand vs. machine quilting subject has historical importance.

I've heard that when the sewing machine was newly popular (1860s or 70s)

quilters machine quilted their quilts even if they had hand pieced them.

They did it to show how up to date they were.

A mixture of hand and machine quilting is especially good for baby quilts.

The machining helps hold the quilt together during rough usage and frequent

washing, while the hand quilting in appropriate spots gives the quilt a

softer look. I did this for my second grandson's quilt. I used a machine to

quilt in the ditch and for some straight sided stars, then I hand quilted

around and inside the appliqued letters on the quilt. He is eight years old

now and the quilt (which was also used by his younger brother) is still

fine, though faded.

I remember showing it to quilter friends at the time and being told that it

was "too bad" I machine quilted it.

Christine Thresh



Date: Fri, 06 Apr 2001 07:55:03 -0500

From: Laura Hobby Syler <texas_quilt.coairmail.net>


I totally agree with Nancy and Pepper. I too am a hand quilter, who has done

some machine quilting. Personally, I feel the two are mutually exclusive of each

other. As a judge, the two techniques should not be in the same category. There

are subtle nuances of each that are worthy of their own merits, but not of each


As to the quilter who pieces a top and has someone else quilt it, this has been

done for as long as we've been making quilts. The Dallas show has had a two

person quilt category (as well as a group category) since our first show in

1980. It is the fault of the entrant not to recognize the other maker involved

in the production of the finished piece. As a quilt show entry chair, when we

discovered that a second person was involved, and the quilt not entered in the

two person category, a call was made to allow the entrant to change the category.

However, the rules for the Dallas show state that final category selection will

be made by the show committee. Quilts that have a combination of hand and

machine are placed in the "other techniques" category along with techniques such

as crazy quilts and cathedral windows.

As to Karen's initial questions that sparked this thread,

The judges usually aren't concerned with the final awarding of the prizes (unless

they are a representative of the company awarding) I'm usually so focused on the

quilt selection and decision process that none of that ever comes to mind until

the awards ceremony. If you have never judged a quilt show, it's great fun....but

very hard, exhausting work. The show committee is responsible for designing the

judges rules and guidelines, as well as the categories. The judges must judge to

those rules. Sometimes they don't make much sense to the judges, but no matter.

Judges are employees of the show committee and are required to follow those


I think the fact that so many quilters are opting to have their pieces finished

by machine quilters, is just that...to get them finished. Machine quilting has

come a long way since the 1980's when the Dallas show's first rules and entry

form stated, No machine quilted quilts, No Kit quilts....

Times they do change!


In storm threatening N. Texas



Date: Fri, 6 Apr 2001 14:24:16 EDT

From: JQuiltaol.com

i recently went to a quilt show that had a majority of machine quilting..yes,

the makers of quilt tops acknowledged the machine quilter...

but now there are many quilters who not only send their tops to machine

quilted but also have them professionally bound...so in essence they are

"quilt toppers" and possibly label makers..but not quilters...

let's be totally honest...making the top is lotsa fun....quilting and binding

very often is not...

i could make 20-30 quilt tops per year...and send them out to be

finished...but if i hand or machine quilted my project it would more than

likely cut down the amount of my finished projects..

also....let me just say...if i saw one more quilt that had been machine

stippled...i would have screamed...there were verrrrry few quilts,with

creative machine quilting...very few..

and lots of times the overall machine quilting was the first thing you saw

and the block/s pattern/s were totally secondary...



Date: Fri, 6 Apr 2001 14:34:27 -0400

From: "pepper cory" <pepcorymail.clis.com>

All the points folks have been bringing up about machine vs. hand quilting

are good ones. One concern in particular and I hope people who belong to

guilds and who organize quilt events sit up and take notice: since there are

an increasing number of entries that ought to be labeled " I made the top

and then sent it to Machine Quilter X to be finished-", please, please

provide a category just for these quilts! That is the fairest and most

honest way to judge the pieces--against each other. And when one quilt wins

because it's beautifully planned, made, and quilted, both those people's

work set standards. Here's the bottom line: if you didn't do all the work on

the quilt, please credit the other workers--and that includes splitting the

prize money!

As to machine stippling: at the last show I judged (in the illustrious

company of Lynn Kough and Margaret Miller, both machine whizzes-) stippling,

except when it's exceptionally well done, appropriate to the piece, maybe

done in multicolor or metallic thread, is more often a cause to DOWNGRADE

the quilt than to help its eventual score. We as judges are able to tell

when you machine-stipple just to get the job done quickly--it shows! On the

other hand, I saw (and rewarded-) some breath-takingly beautiful machine


An aside to shop owners who must produce tons of samples: I sympathize with

your plight. Been there, done that. Stippling here is the norm because your

time is valuable. Maybe brand-new quilters see the stippled sample and don't

know that quilting takes many forms just as piecing a pattern for the top

can be accomplished many different ways.

