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Quilters Find a way to care

Date: Mon, 5 May 2003 07:52:46 -0500

Thanks, Christine, for looking up the cloth references in the Slaves in the Family, I have also have that book and would have had to go and look that up.

Re: the old quilt tops being long arm quilted. That is equally
disappointing to me. I have a spider web quilt right now, that belonged to
a neighbor lady of mine and when she moved she offered it to me. It had
been her mother's and has been machine quilted. I would say the fabrics are
turn of the century. I haven't dug into it yet. But I am going to take it
apart and hand quilt the thing. The top is in beautiful condition. I don't
think it has hardly seen the light of day.

Now to get on my soapbox: I work at a quilt shop and I am a little tired of
seeing "quilters", who have never hand quilted a thing in their life. They
are piecers, not quilters. Most have never even machine quilted anything in
their life either. I see this at our guild also. I call it the MacDonald's
syndrome, they send it away to have it machine quilted and if $$ is in
issue, it is meandered because that is what is cheap. We are going to be
known for the time period when we made a lot of quilts looking like mattress
pads. Now as a disclaimer to that, I do realize there are many good machine
quilters out there, I know several of them and some are willing to pay them
to do great things on their pieces, but a lot of customers are not. This
is just my humble opinion and take into a count that I woke up with a
migraine this morning and I am waiting for my drugs to kick in. :(

One more thing, thanks also to many of you who have written about the poly
cotton thread issue. I am the one that brought that up. Just for your
information this same message just came up on my Handiquilter list and the
person that sent it in said it was from her Juki list. I forwarded the
messages that I had from many of you to them and hopefully that will
dispel this item. It seems at this point to be traveling in the machine
quilting circle.

Sheri from Iowa

------------------------------

Date: Mon, 05 May 2003 08:44:26 -0700
From: Gaye Ingram <gingram@tcainternet.com>

Sheri, as one of the McDonald's Syndrome folks, may I put in a word, not
necessarily complimentary but realistic, for the group? While I have
quilted several crib quilts and a couple of bedsized quilts, I follow an old
tradition in my area in being a "quilt-top maker." Perhaps it was a matter
of specialization or the lack of space for a frame or simply the lack of
time in which to put in the kind of fine work in hand quilting that went
into piecing, but I can document over 100 years of McDonald's Syndrome in my
family's quilts. Most are marked as such, indicating both quilter and top
maker. It was cooperative work.

One of my closest personal relationships was with the woman who quilted the
tops I made while rearing children, working, keeping house, gardening,
sewing for my daughter, etc. Nothing drive-through there.

Many of those terrific quilts that came out of Emporia, KS and similar
hotspots of the earlier quilt revival came about in this same way, incidentally.

Now, I personally would not want my work machine quilted, but I've seen some
interesting work that almost mimicked handquilting.

Hope the migrane abates,
Gaye

------------------------------

Date: Mon, 05 May 2003 07:27:12 -0700
From: Judi Fibush <judi@fibush.net>

I was "Gad Zooks' to Christine on the long arm bit. I also agree 100%
on your definition of quilters and who will only piece. If machine
quilting all over design is what they want and it will be washed and
used witH the kids, Tthe dogs, in the tv room etc., fine. I don't
personally like to hand piece but love to hand quilt and do so on old
tops, etc. for others. I find it peaceful and so gratifying with the
end result. The only long arm quilt I have ever pieced and then had
quilted that way was made out of denim for a teenage granddaughter who
would roll in it, wash it and throw it about and that is what is was
intended for. The quilting was perfect for that kind of "care" ;-)
However, she is in her 20's now and has several antique ones which she
treats with care and is very proud of. One each from her gt gt grand,
gt grand and grandmother. Nice legacy for her.

------------------------------

Date: Mon, 5 May 2003 07:55:30 -0700
From: "Christine Thresh" <christine@winnowing.com>

Sheri of Iowa said, "I call it the MacDonald's syndrome, they send [the
quilt top] away to have it machine quilted."

Well, she may be right, but I believe that making a top and quilting a quilt
have been separate functions over time. Some of those splendid Kansas quilts
were "sent away" to be quilted, albeit usually hand-quilted. And then, I
have a mental picture of a quilting bee where the quilt top maker was so
busy providing refreshments and seeing to the children and other guests that
her quilt was quilted mostly by others who were sitting around the frame.

I do understand what Sheri means and agree this might become known as the
era of mattress pad quilting.
I hope the meds kick in soon for her.

