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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Well, I certainly have my share of books and then some. In fact, last year, a friend of mine wrote one, "She Came From Kansas," and I edited it for her. It is published by Kansas City Star. I have an MA in English and taught high school English for 24 years so the knowhow came in handy.

Many people remember the Kansas City Star patterns that used to appear in the Sunday Star many years ago. One friend recently completed a sample quilt using many of those patterns, but he had to do some drafting on a few of them. But he is an engineer so it was second nature for him.

Yes, the fabric and quilting industry is multi-billion dollar for sure. Every time you turn around, some new tool is being introduced, and new magazines have cropped up too. Believe me, they are all looking for "new" patterns and something terrific to sell books. The modern designs have attracted the younger quilters who want simpler stuff they can finish quickly because they are working.

Look what Missouri Star Quilt Company has done for a tiny town in Missouri that had been dying until Jenny Doan and family moved in. Now the town is a bustling place, and mom and pops are cropping up all over town to accommodate the busloads of quilters who arrive daily. Daily! Nearby roads and highways have had to be updated. It's one of those "If you build it they will come" dreams for the little town and for the Doan family who all work for the family business. Smart cookie. She was featured on NBC news not long ago.  My own group is talking about taking a trip to go there since it's only a few hours away. She and her husband came to my quilt guild earlier this year for a trunk show. She is every bit as entertaining as her videos are. Even her videos have contributed to the Internet trade.

Believe me, even when some people say they don't contribute to the world economy, they really do in some way or another. Just putting gasoline in your car once a month is responsible for giving someone a job hundreds of miles away or right around the corner. Houston thanks you.

when i married my husband a whole new life opened up for me. i was a city girl and  even though i did sew, i don't think I had ever even seen hand quilting. the first week we were married, we moved to TN and i met my new in-laws. my mother-in-law was sitting at her quilting frame with the most beautiful thing i had ever seen in front of her. i have been quilting ever since. i love the look and effort of doing it by hand, but i understand too the need for machines.

People today are always in a hurry and want to finish quilts in the fastest, easiest way possible. When I started quilting 8 years ago I hand quilted, then went to machine. I have recently returned to hand quilting, especially for applique, my true love.

I agree that people are in a hurry to finish quilts. However, many women work outside the home and don't really have the time to put into hand quilting. Now that I am retired, I have more time to quilt. One thing though, my hands have begun to bother me so I rely more on machine quilting. We have an older woman in our quilt guild who has always hand quilted and she does a perfect job. I have "The Perfect Stitch" by Roxanne McElroy, an excellent book for hand quilting and I love it. By the way, at our county fair, there is a category specifically for hand quilting only. This allows hand quilters to compete with other hand quilters and not machine quilters.

hi victoria, i am reading that more quilt shows, guild, fairs etc, are setting aside special areas for hand quilting and judging just as they have done for miniatures and wall quilts over the years.

i also recently read a very interesting article/interview w mark lipinsky on the schmetz needle site. it's from thier webzine type thing. awkward to use on my ipad, but still, i have kept it open to re-read. he is an interesting man & he makes some interesting observations about current quilting trends in patterns and magazine articles/patterns.


he has coined another new term and i liked the thoughts & ideas he talks about. called "slow stitch" and it adresses the current fad of hurry up, quick & easy etc. i have never ever aspired to do something hurry up, fast, quick & easy. i enjoy my crafts & needle work ---the whole process. i am a retired RN, the slower pace of hand work or creating craft projects alone & then w my son as he grew up, always afforded me the time i needed to unwind and calm down fr my sometimes extremely stressful profession.

...and i too have had arthr invading my hands, back etcetcetc since mid teens. i have found ways to garden, stitch, quilt whatever in spite of swollen achey hands. but, out of necessity, i do go slow :)),

Hi roque...

Thanks so much for that link. I have been reading about Mark Lipinski and his method. I also recently bought "Quilting in the Big Stitch Style" by Billie Lauder. Similar to Sashiko but not quite. I do Sashiko and love it. She has some great ideas about making templates and keeping them stiff. BIG patterns!

I agree on the slowing down time when you were still working. I am a retired teacher and I too needed the down time that quilting afforded me. Incidentally, I heard of a group of gals who get together to hand sew. They recently lost one of their own and quietly sat nearby at Hospice for her with their sewing. Made me cry to hear it. Wonderful send off.  

ok ...catching up on rest, chores & gotta-do's last couple days. right now, sitting down for lunch snack & reading. and your anecdotal story of the hand stitchers has me on verge of tears. tend to get a tad over sensitive/reactive when i am overly tired :(( / :)) ...yes, i agree, wonderful send off.

have been following the "big stitch" thing. no books ..probably won't be. i have a couple sashiko books. love the history of the craft, the utilitarian use of it, etc. i feel that there is too much difference in the thread & the appearance of the two stitch forms. i haven't done any sashiko yet. bought the books in last few years since i moved here. thread of any good variety impossible to find, so am thinkin' sashiko thread would be the same. tho, in a video interview by n. zieman she said that modern pearl cotton thread is similar to sashiko thread. and i have found a local supply for that. and the owner said she has color cards and will order whatever i want when i am ready to start. will prob do some sampler blocks to start.

...also "BIG patterns" ... don't understand what this comment means.

"B IG" patterns for templates means oversized ones that she instructs you to copy on a copy machine, rough cut out and cover with two layers of clear contact paper on the back and front, then cut out more carefully on the cutting line. Use that as template for quilting lines. Really works.

I use pearl cotton for Sashiko. It works better than the real sashiko thread and doesn't shred like the real thing. I am a sucker for white on indigo fabric. So classic.


i enjoy the quiet time that handwork entails also, debbie. tho i never analyzed my reasons, but being a rather hyperactive person, handwork allows the hands to continue their hyperkinetic tendencies, albeit in low gear, while the body and mind rest/relax and enjoy the sounds of life as it flows around my quiet corner. i will never set aside my handwork for arthr, time saving or anything else. i think i could knit blindfolded ... hmmm ...so, nope, nothing will ever take the place of my quiet time & handwork.


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