All I'm going to say on a sunny Friday when I should be in the garden-

Pepper Cory



Date: Fri, 6 Apr 2001 21:09:48 EDT

From: KareQuiltaol.com


I am new to this forum but this topic really got my attention! I am a "new"

hand quilter. After years of wanting to do it, I finally found a teacher

that made the process "click" for me and I love it. I also find I can do it

pretty well. I piece my quilts by machine and have some machine quilted,

depending on their use, but for those special to me, I take the time to hand

quilt. I think that planning the design is about the same for either method

but machine quilting stitching is pretty much the same for anyone that can

master their machine (I, for one, cannot!). Hand quilting varies so much in

ability that I feel there should be a catagory that is just for that. If the

entire quilt is to be judged and the judge does not take into consideration

the method, then that is fine. But if it is the "quilting" that is being

judged, I think they should be separate arts. Machine quilting, like hand

quilting, is done better by some than others - but the two methods are so

very different in their approach that I don't see how you can compare them.

I have drooled over some beautiful machine quilting as well as those done by

hand, but I would never try to compare the two. The look is different in the

stitches, the method of doing it is different. Since it is on top of the

quilt for all to see, I think that handwork in quilting is much different

than hand pieced work, also. The look of a hand pieced quilt is very much

like a machine pieced quilt if done right. But the stitches of hand quilting

look very different from machine quilting. Hope I am not rambling and making

no sense. Will be interested to see how this topic fares. I have space in

my love of quilting for both - I just think they are "different". Thank you,



Date: Fri, 6 Apr 2001 22:27:48 -0400

From: "J. G. Row" <Judygrowrcn.com>

>Here's the bottom line: if you didn't do all the work on

>the quilt, please credit the other workers--and that includes splitting the

<prize money!

I've been going along here pretty much agreeing with what everyone has been

saying about machine/hand quilting. I do take exception to Pepper's

statement, above.

I've just gotten a quilt back from The Very Best long-arm machine quilter I

know of. We discussed what she would do beforehand, and I basically told

her what I wanted done. I picked the color thread, I designed the design.

She added her own design touches -- things that I would not have known about

because I don't handle the machine. The quilting on this bed-sized quilt is

very important, and wonderfully well done. However, I paid her for her

work. That was the contract we entered. I hired her to do that. The

finished quilt and all honors pertaining thereto belong to me.

Yes, I acknowledged her work on the label, but I don't feel I had to, and

should I enter this quilt somewhere and win prize money for it, I surely

wouldn't feel guilty keeping the prize money for myself..

The most successful artists have always had ateliers, have always had

apprentices to rough in the art, have always paid foundries to cast


have always had seamstresses to finish the work that they conceive. Same

thing applies here.

Do you really think that Degas sewed the tutu that clothes his little


Did Claes Oldenberg sew his soft toilet and other soft sculpture himself? I

know he didn't, because I knew who did, and she was paid an hourly wage. No

one would ever think of recognizing her input.

It is the artist's conception we honor.

Why here? What makes this so different? Are we admitting that this is only

craft, and there is no art? I don't think so. OK, I wouldn't put this

quilt in contention for "best machine quilting" under my name. Was there

ever an art show with a category for "best bronze casting?" Best stretched

canvas? Best picture framing? Hey! Now that's a prize I want to win!!!

Judy in Ringoes, NJ



Date: Fri, 6 Apr 2001 23:27:13 EDT

From: aol.com


What Judy's describing is quite common - the technical term is "work made for

hire." It's usually seen in fields like comics, ghost written fiction and

biographies (SF novels allegedly written by actors, "as told to" books about

athletes, and so on), gaming supplements, and series fiction like Dragonlance

or Star Trek. The artist/ghost writer/author is paid a flat fee, not

royalties, and surrenders creative control over any original elements in the

work. If the work wins an award (very rare, as most of this stuff is pretty

routine) the person whose name is on the cover gets the award, not the ghost


However...except in rare instances (such as William Shatner's Tek War books,

actually written by Ron Goulart), the author/artist does get *some* credit

for the work. The "autobiography" is "as told to," for instance, or the

artist is mentioned in tiny print on the splash page, or some such. S/he can

(and usually does) list the work on a c.v. or resume, and there is a written

contract spelling out both parties' rights and responsibilities. There have

been some instances where an artist or author has successfully sued to gain

whole or partial creative control if a WMFH book or painting becomes

phenomenally popular, or to be paid royalties instead of a flat fee if the

amount they were originally paid is grossly less than the art or story has

brought in.

