I've recently taken on a minor research project for my current guild and discovered to my amazement that machine quilting has been going on in the USA since sewing machines became readily and affordably available.  Ladies have machine quilted since the 1800s.  I find, though, that many quilters feel machine quilting is "cheating" and is not traditional.  How do you folks come down on this issue?

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Well Colleen, I let the quilt speak to me. I've had some quilts when I'm done piecing it that just scream at me that it must be hand quilted such as my "Oopsie Daisy" which took me 6 months to quilt. My Celtic quilt took 3 months to quilt. I also hand quilted the "Beatlemania" and being black made it hard to see for hand quilting. But when I tried machine quilting, the quilt actually rejected it. My scrappy quilts tell me which scraps to use. I have very little control. I often think that my quilting is led by the Holy Spirit. Often times I start a quilt maybe with a pattern in mind, but when the quilt is finished it doesn't look anything like the pattern. A good example of that is my "Quilt of Joy". I can discuss this further but privately.

My thoughts on this are that there are many different ways to do most things.  Just like there are different ways to paint a picture. If we have the technology to do it faster then why not take advantage of it.  I don't consider machine quilting cheating.  It's just a different way to quilt.  I give tons of kudos to those able to hand quilt.  I don't have the patience so it's just not my cup of tea.

the last area i lived in, i was asked to do a machine quilting demo for a group. they were all hand quilters. their group "leader" was the one who asked me to do the demo. she thought the concept was neat, and harriet hargrave was a big thing then w her first book out for a few years. the majority of the women turned away after a few minutes, tho some stayed until i finished and were very positive in thier remarks and saying they were going to try it. the ones who walked away were quite loud in thier comments about how they were "traditional" quilters and would NEVER use a machine! ok. at that same time a portion of the traveling exhibition "HO! to California" was in town. the first quilt on display as you walked in to the exhibit was a beautiful HUGE blue & white quilt. i can't remember the pattern, tho it is in the book of the same title as the exhibition, which i have, tho packed away still. anyway, this quilt had been hand pieced as the family crossed the continent on their way to new home in california via covered wagon. a few years later after thier arrival and house building & all the stuff to set up life in thier new home had been mostly accomplished, the busy mother acquired a new singer sewing machine. so...she decided to quilt her hand pieced quilt. by machine. the tight tiny shot stitches of a treadle machine stich covered the surface of that beautiful quilt. mid to late 1800's.

Sounds like the naysayers are a group of set in their way foggies who do not open their mind to learn new things or accept new concepts... The word for that type of person I believe is narrow minded bigot.  Not to mention rude inconsiderate biddies...


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