Christine Thresh

------------------------------

Date: Mon, 5 May 2003 13:49:19 -0400

Hi,
I haven't reponsed any for a long while, but have enjoyed "listening in" so to speak.  I get your point and I wanted to share my reason for starting out and
learning to become a quilter/piecer. I wanted to experience the old ways,
the way many made quilts before I was even thought of. So my first quilt, I
hand pieced and hope one day to finish hand quilting. Now laugh! I am
about halfway finished with the quilting. BUT... I got the bug and started several new projects and now have at least 5 UFO's. I have finished 2 crib quilts by machine and 4 potholders (x-mas).
I have a room full of fabric and 12 sewing machines. And I just
started cutting out another quilt. Also, the quilting got me into hand
embroidery and crocheting for names and dates and the like.
In short, I think I qualify as a genuine QUILTER.
Ilene Brown
Raleigh, NC
------------------------------

Date: Mon, 5 May 2003 14:35:33 -0400
From: "St. Germaine, Katherine" <KStGermaine@mwa.org>

Hi, I'm writing from the American Antiquarian Society in Worcester,
Mass. to
let you know that our Seminar in American Visual and Material Culture
will
be held Tuesday, May 13, 2003, at 4:30 p.m. at AAS. Lynne Bassett
(Connecticut Historical Society) will present a talk entitled
"Documenting
Regional Innovation in New England Whole-Cloth Quilts, 1750-1850."
Please
consult our website for more information about the seminar:
http://www.americanantiquarian.org/Seminars0203/bassett.htm

------------------------------

Date: Mon, 05 May 2003 13:10:49 CST
From: jocelynm@delphiforums.com

On Mon, 5 May 2003 07:52:46 -0500 "Jeff 'n Sheri Lesh" wrote:
But I am going to
> take it
> apart and hand quilt the thing. The top is in beautiful condition.
> I don't
> think it has hardly seen the light of day.

Sheri,
Machine quilting dates to that era. It was considered quite elite, in
the
days when a sewing machine was perhaps the most valuable item in the
house. When you think about the effort it took to machine-quilt a
quilt
on a treadle machine, it certainly wasn't done because the quilter
wasn't
industrious! :) It was a way of showing off, both that you were
well-to-do enough to have a machine, but also that you were skilled
in
using it.

I collect tops. The ease with which I have been able to find them,
coupled with the low prices, tells me that there have always been
women
who preferred piecing to quilting. It just can't be that EVERY one of
these tops was going to be put on a quilting frame the next day, but
the
quilter died first. Some of them HAD to be tops that were pieced,
then
put away, and another project took over her time until she never got
around to it. That many of them don't lie flat explains part of that.
<G>

Another thought is- many women prefer hand-quilting, but are unable
to
hand-quilt. I know that my mother gave up quilting when her hands
were no
longer able to do it to meet her standards. But I wouldn't want to
tell
her that she couldn't piece tops by machine any more....

Jocelyn

------------------------------

Date: Mon, 5 May 2003 14:40:26 -0500

This is the message I got back from the person who had originally
posted to
the long arm list. I would be curious to know, who it was that goes
unnamed
as a source.

Sheri in Iowa


10,000 Gomenasai! (That is like saying I'm sorry - I beg your pardon - it's
all my fault 10,000 times in Japanese.) I am the errant poster re: the
thread used at the Smithsonian. I will confront my misinformed informant
(who shall be nameless, but is a name the quilt world would know
immediately), and find out where their info came from. I do know for a fact
that there were several identical quilts (small ones) quilted one with
cotton, one with poly, then subjected to testing. The ones quilted with poly
showed no evidence of damage to the fabric by the thread.

Again, my apologies for passing on bad information. It came from a
trusted (and I thought damn near infallible) source!

------------------------------

Date: Mon, 05 May 2003 14:47:23 -0600
From: Xenia Cord <xenia@legacyquilts.net>

Jocelyn M said: <The ease with which I have been able to find them,
coupled with the low prices, tells me that there have always been
women
who preferred piecing to quilting.>

There is also this possibility: it takes less time to make a top than
to quilt it, so most quilters I know have tops waiting to be quilted.

I suspect this has always been the case. Piecing or appliqué could be
done in short bits, in the evening or when there was some leisure time,
but quilting required putting up the frame and leaving it in place for a
long time, unless one had friends come in to help quilt. Also, for many
women, summer responsibilities kept them from quilting, but not from
doing hand sewing in the evening. In the winter, there was more indoor
work and less to occupy their time outside, so the frame might be up.

Xenia

------------------------------

Date: Mon, 5 May 2003 17:29:41 -0700 (PDT)

I am a lurker on this list--less a historian than a lover of all
things quilts. I am currently
pursuing a master's degree in English with an emphasis on American
literature. My current project
involves quilts in American short stories of which I was surprised to
find so many.

Anyway, I see some changes in the stories around 1980 and I started
to wonder when reproduction
fabrics first really hit the retail market. I am looking for the
connection between the stories
and what was happening in quilting at that time.

Any help, including pointing me toward useful books, would be greatly
appreciated.

Thanks in advance.

------------------------------

Date: Mon, 05 May 2003 17:54:56 -0400
Subject: Jonathan Holstein quilt collection

Story of donation of this important collection...

http://journalstar.com/latest_reg.php?story_id=45243

------------------------------

Date: Mon, 5 May 2003 21:03:24 -0400
From: "Fawn Valentine" <fawn@citynet.net>

Not long ago, I visited the National Park Service textile
conservation 
laboratory. I was surprised to learn the National Park Service uses
polyester thread on historic textiles. Debbie Bellman, a NPS textile
conservator, explained to me that very fine (tiny diameter) polyester
thread is chosen for its nearly invisible character--the thread is 
"clear" or without color. The laboratory conserves and mounts
textiles for use in National Park Service information centers. Because the
textiles are permanently mounted, they will not undergo any wear or
friction movement; therefore, the polyester thread will not have 
opportunity to wear down natural fibers.

