Sunday, February 1, 2015
This is what I am thinking lately...why does machine quilting have to be so darn perfect? Granted the work done by people like Judi Madsen and Margaret Solomon Gunn (and countless others) is fun to look at and is quite amazing. However, it is just not practical in the real world for the average machine quilter who is trying to make a living through quilting. Even Judi Madsen says in her book that there is no money in custom quilting. It takes weeks for these artists to create their magic. They plan and plan, then mark the quilt with chalk and disappearing markers so that every line and every circle is exactly perfect. The end results are amazing...but, again, unrealistic for most of us. The problem that I am struggling with is that because of the proliferation of quilting magazines, Pinterest, and internet programs, one could assume that every quilt should be treated to this "perfect" finish.
I am confident that I can, given enough time and the desire to do so, create some pretty impressive quilting. The problem is, no one wants to pay for that. It takes so many hours to mark and execute such intricate designs that it is cost-prohibitive for the average customer. Instead, I like to do what I call "perfectly imperfect" quilting. I sometimes use rulers. I sometimes use stencils to draw a few elements on a quilt top. I do some very pretty free-motion feathers. My quilting is not perfect. I don't have a computer that I can program to do the exact same pattern back and forth across the quilt top. I can't program my machine to quilt the exact same pattern inside of each block. It's just not what I do. Instead, I like to improvise, listen to the quilt and what it is telling me that it wants, and do what I feel will enhance the quilt without taking weeks to finish. For the vast majority of quilts, "perfectly imperfect" is just right for finishing the quilt in a reasonable manner. Free-motion custom work does make a quilt special, even if it isn't exactly "perfect."
There are so many machine quilters out there. Some do strictly pantographs by laser light. Some use a computer to do pantographs across the quilt top. Some do free-motion custom work, Some do computerized custom work. I say...each to his or her own. For me, "perfectly imperfect" is just what my quilts need!