Friday, January 6, 2017

Why YOU Quilt Your Quilts - A Follow Up Post

I didn't plan to write this post, but your response to my last post, Why I Quilt My Own Quilts, has been overwhelming. Wow! (By the way - I respond to all comments and I'm still at it - so if you don't get an email within the next couple days, it's probably because I can't locate your email address. I respond directly on the blog post itself when this happens).

I was in the process of quilting "Echo" this time last year.

Anyway, I thought it would be interesting to reflect on the responses in general! A lot of you participated, responded to other blog comments, and "liked" comments on Instagram, so you all seem to be as curious as I am about why people decide to quilt their own quilts.

About 80% of you who say you quilt on your own (this is 90+ comments on the blog and Instagram together) said one or both of the following:

1. The cost of longarming doesn't mesh with your budget (my main reason!).

2. You quilt because you want ownership of the whole quilt. You want to or love to make it from beginning to end.

I expected #1. So many of you echoed a situation like mine: you are/were a student, you have loans, you have a young family with one income, or what have you. Many of you, no matter what income, want to finish your quilts and be able to make more - which means spending any quilting money on more fabric or supplies instead of a professional finish. It's utilitarian and still a beautiful way to finish quilts (especially if you love the quilting process itself and practice!).

 Quilting can have an impact on design, if you make it so. This is a blurry accidental shot of Crown of Orchids - you can see that dense crown of white thread very clearly!

#2 - wow. SO MANY OF YOU said this! I lost count. Many nodded their heads in agreement to being in control of the whole product. Some of you mentioned the wonderful feeling of entering quilts into shows and winning an award or being recognized for your work and your work alone.

Some commented that the "handmade" and "imperfect" feel is much preferable to computerized quilting or pantograph (which I realize is just one of the longarming options, but I'm totally with you - see The Great Stitch Length Debate post). A few of you even mentioned that your family members preferred your quilts to be completely self-made.

 The purpose of my wholecloth quilt experiment (final blog post forthcoming) was to write a phrase every day for 6 weeks... I never would have tried this if I didn't feel comfortable quilting on my domestic.

On Instagram, there was more of a varied response from those who don't quilt their own quilts. Many mentioned fear or anxiety about moving past straight lines and/or stippling. Other common responses were time constraints to finish projects (sending out quilts for longarming gives you more time to piece other quilts), space and/or energy restraints for larger quilts (I won't sugarcoat that process; it can be a bear), not enjoying the quilting process, and wanting that professional finish from a longarmer.

Oh, and finally, in both places, lots of you mentioned just loving quilting in general. I'm not saying you have to love it (you're totally welcome here either way!), but give it a chance... it might surprise you. :) And if not, that's okay, too. We all love different things about quilting. Now, who can I send my quilts that need binding??

Clearly, we all love this craft, and it's an emotional (and financial) investment either way. Thanks for giving me food for thought and for contributing to a valuable discussion!


  1. I pretty much quilt my own quilts for the same reasons you do....$$$$ and its my quilt, my artwork!
    Yes, I have hand quilted a few large quilts and I do not use a hoop. My biggest problem with machine quilting is my back! I am having to take a bit of a break now because in December I did way to much machine quilting and now I am paying the price in my shoulder and neck. Do you have any advice?

    1. A good massage therapist works wonders ... but I've learned to watch my posture when quilting and it really helps me to avoid the neck/back pain issue in the first place.

  2. Thanks for the info on One Monthly Goal. I'm not a real goal setter but I can manage one a month. I was so inspired (actually liberated) by the low stress concept, I even created my first blog post on my 2 year old Blogger account to join in the fun.

  3. I spent the first 10 years "quilting by checkbook" as we were a two-income family and I had neither the time nor the patience for the quilting phase (I am still hopelessly in love with the design/piecing parts). After I retired and had time to use what all I had learned in the first ten years, I purchased an APQS George (sit down long arm) and am learning to FMQ - so I am now able to translate my vision from beginning to end, I can enjoy the entire process, and relish the fact that I can now "do it myself" even when it isn't perfect (no one has yet to comment on my sometimes wobbly stitching or not perfectly circular circles). The first few gift recipients have been delighted that I did it myself instead of having it perfect - that's serious positive reinforcement! Great posts - thank you for instigating these conversations!

  4. I love your recap on quilting your own quilt! And now I have to admit, binding is one of my favorite parts of the entire quilting process. It's something I look forward to as not only the (often) final step but as my reward for all that hard work, getting to sit down and watch a good movie and SLOWLY hand stitch the binding down. Did you know that hand stitching can actually be stronger than machine stitching at times??? Anyway, I love that part. In fact, I just finished quilting a wall hanging for my sister's birthday today and tomorrow is my movie day!

  5. I appreciate your adding the follow up post and I will be linking to both of your posts in my next newsletter. Thanks!

  6. Great responses. It's interesting to hear other's perspectives.


Let's start a conversation! I love comments and I'd be happy to reply to all who have an email address accessible. Thanks for commenting!


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