Fawn Valentine
on the Greenbrier River in Alderson, West Virginia,

--------------------------------------------

Date: Mon, 5 May 2003 21:17:05 -0500 From: "Jeff 'n Sheri Lesh" 

> On Mon, 5 May 2003 07:52:46 -0500 "Jeff 'n Sheri Lesh" wrote: > But I am going to > > take it > > apart and hand quilt the thing. The top is in beautiful condition. > > I don't > > think it has hardly seen the light of day. > > Sheri, > Machine quilting dates to that era. It was considered quite elite, in the > days when a sewing machine was perhaps the most valuable item in the > house. When you think about the effort it took to machine-quilt a quilt > on a treadle machine, it certainly wasn't done because the quilter wasn't > industrious! :) It was a way of showing off, both that you were > well-to-do enough to have a machine, but also that you were skilled in > using it. > > I collect tops. The ease with which I have been able to find them, > coupled with the low prices, tells me that there have always been women > who preferred piecing to quilting. It just can't be that EVERY one of > these tops was going to be put on a quilting frame the next day, but the > quilter died first. Some of them HAD to be tops that were pieced, then > put away, and another project took over her time until she never got > around to it. That many of them don't lie flat explains part of that. <G> > > Another thought is- many women prefer hand-quilting, but are unable to > hand-quilt. I know that my mother gave up quilting when her hands were no > longer able to do it to meet her standards. But I wouldn't want to tell > her that she couldn't piece tops by machine any more.... > > > Jocelyn > >

Jocelyn,

Please don't take my remarks as "always or only." I machine quilt also, some tops don't warrant my time to hand quilting. My remarks were more to "general trends" I see in working with many people at a quilt shop. I still stand by my opinions because that is what I am seeing consistently through the shop as customers and it troubles me. Certainly people have health reasons for maybe not being able to do what they use to and I would never deny them the option of having them finished some other way. My comments were directed to those who say they are quilters, but who have never hand quilted or machine quilted a piece in their life. I admit it I am more a purist in this regard, it is just my opinion and my observation and nothing else. No ax to grind, etc.

Regarding my old quilt that I am going to take apart. It was machine quilted recently not in the time period that the top was done. My neighbor lady had it machine quilted with polyester batting and I am sure poly thread too, so I am not going to hurt it and will only enhance it by hand quilting the thing. It will look like an antique quilt by the time I get done with it, because I will choose period appropriate quilting patterns and cotton batting etc. And will label it when I am finished as to what has been done.

Sheri in Iowa

------------------------------

Date: Mon, 05 May 2003 19:41:12 -0700 From: donbeld <donbeld@pacbell.net> To: 

Okay, I just had to just in. I, obviously, am a male quilter which is weird enough as it is--but I also hand piece and hand quilt. I--so the ladies in my guild tell me--am obsessive/compulsive about my quilting. Because of that I consider myself a much better piecer than quilter. But both processes take a long time when you do everything by hand. It takes me approx. 3 months to make a king size top and another 4-5 months to quilt it.

Because of that I frequently only quilt two or three quilts a year and have another three or four machine quilted because I find it more creative to design the top (even though I tend to do 19th Century patterns and fabrics) and like to make as many tops as I can.

Currently I am making a Stonewall Jackson, the Lincoln Quilt, Bourgoyne Surrounded and a tribute quilt to Rosa Parks and if I did it all by hand I won't be done before 2006.

So I am not sure there is a right or wrong--there is just your way. (P.S., if I sell a quilt, I charge more for the completely hand done quilt.) Don Beld

------------------------------

Date: Mon, 5 May 2003 22:45:48 EDT From: Edwaquilt@aol.com To: 

I hope to go to this seminar next week. Getting excited just thinking about it.

Holice

------------------------------

Date: Mon, 05 May 2003 23:16:16 CST From: jocelynm@delphiforums.com To: 

On Mon, 05 May 2003 14:47:23 -0600 Xenia Cord wrote:

> There is also this possibility: it takes less time to make a top than to quilt it, so most quilters I know have tops waiting to be quilted.

Xenia, That's a possibility, although I'd think that tying the quilts could be a solution if the real purpose of piecing the tops was to get bedcovers made. If, OTOH, the purpose was the pleasure of piecing, it wouldn't matter so much if they were finished promptly, or ever. I would guess that anyone who continued making tops after she had a stockpile of them already waiting to be quilted, probably enjoyed piecing tops. Jocelyn

------------------------------

Date: Tue, 6 May 2003 09:42:41 +0100 From: "Sally Ward" 

< Because the textiles are permanently mounted, they will not undergo = any wear or friction movement; therefore, the polyester thread will not = have opportunity to wear down natural fibers.=20

I was discussing with a Curator recently what possible damage might have = been caused to some quilts which had been exposed to building dust. Her = concern was that the particles remaining in the quilts would cause = abrasion over time even though the quilts are in storage and not = handled, because variations in humidity cause the fabrics to expand and = contract against the grit just *as they sit there*. Unless these = textiles are in humidity and temperature controlled cases, surely the = same thing will be happening to the cotton fabrics against the polyester = thread?

