I think that maybe I'm going to be a bit controversial now but I made my first quilt in the early 70's stopped to raise a family and then began again with a passion around 15 years ago. It seems to me that technology is galloping ahead and machines that quilt are getting better and better. I am English and live in the UK and I have never been to a quilt show in the USA but we have some wonderful shows in Europe and the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham has quilters visiting from all over the world. The winners of the quilts in the competitions are almost all quilted on a machine, the more expensive the machine and the more complicated the pattern all the better, but they are often computer generated and their owners can afford these expensive machines. Isn't something being lost here somewhere. I recently bought a beautiful old quilt from an Estate Auction when I was visiting West Virginia this spring. It's a little bit crooked,and worn but I absolutely love it. It has pride of place in my house. In these times when money is a little bit stretched especially for the younger generation it would be great if a quilt was judged by its actual needlework from a quilter not by a machinist. In the not too distant future it will become like painting by numbers when a quilt can be quilted while its owner cooks dinner.
What do you think?

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I whole heartedly agree with you Linda. Unfortunately hand work in quilting and embroidery (which are both my passion) are going to be a lost art someday. Technology will see to that. But it is not the Machines that make the quilts and the embroideries that are the downfall so much as the office jobs with the repetative motions, I was a meat cutter for 20 years simply because that was the best way to raise my only son as a single mom. I cannot tell you what a toll it took on my body, and especially my fingers. I used to love to embroider by hand. Crewel work, you name it I loved it. I cannot hold a needle in my hand. I love to crochet doilies, can't do that anymore. However, with my embroidery machine, I am still able to create. I can digitize artwork, and one day I hope to own a long arm quilter. Not because I want to but because that is the only way I can do all these things I want to do. But I agree, it is sad to see the old traditions going away. I love the old quilts, and the old embroideries. But I love the new machine made quilts and embroideries to. The possibilities are endless. Hope you agree?

Hi Leanne, thanks for your comments. I had never thought of that and you are so right. I can't imagine that one day I might not be able to create. That's the best of discussion boards though isn't it, to get different views. There are so many talented people and something for everyone.

thank you for your point of view. I have never really thought of why there is so much machine work other than it is a fast way of getting it done.

That is why I love to Blog to get other opinions. By the way your photo is wonderful. Our formothers had more time as well than we do these days it seems. I am disabled and at home 24/7 and I still don't have enough time to finish everything I want or need to in the quilting and embroidery part of my day. Hubby is a long haul trucker and gone thru the week, So I have the whole place all to myself to do my stuff. I have died and gone to Heaven. He is very supportive and the Best Hubby ever. But I am afraid he is becoming a quilting and embroidery widow. LOL

I'm with Leann - though I love the look and feel of hand-quilted objects, my hands will no longer let me quilt an entire quilt in less than two or so years - because I can do it for such a short length of time before having to stop and recuperate.  I use a home embroidery sewing machine to do my quilting and embellishment now, and love the results, but my treasured quilts are the antique ones hand-made by my grandmother and great-grandmother, tattered and worn though they are.

Linda, up until about 3 yr. ago, your discussion could have been authored by myself. l was always disappointed in the number of machined quilts getting the spotlight, and very few hand made ones even being shown, in the last several years especially. l love handwork, and do all kinds of embroidery, knitting, as well as quilting.

Then l chanced upon an artical written @ 1950, lamenting how the art of quilting/piecing was lost due to wide use of treadle and the "new" electric machines. The author believed in hand piecing, applique etc. l realized then, that we live in a new age. We don't write long letters with lovely script. We don't bake from ( real) scratch . We don't walk places, or hitch up ol' Bessie. You can't page through what the quilt artists show here on MQP without realizing, that even with the aid of photography,specialty threads, and new stitching equipment, people are creating real masterpieces of art. Colours are chosen/blended,motifs placed and spaced, fabrics joined in unusual designs, and borders, quilting, and details of embellishment that are awe inspiring. We as quilters now have the choice of using the best equipment for what we choose to create, or even of ignoring technology altogether, and tgread up a needle, use scissors instead of dyecutters or rotary ones, and sew tge "good old fashioned way" if we please.

I machine piece and quilt out of necessity---I work full time and would still be on my first quilt if I did it by hand.....that being said, I absolutely love the handcrafted quilts. That was how my Mom-maw did hers and we still have several of her quilts, b/w me and my mom....I love how intricate the patterns can be, and actually have a frame that needs set up so I can hand quilt a king size Dresden---it is just too big to go through my machine, as I don;t have a long arm, just a basic sewing machine.....I am also starting to see the first signs of arthritis setting in my back and in my hands, and hand sewing may not be an option for me before too many more yrs have passed.....we'll see......

I agree 100%.  The machine quilted quilts are beautiful but don't we all just Woooooo and AAhhhhh when we see a beautifully hand quilted quilt?


Linda, I have to agree with you. I am just now starting to hand quit a 1930's reproduction quilt called "Granny's Stars:  I used all 1930's reproduction fabric and even though I own a long arm, I decided to keep the quilt a true reproduction. Back in the 30's this quilt would have definitely been hand quilted. It may take me awhile but it will be worth it.

As far as the computerized long arms go, I think they make beautiful designs, but in a way it's sort of like cheating. When the quilter says, "I quilted that", that's sort of a little white lie. What that quilter did was set up the computer and tell it what to do and the computer did the rest.  I myself do not have a computerized long arm. I rather enjoy standing there and guiding the machine free motion and being able to honestly say, "I quilted that" 

Hi , ladies, I just found this thread and would like to add
that if the power goes out (which it does quite frequently
in this neck of the woods) , all of our technology is useless
and I think it is of great value to try to keep these skills
alive. They need to be passed on to the next generation

Sue, don't forget that some our very much talented members here are male! I would prefer we use "quilters" when addressing the group, we female members may be more "chatty" here, but all the members get notification unless they've turned off that feature.

Got it , Riana : )


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