From what I've seen, this doesn't seem to be the case in the quilting/crafts

community; all talk of ateliers aside, it would be nice if Judy Chicago

acknowledged the women who slaved to make The Birth Project a reality (she

doesn't, at least not on the actual pieces; the seminary I attend owns one,

and there's nothing on the piece to suggest that anyone but Judy Chicgo

touched it). Unless a collaborator signs a WMFH contract stating that s/he

surrenders any and all rights to the work, I would think it only fair to

acknowledge his/her work and split any awards accordingly.

Just my opinion...and yes, that is exactly what I was planning to do the time

I commissioned a professional artist to draw the cartoons for a medieval

style quilt. The quilt was never made, for a variety of reasons, but had I

finished it I would have given full credit where credit was due. "You shall

not muzzle an ox while it treads the grain...."

Karen Evans


Date: Sat, 7 Apr 2001 09:50:09 EDT

From: JayBee388aol.com


I am a new suscriber to this list. I am doing research on the history of the

nine patch. I was going to teach a quilting class and was using the nine

patch for that class. but the classes were canceled. but I decided to

continue with the research and put it in book form. I have always wanted to

write a book. I guess this is as good a time as any. I am busy making some

nine patch quilts for examples etc.

I am asking for any help or information in finding out more about the nine

patch. I have books from the local library and from local quilt stores. Can

you all help?

thanks Joyce


Date: Sat, 7 Apr 2001 10:26:41 -0400

From: "sue reich" <mreichattglobal.net>


This is a very interesting discussion and one that I have given thought to

for a long time. In the late 1980s, I chaired my first quilt show. Two of

the exhibiters were professionals quilters. One designed her quilts, hired a

piecer and a quilter, passed the quilts off as her own work, and then sold

them privately. The other had a small quilt fabric business, designed

quilts, hired a piecer and a quilter and also took total credit for the

work. In the quilt show program, I chose to list their quilts as "crafted by

____." Those who quilted and pieced their own quilts were listed as "quilted

and pieced by ___." No one complained or felt this separate designation was


Let me give you all a totally different perspective. I am just finishing

the work of the documentation and research of The Connecticut Quilt Search

Project. Our quilts date back to 1758. Researching the lives of women from

50 to 250 years ago is not an easy task. The early quilts were made through

the efforts of entire families with one person spinning the thread. Another

family member or an itinerant weaver wove the cloth. This all had to take

place even before the piecing and quilting began. Then there were those

multitudes of signature quilts with hundreds of names listed. Was the

quiltmaker one of them? Then, there was the quilt with the nineteenth

century applique work in red fabric of the early twentieth century. Its

intricate applique work was very crudely done but the quilting was glorious.

Talk about mixed signals!!! After researching over 3,000 quilts, we would

have given our eye teeth if just once the quilt's true story or provenance

had been recorded on the back. Instead, we laboriously pieced together the

stories of the quilts with long and tedious research.

I guess what I am trying to say is this: it is important to record that

the piecing, appliqueing or quilting that is not yours, have mercy on those

quilt researchers of tomorrow who will be scratching their heads in

puzzlement when inconsistencies or similarities of the quilting process


We all have our favorite part of the quiltmaking process. For some it is

the designing, others the piecework or applique and yet others the quilting.

That's OK. Plus, today, we have the resources to hire out work that we

choose not do or we plain just don't have the time. This, too, may be very

important information in the 2001 history of women's lives one hundred years

from now.

From Connecticut, where there is still snow on the ground. sue reich


Date: Sat, 7 Apr 2001 11:40:36 -0400

From: "deb" <debquiltingposs.com>


I am putting together a sampler class and would like to include a little

blurb about the history of each block. Does anyone know of a good source

for this kind of information?


Debbie in NJ


Date: Sat, 7 Apr 2001 15:41:09 EDT

From: QultFrFnaol.com

Sue -- and all,

RE: two or more hands on a quilt...

I've seen and evaluated many older, pre 1920, 'family' quilts -- many of the

quilts exhibit at least two hands...one for the applique and/or piecing

...and one or more for the quilting. Sending ones work out to be quilted

(machine and hand) has been standard practice for a very long time.