Saly W in Yorkshire, UK

------------------------------

Date: Tue, 06 May 2003 08:01:34 -0400 From: Lesters <jeanlester@ntown.net> To: 

I observed some museum conservation with polyester but...!!! with raveled threads from a piece of sheer fabric. Not nearly as heavy as commercially produced thread.

Jean

------------------------------

Date: Tue, 6 May 2003 05:49:53 -0700 (PDT) From: Ark Quilts 

Thought I'd share with you some words of wisdom from my grandmothers about piecing and quilting quilts. My great-grandmother and grandmother (maternal) were from the southern farm country of Ohio. Great-grandmother made fancy and country style utility quilts and her daughter, my grandmother, made mostly utility style quilts & liked to make crazy quilts. Both of them raised vegetable gardens and grew lovely flower beds. Both told me that "you piece in summer and quilt in winter" because it worked around your farming & gardening chores better. They both also claimed it was warmer to take a basted quilt & wrap it around you as you quilted in the winter. Both of them, like me, had little space for a full quilt frame and quilted the "lap quilting" method or a version of it.

My paternal grandmother was raised in the city and had many more advantages than my grandmothers who grew up in the farm country of Ohio. My city grandmother played in a string quartet & took music lessons on several instruments and also learned tatting, crochet, embroidery, crewel, and quilting. She & her mothers made several quilts, but most of their other needlework still existed 80 years later. However, my city grandmother told me almost the same thing as my country grandmothers: "piece in the summer and quilt in the winter". She explained that if you tried to work on a large quilt piece in the summer when it was hot and humid, that you "soiled" your quilt with sweat and oily skin.

Apparently, both sides of my family felt the heat of the weather (or lack of it) influenced their quilting. My own quilting habits follow their pattern, but not because they said that was how to do it but because I am in the house more during the winter and have more time for hand quilting. And I have found it is more comfortable to piece or do quilting on small pieces in the summer time when it is hot (& we have an air conditioned home).

Thought you might be interested in this. I have no research reference other than the oral history about quilting from my grandmothers. Sure glad I spent so much time asking "why" during all those conversations! Connie Ark

------------------------------

Date: Thu, 01 May 2003 12:13:22 -0400 From: "Jan Drechsler" 

Sheri,

Re: The Smithsonian Institute now *requires* that polyester thread be used in repairs made on quilts in their collections.

Didn't Newbie Richardson set us straight on a Smithsonian *requirement* that contradicted all past textile conservation standards? And the way she set us straight was by calling her textile contacts at the Smithsonian and hearing the peals of laughter over the misinformation.

When we are told something like this, ask the person for source information and written info from the Smithsonian. Say you cannot accept something so contradictory to current practice without documentation. Put the burden of proof on the one giving 'hearsay' as truth.

Jan -- Jan Drechsler in Vermont Quilt Restoration; Quilting teacher www.sover.net/~bobmills

------------------------------

Date: Tue, 6 May 2003 10:13:07 -0700 (PDT) From: Joe Cunningham 

I have been a hand quilter for almost 25 years. It was the first part of the process I learned, and it is still the part I enjoy most. Since I have had children in my life, my ability to spend all day at the frame, have dinner, then spend all evening at the frame, has diminished. I can't quilt like I used to. In the last couple of years I have been able to make about two quilts a year, instead of five or six. It is frustrating. But the few quilts I have machine quilted, the ones I make each year for my son's preschool, have been so much less satisfying that I know I will not resort to machine quilting just to get more done.

What I have been concerned about is that quilters who only use quick techniques and who have their quickly made quilts commercially machine quilted, that these quilters will not have a very strong emotional connection to the world of quilts. I have been afraid that this trend would lead to the eventual disappearance of the whole quilt scene. It has been my experience, however, that as I travel around to guilds around the country, women seem just as emotionally connected and committed to quilts as ever.

I greatly prefer hand quilting. But I understand that there have always been those who prefer piecing or applique to the quilting. It is not for me to decide how people get their quilts done. What I have found amusing, though, is that some people seem almost incensed that I continue to quilt by hand. In the last year, quilters have told me that life was too short for hand quilting, that I needed to "Get with the program."Just imagine, I have been ordered, how much more I could get done if I had a long arm machine. Has anyone else had this experience? Joe Cunningham Joe@joethequilter.com

------------------------------

Date: Tue, 06 May 2003 11:57:00 CST From: jocelynm@delphiforums.com To: 

On Tue, 6 May 2003 05:49:53 -0700 (PDT) Ark Quilts wrote:

> Thought I'd share with you some words of wisdom from > my grandmothers about piecing and quilting quilts.

