Did you Quilt your Quilt?

I am sorry to tick off a lot of  quilters. You could be a traditional quilter or an art quilter, but if you did not quilt your own quilt, you aren’t a quilter. You are a piecer, an appliquer,  a whole cloth painter or a designer. I don’t know when it became acceptable to only do the part of a finished work you like to do, or are good at,  and then pass it around to the next person. That’s OK but it isn’t your quilt in my opinion. It is a 2 or 3 person work since you also might have paid someone else to do the binding since NOBODY likes to do the finishing.

I know the argument that a lot of artists have assistants. That isn’t the same as entering a quilt in a quilt competition and taking credit for the quilt, the whole quilt and nothing but the quilt. I think it is dishonest and it certainly is not fair to other quilters who did all the work on their entry. I even think it is dishonest for a quilt in a gallery if it is the quilting design and expertise that make the quilt. There is a saying every quilter learns when they start down this path. It isn’t a quilt until it’s quilted. It is up to you to decide if it is YOUR quilt or a collaboration.

I do all my own work. I used to be a master hand quilter. Then when rheumatoid arthritis started causing issues, I went to only heirloom machine quilting on a domestic machine. Now the disease has progressed so I have to use a mid arm . I don’t use a stitch regulator, it’s all my stitching and mistakes. It is the hand of the artist visible in every wobble and occasional non-uniform stitching. If that means I don’t win an award,  I’m OK with that because I know it is my quilt from start to finish.

11 thoughts on “Did you Quilt your Quilt?

  1. I LOVE that you do your own quilting AND that you accept “the hand of the maker”! Each to their own, but I loooove hand of the maker. Go girl!

  2. It must be nice to afford your on quilting machine, many of us cannot afford such a thing. That leaves doing it by hand or with a sewing machine. But in many shows you will see the artist’s name followed by the quilter’s name.
    If you are a painter and buy a pre-made – stretched and gessoEd canvas – does that make you less a painter. of if yo u use premade oil paint vs. grinding you own colors, does that make you less a painter?
    Why can’t a quilt be considered a cooperative effort?
    Also you buy your fabric that many times is printed. Would it be better to grow your own cotton, spin it and weave it and then make a quilt that you hand quilt with thread you have spun. And u you use bee’s waxon you thread you should raise honey bee and make your own bee’s wax.
    Just how far should this be taken.

  3. I don’t know why you are comparing hiring a quilter to a painter using commercial supplies. Most artists use commercial supplies, but not all do. I think your first sentence is telling and you are ticked off for some reason that I have a midarm machine. You really missed the whole point of the post.

  4. I agree with you in that it places those quilts in a different arena in prize and award winning quilt exhibits and should not be judged on par with those who do their own quilts from start to finish. I also have arthritis and only use a domestic sewing machine to free motion quilt and it’s a bear of a job to do a large piece! I’ve done them. But I do smaller quilts now or I do Quilt As You Go. Of course, I still do my own nails.

  5. Oh, yes, “the hand of the maker” is what makes it personal. I have a mid-arm (I guess that’s what a Sweet Sixteen is) without a stitch regulator, but my favorite way to quilt is on my Pfaff 25-yr-old domestic machine. When I can no longer quilt my own, I will limit myself to potholder or coaster size so I can still do it all. But not yet.

  6. Your comment, “I don’t know when it became acceptable to only do the part of a finished work you like to do, or are good at, and then pass it around to the next person”. As long as credit is given to each person who worked on the quilt, I see no issue.

  7. I agree with you and I do ALL the parts of the quilts I make. They are mine and mine alone.

    Thank you for your comments that have validated my work over that done by other Quilt top makers I know.


  8. Some would argue you are not a true quilter unless you hand quilt. I have been on all sides of this fence. You have intrigued me with your post and will continue to think about this conundrum.

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