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The Art of Quilt-making, Part 7
Adding the Quilting Stitches

by Mary Asper, Green Mountain Designs
A Seasoned Quilter Shares Her Tips

 

In this article, Mary Asper of Green Mountain Designs shares her tips for successful quiltmaking. Although it is written especially for the beginning quiltmaker, even more experienced artisans may find valuable information. See Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part V, and Part VI for more tips.

Mary’s Tip: Quilting Makes the Quilt!

Now you are faced with the final "big" decision: To hand quilt, or quilt by machine? Here is some information to help you make that decision:

  1. There is much validity in quilting by machine. Heirloom quilting techniques can produce quilts with a much textural loveliness as hand quilted quilts. Heirloom machine quilting is an art that has grown in stature over the last eight years.
  2. Often choosing to quilt by machine helps you get it DONE! What takes years to achieve by hand quilting can be accomplished in a matter of hours when done by machine.
  3. In my opinion, quilts that are like our ancestors’ utility quilts (e.g. those for charity – ones made just to use up scraps – quilts kids will use often) should be quilted by machine – simply!
  4. Fine quilts – those that have intricate piecing, layer upon layer of appliqué or other major time and handwork investments – probably deserve the finishing touches of being hand quilted (if the time or the money is available!).
  5. I like to choose the quilting method that will best enhance the quilt. Even though heirloom quilting by machine produces gorgeous quilts, there is some difference in texture and overall look. If I desire a softer, more traditional look, I will choose hand-quilting.
  6. You can pay people to quilt for you! I personally love to piece but often don’t have the time or the resources to get things quilted. It’s completely justifiable to send your top out to be either machine or hand quilted. Be sure to look at examples of the quilters' work before putting your precious top in their hands.

The Most Important Tip Of All:
Give yourself freedom to not be a perfectionist!

There are quilt a few master quilters in the world, and I am grateful for them! They show us what our chosen art can be when executed at the highest level. However, the majority of people quilting today are like you and I; people who want to enjoy their love of color and texture while learning new skills and increasing in knowledge.

Many a new quilt-maker has been discouraged by someone whose points are always perfect; by that incredibly complex piecing design accomplished by a fellow guild member; or by someone’s 16-stitches-to-an-inch hand quilting. What a shame! We all suffer when a person’s contribution is stifled.

So, dear quilting friend, I give you permission not to be perfect! And I ask you to do the same for yourself. Loosen up – do the best you can – always work to improve – and, most importantly, have fun!


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