I’m a quilter, among other things, and I quilt by hand. And when I do a show, I invariably at least once get told, “that’s not how you do it.” This is typically followed by, “your stitches are too big/not all the same size,” or “you’re supposed to use all the same color thread,” or "you’re supposed to work in a repeating and regular pattern.” Okay… these statements are all correct in a traditional quilt, but that doesn’t make what I do wrong!
Here is a picture of all of my tools and various threads resting on the quilt I just finished. Using the dark green in the tan areas would show up too much, and vice versa. Some of the curves are really small, while others flow gracefully. Quilting in a fixed pattern doesn’t work on my quilts…. What’s the point of having the whole thing flat?
The whole functional purpose of quilting at all is to stabilize several layers; the back, the batting and the face. But I’m not much on simply being functional, and I found long ago that if I quilt the way I do now, I can bring up details and give my quilts an almost three-dimensional feel. Hand-quilting my quilts is certainly tedious and is the most time-consuming thing I do on any quilt. But, it’s also the part I love the most… it’s when I see my quilts come alive. Earth contours and bushes suddenly appear where there was once just scraps of fabric. How cool is that?!!
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The answer that is always in my head when I am told, “That’s not the way you do it,” is emphatically, “That is EXACTLY the way that I do it!” But I don’t say it; I smile politely and let them tell me what I’m doing wrong. Then, again, I wear a huge grin when the next customer comes up and hands me a credit card to purchase that same quilt.