Connie, That's very interesting. My grandmother used a flat quilting frame that was suspended from the ceiling on pulleys. Her rule was that she quilted during the day while the men and boys were in the fields, then raised the quilt to the ceiling when they came home for dinner. Otherwise, there wasn't room in the house for everyone. <G> Jocelyn

------------------------------

Date: Tue, 06 May 2003 12:00:19 CST From: jocelynm@delphiforums.com To: 

On Tue, 6 May 2003 10:13:07 -0700 (PDT) Joe Cunningham wrote:

> for hand quilting, that I needed to "Get with the > program."Just imagine, I have been ordered, how much > more I could get done if I had a long arm machine.

Joe, That's bizarre! As if productivity were the ONLY measure of quilting success. I decided a couple of years ago that I could have precise piecing, or enjoyment, but not both. :) I opted for the latter. I've driven myself nuts too many times, trying to get things to match up exactly. When I'm frustrated to the point of tears, it's only sensible to ask 'Just why am I doing this to myself?'

Jocelyn

------------------------------

Date: Tue, 6 May 2003 15:57:41 -0400 From: "Cinda Cawley" <lrcawley@dmv.com> 

For those of you close enough: From May 8 through June 13 the Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Reseach (on the Cornell University campus) will feature an exhibit of quilts with botanical themes created by the Fiber Divas, a group of "fabricators of original fiber art." I always think it's a good idea to show non-quilt people how we respond to the opportunity to see quilts. There will be a public opening reception on Thursday, May 8 from 5 to 7 p.m For information, directions, hours etc. call MY SISTER at BTI (I asked her for the name of a contact person, but since she didn't give me one I'll give you her phone #): Dorothy Reddington 607-254-2856

------------------------------

Date: Tue, 06 May 2003 16:09:50 -0700 From: Gaye Ingram 

> From: Joe Cunningham <joe@joethequilter.com> > > What I have found > amusing, though, is that some people seem almost > incensed that I continue to quilt by hand. In the last > year, quilters have told me that life was too short > for hand quilting, that I needed to "Get with the > program."Just imagine, I have been ordered, how much > more I could get done if I had a long arm machine. Has >anyone else had this experience?

Joe, I suspect you are embarrassing many of the people who say this to you. Almost surely they recognize that machine quilting and hand quilting are two very different activities and that one of them is generally more highly valued because of the skill required to master it, a skill that also comes only with years of "wasted" time.

The investment of one's time in such a tedious, time-consuming activity as fine hand-quilting runs counter to the grain of contemporary mass culture, which generally assumes that machines can do anything as well, if not better than, man can do by hand. Thus, it regards such an expenditure as wasteful. After all, you could be watching some "Survivor" episode, shopping the local Super Wal-Mart, or somehow advancing the economy by using your time to consume more material goods.

And your interlocutors might be reading Emily Post or Amy Vanderbilt, since obviously they are behaving rudely by seeking to force their choices upon you.

There are machines that make lovely laces. But anyone with any experience with lace can detect the handmade laces and their aesthetic superiority to the machine-made sort. And in case one cannot tell the difference in quality, the extraordinary difference in cost ought to suggest it exists, if not what it means.

When one owns hand-made lace or a hand-pieced and quilted quilt, he owns more than the material textile. He owns part of the maker's life, just as when one buys a good painting, he buys part of its creator's life. A human connection is made.

In a mass culture, the individually produced object always has more value, if only because of its relative rarity.

I think of an incident that occurred to me eons ago, when I was a grad student. My husband and I spent lots of time in the Duke University and UNC libaries, and we rented a guest room in the home of a lovely older couple whom we came to know well. Rarely did we come in at night that a pitcher of lemonaide and a plate of sugar cookies was not waiting for us on a tray on the nightstand. One summer evening, the four of us were sitting on the screened porch rocking away and talking about things in general when my husband remarked the quality of Ms. Williams' homemade sugar cookies, always flakey and crisp and redolent of real butter. She replied that a friend had told her one could obtain rolls of unbaked sugar cookie dough in the freezer dept of the grocery store. Was that true? My husband said it was and added, "You know, Mrs. Williams, some people actually prefer cake-mix cakes and mass-produced cookie dough to the homemade versions."

I have never forgotten the harumph of this tiny, highly refined lady. "Humph!" she said. "That's just because they've not HAD anything else!"

Therein lay a world of meaning about the acquisition of taste and about the 20th century.

Keep making your homemade sugar cookies, Joe!

Gaye Ingram

------------------------------

Date: Tue, 06 May 2003 15:54:44 -0600 From: Jennifer Hill <jennifer.hill@shaw.ca> 

"When you think about the effort it took to machine-quilt a quilt on a treadle machine, it certainly wasn't done because the quilter wasn't industrious! :) It was a way of showing off, both that you were well-to-do enough to have a machine, but also that you were skilled in using it."

