Free Motion Friday -- Art Vs. The Rest of the World


FREE MOTION FRIDAY! Happy Friday Peeps. Those of you who read my Sappy QuiltCon Post.. thanks for sticking with me and coming back today... things are still a little sappy, but getting back to normal.

Speaking of getting back to normal... we aren't quite there yet. Getting back to work after a week away, plus general exhaustion has meant we aren't quite back to normal on the blog today... I didn't do any drawings for you, but we should be back to that next week.

THIS WEEK I have been thinking a lot about a conversation I had at QuiltCon. About whether insisting that anyone can quilt (and by quilt I mean free motion or whatever type of quilting you do on your patchwork top) takes away from the artistry that is really good quilting, particularly in modern quilting.

The argument is that great quilting can really put a quilt over the top and look great. However, at QuiltCon, there were really only a few quilts with skilled free motion. (There were plenty of awesome straight line & matchstick quilted quilts, which look crazy awesome, but aren't quite what I'm talking about here). There were some crazy awesome ones, but (and please don't hate me for saying this) in general I was disappointed by the quilting. My favourite part of quilt shows is looking at the quilting and getting new ideas and being inspired, which just didn't happen for me at quilt con. In fact, I found the quilting on many quilts, including some of the category winning quilts to take away from the quilt and not add to it.

So, our discussion was that perhaps the reason for this was that the mantra of "finished is better than perfect" along with many instructors insistence that anyone can quilt, and you should just try, and practice, and the skills will come, diminishes the skills of those who actually do great quilting. That if everyone thinks they can quilt, than no one thinks its special.

And I'm not going to lie-- this may all be true. I love free motion quilting, and was disappointed I didn't see more of it at QuiltCon, and maybe this is the reason.

But, I just don't care. I still think that anyone can quilt, and that finished is better than perfect. Which, maybe as a longarm quilter who really would like people to pay to have her quilt their quilts I shouldn't think, but I do.

Perhaps I'm a bit jaded by the fact that for me, quilting has always been a business. I grew up in a quilt store, I have a business degree, and now I work in a quilt store, and so for me, quilting has always been about getting more people to quilt. And getting more people to quilt means making quilting more accessible. Which means that I have to believe that anyone can quilt -- otherwise I'd never sell any fabric, sewing machines, thread... Plus, I started Free Motion Quilting when I was 14... so if I could do it at 14 (terribly mind you, stitches big enough not just to fit one finger under, but two full fingers) anyone can do it as an adult.

So I might be kind of a jerk, walking around the QuiltCon show floor looking at quilts and thinking "really, that one got in and the beautiful one I quilted didn't? I quilted better than that at 16"... I still think that is no reason for anyone not to try. Free motion is so fun, so go for it. While I'd love to see more high-quality quilting at QuiltCon, there are plenty of shows that have great quilting, so I'll get over it. I feel like a lot of my blog, especially my Free Motion Friday posts,  are about making quilting accessible, while still maintaining artistry. Anyone can quilt, and I just like to help you along with how to make it look as great as your quilt top deserves.

So that's my rant for the day. Perhaps back to normal next week.

Until then, later days, Kathleen.