These older,unknown, quilters will probably remain truly anonymous. We

shouldn't let that happen today. We must acknowledge those who either hand

quilt, machine quilt...and even 'finish' our quilts today...please put their

names on the label. Please make room for these quilts in shows....please

make catagories that include 'duo' AND group quilts. Thanks for letting me

sound off... Nancy Brenan Daniel AZ


Date: Sun, 8 Apr 2001 06:50:48 -0400

From: monicamacdonaldjuno.com


>It is the artist's conception we honor.

I was thinking about this statement and couldn't help but wonder - if

it's the idea or concept we are honoring, why bother to make the quilt?

We make the quilt because we are also honoring the time and skill

required to make it. If the workmanship is poor and unskilled, it

doesn't matter how great the concept is, it won't win any awards.

A lot of good points were raised in this discussion and a lot of food for

thought. Make sure you document your quilts!!

Monica in Maine (where it's snowing a bit!)





Date: Sun, 08 Apr 2001 06:53:46 -0500

From: "Ann G. Hubbard" <ahubbardcdoc.net>


This is fascinating, don't get hooked!


This is a very intensive site and has lots of great information.

Ann from Lake of the Ozarks, MO


Date: Sun, 08 Apr 2001 09:39:59 +0000

From: Bobbie Aug <qwltprouswest.net>


Pepper stated it very well. When I judge, I judge how well the maker

accomplished her goal. It is very difficult to do excellent machine quilting

too. So, quality of workmanship, how well does the quilting pattern(s) enhance

the overall quilt design (mattress pad quilting usually doesn't succeed here),

and other criteria. In general, I am not impressed by the amount of hours the

quilt took, but the overall results.

I can remember when quilt categories specified "Hand Pieced, ____quilted," or

Machine Pieced, ______quilted." Of course, it took much longer to hand piece

the top than machine piece the top, but sometimes it was more difficult to

machine piece certain patterns and so the categories evolved to "Pieced,

________quilted," etc. and no longer specified the method of piecing.

When Caryl Bryer Fallert won the Best of Show at the AQS Show in Paducah (when

the prize was ONLY $10,000 and not the current $18,000), her quilt was machine

pieced and machine quilted. I remember the furror this caused as this was the

first winner (At AQS and any major show) that had been machine quilted. Caryl's

quilt was so beautiful that when you first walked into the show and saw this

quilt from a distance, it didn't matter if it was glued together - the design

was breathtaking. Since that time, we have come to expect this quality of quilt

from Caryl and aren't so overwhelmed like in the "olden days." Still, there was

disagreement because each perfect stitch was put there by a machine - each

rounded corner and straight line perfect beyond comprehension.

Well...I got carried away a bit, but if you haven't tried machine quilting, I

suggest you do so. Walk in both pairs of shoes...

By the way, I'm a terrible machine quilter!

Bobbie Aug

Date: Mon, 09 Apr 2001 14:34:49 -0400

From: Beth Donaldson <quiltsmuseum.msu.edu>


I couldn't agree more with the statement made about trying machine

quilting. After many years of mediocre machine quilting, I've finally

gotten "good" after a class with Sue Nickels! I also hand quilt. Recently

I've employed long arm machine quilters to finish quilt tops for various

reasons. These machine quilters varied from beginners to very experienced

and there is definitely a difference between their work too! Types of

techniques don't matter. It's all in the execution. To be a good judge I

recommend you not be the master of every technique, but try as many

techniques as you can so you can appreciate the challenges the quilt maker

faces. As for credit, everyone involved should be given credit. However if

you got paid, you don't also get prize money.

Beth Donaldson


Date: Mon, 9 Apr 2001 16:22:03 EDT

From: QultFrFnaol.com


Beth -- I agree with you. Before a judge begins to deride any technique

he/she needs to understand (and have tried) the technique in question. Some

look a lot easier than they are. I have known some quilt judges who DO NOT

QUILT -- yes, that is another area of discussion.

I also agree about the prize money. I give credit for any work done on a

quilt of mine...and I pay for that labor. I usually plan and design the

machine quilting...but don't always do it myself. The 'end-product' is

totally mine. I can't imagine a worker coming back to request a percentage

of royalties derived from a book that I've written -- just because she

quilted one or more of the quilts. It's the same with prize money.

Nancy Brenan Daniel AZ


Date: Mon, 9 Apr 2001 15:24:47 -0500 (Central Daylight Time)

From: Mary Persyn <Mary.Persynvalpo.edu>


In case you haven't heard - the U.S. Post Office is going

to issue 4 Amish quilt stamps this summer. The first day

of issue will be August 9 at Amish Acres in Napanee,


For more information see