In my opinion, it is no more difficult to quilt on a treadle machine than on any other household sewing machine. When I decide to machine quilt, my favourite machine is a 99yo Singer treadle. The problem is, for most people, machine quilting is a whole lot more difficult than it sounds like it should be. I have taught both hand and machine quilting, and in my experience, hand quilters "get it" a lot faster. Part of the reason may be that hand quilters expect to put in a lot of hours to finish any project, and sometimes the machine queens want instant results. I've concluded that HQ'ing is technically a lot easier than MQ'ing. Slower for sure, but easier. For myself, I found the learning curve for MQ'ing to be a long arduous climb, while I have no problems displaying my first HQ efforts.

I think for many, piecing has always been a faster and more gratifying experience than quilting. I'll betcha that if sending out their quilting was a cost effective option for many of our grannies and g'grannies, they'd have done it just as much as modern quilters do it.

Jennifer Hill Calgary, AB

------------------------------

Date: Tue, 6 May 2003 18:53:39 -0400 From: "Bobbi Finley" 

Thanks for all your suggestions for ways to include children at quilt exhibits. I've given each suggestion to the textile conservator who has passed them to those doing the planning.

Incidentally, I've seen no polyester thread in the textile conservation lab at Colonial Williamsburg!

Thanks again. Your suggestions were great. Bobbi

------------------------------

Date: Tue, 06 May 2003 20:37:32 CST From: jocelynm@delphiforums.com To: 

> In my opinion, it is no more difficult to quilt on a treadle machine than on any other household sewing machine. When I decide to machine quilt, my favourite machine is a 99yo Singer treadle. >

Jennifer, That's interesting. I was just thinking about trying to support the bulk of a quilt while wrestling it around on my treadle. Maybe I'm comparing apples (treadle in a freestanding, small, cabinet) and oranges (electric standing on a banquet-size table). :)

Jocelyn

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Date: Wed, 7 May 2003 00:30:22 -0400 From: "judygrow" 

First, Due to server-changing problems (old server bought out by new server, who didn't make the transfer correctly) I've been off-line for just over a week. I think I am over the withdrawal symptoms and now that I have my internet narcotic back I'll be fine -- I hope. Any of you who keep me in your address book -- please take note of the new address.

Now,

I do my piecing (and some applique) by hand with a mechanical needle, and some of my quilting is done the same way.

My tool is a needle permanently affixed in an electrical appliance over which I have complete control. Some mechanical needles are in appliances run on belts powered by a foot treadle, and in the past some have been powered by a hand crank. Results are always dependent on the skill of the practitioner.

I do not use automation where skill has practically no relevancy. I think that is what some of you are upset about in the contemporary quilting world.

As one who has spent up to a year hand quilting a single quilt, and who is still fond of the process and the look of hand quilting, I must take issue with those of you who look askance at all (that should be ALL) machine quilting. My husband is counted in your number and my argument is very old and well rehearsed my household!

I have machine quilted some of my quilts, in the ditch only. For some of these I've gone back and hand quilted motifs in open areas. Others of these had no open areas for fancy stitching and it would have been absolutely foolish and a waste of time to hand quilt them.

I've tried free motion quilting with the feed dogs down, and found that I am an absolute klutz at that. No amount of practice will allow me to do a job that would come up to my high standards. For the same reason I stopped playing a musical instrument years ago and became the very finest of listeners! I can win prizes for my listening ability.

I confess, I do take some of my quickly pieced tops to a long arm machine quilter. We discuss what she will do, and where, and what thread she will use, and when I get it back I've got a masterpiece that I couldn't possibly have completed myself in quadruple, or quintuple the time it took her. The motifs are beautiful realized , properly placed, stitched with even stitches, and absolutely make the quilt! And when (if) I put them in our guild show I give credit to my quilter. At least with my quilts, she also uses a mechanical needle over which she has complete control!! She can also put her needle in an automatic mode, and does so for other clients.

There is room for all sorts of quilts and quilting in this world, and I can't see relegating any technique to the garbage pit.

Judy in Ringoes, NJ judygrow@patmedia.net

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Date: Wed, 07 May 2003 13:07:34 +0200 From: Ady Hirsch 

On Tue, 6 May 2003 10:13:07 -0700 (PDT) Joe Cunningham wrote:

What I have found amusing, though, is that some people seem almost incensed that I continue to quilt by hand. In the last year, quilters have told me that life was too short for hand quilting, that I needed to "Get with the program."Just imagine, I have been ordered, how much more I could get done if I had a long arm machine. Has anyone else had this experience?

