June 18, 2011

the "dumbing down of quilting"

I saw this post about the "dumbing down of quilting".  First off, I don't particularly agree with everything that was said but in fueled enough fire within me to say something.

Please read the above linked post before reading my response.  This was posted in March so I'm sure a few of you have seen it.  Also I'm not really addressing anything in order.

I like simple quilts because I love the thrill of a completed project.  Trust me I have PLENTY of my own UFOs that are considered simple.  Traditional blocks made with traditional fabrics don't strike my fancy very much, but once put with modern fabrics it opens my eyes.  Hence my desire to do a dresden plate or a snail trail.  NOT patterns I'd typically choose because they're generally traditional but with the right fabrics they appeal to me.  I love trendy fabrics, I love decorating trends.  I'm not going to put quilts with Holly Hobby style fabrics in my home because it's not my style. 

She also states that a quilter is a beginner because she "can't perfect a 1/4" seam" or because "she can't work with triangles" or because "she only makes wonky blocks because that's all she can do".  I have to HIGHLY disagree with everything above.  I'm not a stickler about the 1/4" seam for my own projects.  I usually end up a threads width shy of it, so scant, which is ok because it gives me room to square up my blocks.  As long as my blocks align and the project works out in the general size I'm happy.  I don't much like triangles because I don't care for bias edges.  I end up using starch to keep the stretching down to a minimum which gunks up my ironing board (and usually my cat b/c she likes to 'help' me press & she doesn't like it :p).  Plus, I haven't really found a pattern that I've wanted to try that involves triangles.  Julie @ Jaybird Quilts did a GREAT tutorial using jelly rolls to make hexagon blocks out of 60* triangles without Y seams and the results are very awesome, however, I'm not a triangle kinda gal!  I'll probably end up making a small doll quilt sized one with scraps just to try it but it's not a project I'd love to take on, just because triangles aren't my thing.  To each her/his own.  As for the wonky thing.  Yea I'm in the camp that that ship has sailed but some people like it and THAT'S OK!!!  My brain doesn't do the whole wonky quilting thing, tried it, failed. 

I used to hate making HSTs because I didn't have a good way to make them.  It's MUCH easier to make them from 2 squares than to make them from 2 triangles.  Beginners might not know that which is why they may have trouble with it.  We were all beginners at one point, we all learn new techniques.  There is NOTHING wrong with screwing it up royally then learning a much easier way.  It's a  LEARNING process as is everything that is new to us.  For some it may click quicker than others but that's ok too, we're individuals, no two people do the same thing at the same pace. 

The writer also dogs a bit on modern fabrics.  I'm not one for Civil War repros.  I can get on board with the 30s sugar sack prints that are bright and vibrant but I love the 'modern' prints that are out today.  It's what appeals to ME.  I use what makes ME happy.  If something is not your style that's ok too.  I absolutely love how classic patterns look with modern fabrics, makes it look like a whole new pattern. I for one never would've considered doing the Farmer's Wife Quilt Along until I started seeing it in modern fabrics.  The quilt just ain't my cup of tea as the book shows it, but I'm excited to see it finished with fabrics that *I* like.  Cutesy florals aren't for everyone, modern fabrics aren't for everyone.   

Sure there are patterns being sold out there that are remakes of classic patterns.  Parasols by Fig Tree comes to mind but the pattern uses no triangles and is layer cake friendly, every snail trail pattern I've come across boasts neither one of those.  So yes, while it may be a remake of a classic, it show us how to make something using new techniques.  How many times has Hollywood remade a classic?  Sometimes it's better, sometimes it's worse, but either way, classic or remake will appeal to different people.  Quilts are no different.

She also kinda dogs on precuts too.  Sure they have cute names and I'm sure that's a reason they're huge sellers, but they also take a LOT of prep work out of a project, which for me, I don't mind one bit.  The quicker I get through the boring cutting part and onto sewing, the happier I am.  Again, they appeal to some and not others and that too is ok! 

The writer does try 'soften' the blow by saying that you should get out of your element and try new things, and I completely agree.  Just because people don't post about it doesn't mean they don't try.  I don't have an unlimited quilting budget, I'm not going to take on an entire project and waste fabric for something that I may not like.  I buy mostly Moda fabrics and we all know that it's not cheap.  

No one is reinventing the wheel, I like to think of it as making improvements to the wheel, or adding more spokes. 

So, moral of the story, do what makes YOU happy.  If the quilt is a gift, do what will make the recipient happy.  As the saying goes, you can only please one person per day and today isn't your day, well that's EVERYDAY in the internet.  Personally, I don't think quilting is being "dumbed down" at all.  This whole modern quilting craze has inspired many people to quilt that may not have before.  Isn't that what this is all about?  People coming together to enjoy a hobby?  If you don't like the modern quilting craze, turn your head the other way, it really is just that simple.  No need to knock others just because it's not your cup of tea.  You do have the choice to not read the blog, buy the pattern, look at the pictures, join the flickr group, etc.  Exercise that option.

1 comment:

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