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Quilters Find a way to care

Date: Wed, 7 May 2003 13:08:28 -0400 From: Debby Kratovil <kratovil@his.com> 

I love these discussions because no one's wrong and everyone's right! I used to hand quilt. I never knew there was an alternative. But being the "machine queen" I quickly discovered that I could finish a quilt quicker via my sewing machines. One of the happiest days of my life was when I scraped enough money ($35!) together to send a large quilt (was just a scrap one) out to be machine quilted and it came back in two weeks FINISHED! Wow! What a sense of euphoria.

I admire all hand quilting because I know what it takes. I love the look and I respect the time it takes to do it. I have several very old tops I acquired about 10 years ago. Bought one for $10 at a thrift shop and basted it and began hand quilting it - it's still undone. the second also cost $10, I sent it off and it returned FINISHED. These are not heirloom quilts. I'm just a modern girl.

One last story. I was in Colorado several years ago and saw one of those Chinese made quilts. It was king sized and had a price tag of $65. I told my husband I wanted to buy it. He asked (silly boy) if I "needed" it. I said, "no." I don't need another quilt. I want it. I bought it. It's still a quilt, isn't it? Just because Chinese hands made it doesn't make it a blanket or a kumquat tree or a Mercedes. It just isn't a traditional American quilt.

A quilt is fabric and thread and batting and the methods for putting them all together vary from person to person. The only quilt I ever attempted to hand piece was fodder for the trash can before I got the first block finished. I started over. I machine appliquéd and quilted the entire Rose Wreath and Oak Leaf four block quilt and savored every single hum of my beautiful Bernina.

I am not an historian. I do know that my great grandmothers would have welcomed a sewing machine to make light of their work. I make quilts because I enjoy them, and almost every single stitch is done by machine. It actually calms me down on stressful days. I know that hand quilting does the same for many quilters. God bless us all! -- Debby (with a "y" and not "ie") Kratovil http://www.quilterbydesign.com

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Date: Wed, 7 May 2003 13:23:45 -0400 From: mreich@attglobal.net To: 

Speaking for many of us in the quilt world, I hope that someone in your group brings a digital camera to take pictures to share on for Kris's web site. These regional study groups are the next best thing to the documentation projects. Now with the world wide net, the ability to share is so great. Did anyone see the last photos from the Virginia study group? Breathtaking! If you don't have a digital camera, you can still share. If someone will take photos with a good 35mm camera and have them developed onto a disc, you can still send the photos to Kris over email. For those of us who can't attend, it's the next best thing to being there. sue reich, already a member of three study groups.

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Date: Wed, 07 May 2003 12:11:15 CST From: jocelynm@delphiforums.com To: 

> 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.

Carla, Hmmm...maybe it's that there are two types, people who enter quilt shows and people who don't, and those who like to enter have to have a fairly high level of production because they can't keep entering the same quilt show after show? <G>\ Whereas those of us who don't enter...nobody KNOWS how we finish our quilts. Or if. <G>

Jocelyn

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Date: Wed, 07 May 2003 12:18:09 CST From: jocelynm@delphiforums.com To: 

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'!

Candace, I believe it's in 'A People and their Quilts' which is about the Kentucky historical quilts project, in which there's pictures of an old lady and her ceiling-mounted frame, showing how it raised and lowered. I've not found reference to it anywhere outside of the South, though; and I'm not sure why it would be popular in the South but not in, say, log cabins of the pioneer west. It seems to me that anywhere where a family was living in a small house, it would be a practical solution. I think it was in Grace Snyder's No Time on My Hands, where a girl talked about taking her quilting frame out under a tree to quilt during the summer, and later having her husband say that his first memory of her was seeing her quilting and thinking that he hadn't seen anything prettier than the picture she made, sitting under the tree with her quilt. :)

Jocelyn

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Date: Wed, 7 May 2003 14:59:19 -0400 From: "pepper cory" 

Hello all-- I'm just back from the Spring Quilt Market in Portland OR and the whole Northwest seems to be a hotbed of longarm quilting. Working in the booth of StenSource (the folks who manufacture my stencils) I saw the range of interest from shops and still have hopes for hand quilting. Since I do hand quilting, machine quilting, and yes, just completed my first longarm piece. I longarm quilt on an ancient Gammil (the first one made), no stitch regulator, no stylus to follow designs. My teacher (Laura Lee Fritz) said if I learned to quilt well on this machine, I could quilt on anything! But I do understand the advantages and limitations of all three methods. Here goes:

Hand quilting is beautiful and the designs can be quite intricate. One can quilt in a frame (stays in place) or if the piece is well-basted, move around and quilt in a hoop (portable). Hand quilting--if done well--already has stood the test of time. To those who love it, hand quilting is emotionally satisfying and to those who appreciate it, is worth waiting for and paying for. I adore hand quilting and save it for those pieces I keep and want to enter in competitions.

Machine quilting can also be beautiful. Quilts tend to have more stitches in them so the texture of the surface is usually not as 'soft' as hand-quilted quilts. Elementary machine work displays simplistic continuous-line designs but once proficient, the designs may be as graceful as hand quilting. Ditto on the loving it as much as hand quilting, especially when you do it with the grace of someone like Diane Gaudinski. I machine quilt to finish faster and when the quilt will get a lot of wear (kids' quilts are an example).

Longarm quilting is still developing. Most professional longarm'ers are working hard to pay off those expensive machines (start at $12,000 and go almost to $30,000). Their customers usually leave quilting designs up to them and with that debt hanging over your head, I totally understand why professional longarm work can be repetitive and the designs simplistic. The attraction is basic--comparing the fee of a longarm quilter to what you might pay a hand quilter or to the hours you'd spend hand quilting, longarm work seems a bargain. Plus you get the satisfaction of seeing your quilt come back to you much sooner! Call it semi-immediate gratification. But the best longarm quilters are artists in themselves and will charge as much as a hand quilter to finish someone else's work. Quite enough for today from the Carolina coast- Pepper Cory

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