Oh yes - my friend and I are the ONLY 2 hand-piecers and hand-quilters in our 50-strong guild, and we certainly get strange looks and comments when we hand quilt or show our quilts. Sometimes I feel as though quilting has become this wiered competition for "who makes the most quick-pieced, quick-quilted quilts with the least thought put into producing them." It's as though the actual process of making a quilt has completely lost it's meaning and become a tedious chore one has to get over with as quickly as possible, rather than something to be enjoyed. For me, at least, selecting the pattern (usually an antique quilt I want to reproduce), the fabrics, then the quilting patterns, marking the top and finally quilting it are all links in a process that's a major source of joy in my life. The applique cotton-boll quilt I made as a future wedding gift for my daughter (now 13 YO), hand appliqued and hand quilted at 1/4" intervals, has taken 3 years to finish and was a pleasure to make. I doubt very much machine quilting would have yielded similar results. I personally do not like machine quilting, as IMHO the resulting quilts are too stiff and "awkward" and lack the gracefull and wonderfully soft drape of the hand-quilted variety. As the proud owner of a huge pile of hand-pieced tops, I can see why some people would prefer to have them machine quilted. Not for me , however - as the mother of a 1YO baby, my quilting time has seriously shrunk, but I'd still rather hand-quilt (and hand-piece) than have one of those soulless (to me), nearly mass-produced looking quilts. I do realize that good machine-quilting requires as much (if not more) skill as hand-quilting, and is anything but quick and easy. Nevetheless, the majority of machine-quilted quilts I see are, I think, of the variety Sherri spoke about, and if that's so, I'd rather leave behind a pile of tops plus a few hand-made, hand-quilted quilts. Ady in Israel (Off my soap-box now)

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Date: Wed, 7 May 2003 10:43:36 +0100 From: "Sally Ward" 

I've been following this thread with interest, because longarm quilting is just beginning to take off over here, and I think this debate will apply to us in about 10 years time. Sending tops out to be finished seems a new idea to 'modern revival' quilters, although it was common in the North East around the turn of the century.

Yesterday I paid a visit to the new website of the Quilters Guild of the British Isles, (www.quiltersguild.org.uk) the largest membership group of quilters in the UK. About a year ago it was decided that their image needed updating. The old logo of a traditional block has been ditched, and with it a wonderful quilt which served as the logo banner at major events. Made in blue and white with pieced blocks, applique lettering and exquisite hand quilting it was a superb example of something worked in the traditional way (albeit, to my mind, the American tradition rather than the English, but lets not quibble... <G>).

The website informs me that there was a competition to design a new banner around the new logo, and as a result the winning design has now been commissioned. We don't get to see a picture, but are told that it is "Traditional and Contemporary, Friendly and Fun" and we must prepare to be 'completely wowed!'. It is to be made of specially made hand-dye fabrics and (my emphasis) *sent for quilting on a Gammill longarm*. I also notice that amongst the small pictures of quilts which appear on each page I couldn't find one which focussed on hand quilting they all seem to have been chosen for fabric wow factor.

The new banner will hang for the foreseeable future at events all over the country, as representative of the Guild and all it stands for in quilting, and I can't help but wonder what message it will be sending out to all who see it and how it will affect the development of quilting in the UK, already much influenced by the City and Guilds qualification and its enthusiasm for innovation (British quilters' joke: don't bother finishing your threads off, call it 'surface embellishment') ....

'Heritage' is well represented on the website, and the Guild remains a major player in collecting and documenting our quilting history but it will be interesting to see where this re-branding and its subtle messages will lead, and how the future will judge this era of quilting.

Sally W Not exactly complaining, just musing in the light of your current discussion

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Date: Wed, 7 May 2003 06:25:16 EDT From: JBQUILTOK@aol.com To: 

Another reason old tops were stored away is money. Pieced from scraps, the woman may not have been able to afford the batting & backing fabric & put her work away until someday when the harvest was good, husband got a better job, times were better, etc

Janet

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Date: Wed, 7 May 2003 08:19:02 -0500 From: "Carla Toczek" 

Oh, Jennifer, I know EXACTLY what you mean about the learning curve on machine quilting. Due to flare-ups with carpel tunnel syndrome, I have limited my hand-quilting and turned to my machine, a home machine, not a long-arm. Machine quilting anything larger than a baby quilt is difficult on a standard sized machine, especially if one is determined to produce results other than the mattress pad look. At first I despaired that I would ever accomplish anything other than straight line grids and outlines, but then found inspiration in Diane Gaudynski's work. If you have never seen her quilts, she produces machine-quilted masterpieces, on a standard machine(!), that are saturated with beautiful feathers and curves. Not an inch of fabric is left unadorned. If she could do it, why couldn't I? I purchased her book for reference, threw caution to the wind, and marked some feathers on a small quilt top. Ha! hahahha, oh, pardon me as I wipe away these mirthful tears. As Jennifer said, the first quilt I hand-quilted for my husband looks professional compared to my first machine results. This is a whole different ballgame, but I plan to stick with it.

I do feel, though, that we should include home machine-quilting as a third category in our discussions, because "doing it yourself" can be just as arduous, if not as time consuming (a month vs. a year), on a machine as it is in a frame. I have sent some tops for custom long-arm work and do like them, but they are the quilts I would consider selling above the others. I have found that after wrestling a 105x105 quilt through my home machine, the pride and accomplishment I feel for the work matches the joy I find in my hand work.

