Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Quilt Making Rules?

We are often told rather emphatically, that a quilter must, should,  have to, always do such and such or "thats not the way you do it" about making quilts.  There are persons with a legal sounding word attached to the term that are quoted as the authority on the "way" quilting should be done. You know the word and who these folks are.   I am sure there are opinionated folk in every craft or profession.  Where do they get their authority? 

In my 30+ years of quilt making career I have never found a list or book or any other official document that gives the absolute rules for quilt making.  Since I haven't found this information I have decided to make one up.  You won't need a very long piece of paper if you choose to write these down.  Here they are:

Good Quilt Making is Achieved by:

1.   Accurate marking or measuring
2.   Accurate cutting
3.   Accurate piecing.

*Footnote:   Beyond this, it is the interest, skill, desire, ability the quilt maker brings to the art and craft. 

Now let me give you some personal experience.

For many years I designed whole cloth quilts.  No cutting or piecing there.  No colors to match because I drew the designs with black pen on white paper.  If one side of the design was a bit "off" that didn't matter because the balance of the design was the important element.

Then I started (again) teaching basic quilting making.  For some reason the pieces - even the squares and rectangles didn't fit just right.  So, I started ripping out.  I ripped not to just redo but to find out what was wrong.  I discovered that I was losing control the last 1/2" of the seams.  Therefore, the pieces were not fitting together as they should.   Do I make my point?  I decided right then that you can certainly teach old folks new tricks.

Accuracy is important and if it doesn't happen, then go back and figure out why.  It sure cuts down on my frustration and it will for you as well.

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