And have you noticed the dwindling numbers of hand quilted items at the shows? It does point to the hurry, hurry, finish it fast mindset so thoughtfully discussed by both Gaye and Sheri. At Dallas last year, the long-arm "group quilted" pieces far outnumbered the hand quilted items. Should there be separate categories for home machine-quilters?

This has been an interesting discussion which answers, in advance, the future quilters' questions of "why?"

Carla Toczek Central Texas, but Kansas bound in three weeks

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Date: Wed, 7 May 2003 09:37:42 -0400 From: "Candace Perry" 

Jocelyn's comment about the quilting frame suspended from the ceiling dredged up an old memory for me...a former boss I had was convinced that holes in the first floor ceilings in 18th century/19th century houses had something to do with quilting frames suspended from the ceiling. This was early in my career, and I didn't pursue it further, just sort of filed it away. She loved looking for the evidence in old houses we visited and got very excited about it! I didn't know anything about quilts or quilting at the time, so I took it for granted she knew what she was talking about. You can redeem her by filling me in a little about this...now it's really got me thinkin'! Thanks, Candace Perry Schwenkfelder Library & Heritage Center

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Date: Wed, 7 May 2003 08:15:51 +0100 From: "Sally Ward" 

I've been following this thread with interest, because longarm quilting is just beginning to take off over here, and I think this debate will apply to us in about 10 years time. Sending tops out to be finished seems a new idea to 'modern revival' quilters, although it was common in the North East around the turn of the century.

Yesterday I paid a visit to the new website of the Quilters Guild of the British Isles, (www.quiltersguild.org.uk) the largest membership group of quilters in the UK. About a year ago it was decided that their image needed updating. The old logo of a traditional block has been ditched, and with it a wonderful quilt which served as the logo banner at major events. Made in blue and white with pieced blocks, applique lettering and exquisite hand quilting it was a superb example of something worked in the traditional way (albeit, to my mind, the American tradition rather than the English, but lets not quibble... <G>).

The website informs me that there was a competition to design a new banner around the new logo, and as a result the winning design has now been commissioned. We don't get to see a picture, but are told that it is "Traditional and Contemporary, Friendly and Fun" and we must prepare to be 'completely wowed!'. It is to be made of specially made hand-dye fabrics and *sent for quilting on a Gammill longarm*.

This banner will hang for the foreseeable future as representative of the Guild and all it stands for in quilting, and I can't help but wonder what message it will be sending out to all who see it. 'Heritage' is represented on the site, and the Guild remains a major player in collecting and documenting our quilting history but it will be interesting to see where this re-branding will lead, and how the future will judge this era of quilting.

Sally W Not exactly complaining, just musing in the light of your current discussion

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Date: Wed, 7 May 2003 07:11:45 -0700 (PDT) From: Kris Driessen <krisdriessen@yahoo.com> To: QHL@cuenet.com Subject: Question from the list mom Message-ID: <20030507141145.81892.qmail@web41003.mail.yahoo.com> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii

I have been a little worried as of late about the behavior of cuenet. They seem to go down for no apparent reason, they don't tell their customers what is going on, they don't answer E-mail and they have no accurate listed phone number. I am afraid that they are going to go out of business and take this list with it.

For that reason, I have been exploring other options. I don't want to go to Yahoo Groups for various reasons - I was thinking more along the lines of having the list hosted through Quiltropolis. No ads, it would still be something that would be paid for monthly. But I would rather do that than have an ad at the bottom of each post!

Does anyone belong to any of their lists? (You can see a list of what they have at http://www.quiltropolis.net/maillists/maillists.asp ) If I don't get any strong complaints, I will switch us over before the end of the month.

THanks,

Kris

__________________________________ Do you Yahoo!? The New Yahoo! Search - Faster. Easier. Bingo. http://search.yahoo.com

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Date: Wed, 7 May 2003 09:38:55 -0500 From: "Susan Wildemuth" 

Would you like to get a little taste of Midwestern quilt history and share some fellowship with people who love history as much as you do -- then please join us for the first annual meeting of the Iowa/Illinois Quilt History Study Group which will meet in Kalona, Iowa at the Grout Church in the historial village, Saturday, August 2, 2003 at 9:30 a.m. Attendees are asked to bring a favorite quilt or quilt history artifact (quilt kits, quilt paper artifacts, and etal.) to share with the group. There will be a $10 registration fee (at the door) which will permit a view of the Kalona Textile and Quilt Museum, little fundraiser for AQSG, and room rent. Lunch will be on your own and the afternoon free to enjoy this Amish community. The event is hosted by Cathy Litwinow: Litwinow@aol.com, Marilyn Woodin: woodin@kctc.net, and Sue Wildemuth: ksandbcw@geneseo.net If you would like to attend, please RSVP to any of above addresses.

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Date: Wed, 07 May 2003 07:43:08 -0700 From: Judi Fibush <judi@fibush.net> To: 

I also feel that the fewer hand quilted pieces at shows (especially those for sale) are less becasue the person involved can't get anything near what the quilt would be worth when calculating the time involved.

Judi

 

 

 

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