Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Why I Quilt


I am in love with quilting, specifically the process of holding the three layers of a quilt together.  Piecing is pleasant, but my passion is found in the stitches that hold a quilt together.  When my babies were young, I started hand quilting.  I fell in love with the subtle textures achieved one single stitch at a time.  As those babies grew into teenagers, I worked as a longarm quilter.  While quilting 5,000 quilts for customers, I learned about battings and threads and textures and quilting plans.  Now that I am an empty-nester (and a grandma!), I machine quilt on a sit-down longarm machine and pursue it as an art form.  Over the last decade, I have traveled the world teaching thousands of quilters to machine quilt their own quilts.  No matter the country or language spoken, quilters are the same wherever I go. 


When someone gets married, we make a quilt.  When someone is sick, we make a quilt.  When natural disasters strike, we make quilts.  When a baby is expected, we make a quilt.  We dig through our scraps and stashes.  We excitedly buy pre-cut selections of fabrics from our favorite designers.  We run to the local quilt shop and fondle the bolts, carefully choosing each piece for a quilt.  The moments we steal away to work on our quilts are precious moments and are made even sweeter if we are blessed enough to be quilting with friends. 

Once the quilt top is complete, quilts can be tied or hand quilted or machine quilted.  The quilting can be a necessary evil or the most exciting part of the quilt (I’m raising my hand, here!).  The quilting can be simple and utilitarian, intricate and beautiful, or even done by someone else but if the quilt isn’t quilted… it isn’t a quilt!  That unquilted quilt won’t snuggle a baby, grace a home, comfort the sick, or remind a college student that someone at home is thinking of them.  Those unquilted tops, piled in the closet, are unrealized dreams and promises unkept.  The quilting, often thought of as a chore, is important because it stitches that quilt together and holds the love inside the quilt.


As you are piecing your quilts, I encourage you to think of what type of quilting will suit that quilt best.  Does the quilt simply need to be held together?  Does the quilt have areas that would benefit from some decorative quilting?  Are you able or willing to quilt the quilt yourself?  Do you partner with a longarm quilter to finish your quilts?  Plan for your quilting while you are piecing your quilts so that you will be prepared to finish them.



I will be providing machine quilting tutorials for TheSplendid Sampler throughout the year.  I won’t be quilting my finished top in these tutorials because I’m making my quilt along with you!  What I will show, though, are techniques suggested by some of the blocks.  It is my hope that these tutorials will give you ideas for how you might want to quilt your Splendid Sampler quilt when it is finished, but also ideas for finishing some of your other quilts.



So, why do you quilt?  Is it your passion?  Is it a chore?   

  

66 comments:

SandraC said...

For me quilting is my meditation, my yoga. I look forward to seeing your suggestions on quilting the Splendid Sampler!

Sylvia said...

Love your words in this post! I quilt as hobby that brings me joy. :-)
Will be checking your Splendid Sampler too.

Sylvia
Sylvia's Stitches

Jacqueline said...

machine quilting is my least favorite part. I hand quilt because I get better results. I have taken three fmq classes and I just can't seem to master it in any way, shape or form. But with that being said I always have hope and am glad that you are posting on this subject for the Splendid Sampler.

PS you don't look anywhere old enough to be a grandma.

HJNYToni said...

Jacqueline, it's because Debby has a painting in her closet....I know some of her secrets because she babysat my oldest with her oldest - I won't say when ..

Debby Brown said...

Jacqueline, I am turning 30 this year but that's only because my son is turning 29. ;-)

Liz Horgan said...

Quilting is a passion for me---although I don't know that I'm very good at it. I understand what you're saying-I make quilts for people going through illness, for people getting married, for new babies--although no grandchild for me yet--and that is fine!, for graduations. Anytime I hear about a fundraiser, I try to make something for it. I'm not always sure that the person receiving my quilt appreciates it in the way that I hope they do, but it truly comes from my heart, and I so much enjoy making it! Making quilts is like therapy for me and I miss it on the nights that I can't go up and quilt. It's just what I love to do!

Amanda Garvin said...

This is my passion, my life, and I make amazing friends who are usually twice my ago. ;)

I work full time and just turned 31. I have been quilting for 10 years and have owned a long arm for 3 years. I do not have children yet, but my quilting is my happy place. No matter how stressed I am, if I spend a few hours with the fabrics and thread then I feel great!

I love all parts except the binding... I have 3 quilts right now that need bound and I just keep piling them up. My favorite part is picking the fabric out and matching fabrics for a quilt.

Thank you so much for this post. It resounds with me so well.

Christine Barnsley said...

Love the passion your post conveys. I love quilting too... all aspects of it. I have tried all sorts of different techniques and FMQ is one that I am trying particularly hard to come to grips with. I have taken online classes which I love and I think this year (after trying on and off for some time!) I have finally turned a corner and it is clicking into place! I am loving the results! Will be looking forward to your tutorials! Christine x

leanne said...

I'm a newbie quilter as in I've FMQ'd 5 quilts !! I'm enrolled in your lines, curves and loops crafty class and I'm really looking forward to learning more from you through The Splendid Sampler !

Gail Cali said...

I enjoy hand quilting also. I feel it personalizes the quilt more than a machine doing the same pattern. I see the value of machine quilting for a quilt that may need to be washed several times but a quilt that is an heirloom, it should be hand quilted.

Lisa said...

Wow! This is awesome you will be giving us these tutorials! Pat and Jane have outdone themselves not only with awesome blocks but now, to have you on board to show us how to quilt and finish them....Amazing! Thank you!!!
Quilting for me is a chore. I have tried FMQ but my thread breaks over and over. I have tried all the suggestions, but to no avail, so I start sending a couple quilts out to long arms. But the cost does add up. I like how you mentioned "those unquilted tops, piled in the closet, are unrealized dreams and promises unkept". This hit me like a brick. I have all those unrealized dreams laying in pile. But I look forward to your Craftsy class and getting those quilts out and doing it! :)

Gail Cali said...

I enjoy hand quilting also. I feel it personalizes the quilt more than a machine doing the same pattern. I see the value of machine quilting for a quilt that may need to be washed several times but a quilt that is an heirloom, it should be hand quilted.

Teresa Erickson said...

It must be a passion. I need it. I love all of it. I love picking out the fabric, I love the cutting a little less, though! Most of all, I love seeing the magic that takes place when you put this fabric with that fabric and then combine those with these! I love trying new things and learning ways to do things differently. There's a certain sweet sadness, coupled with giddy anticipation, when I put that last stitch in my binding. It's like reading a really good book - I hate to see it end!

ChristaQuilts said...

This will be fun! I can't wait to see what you do :-)

Ruth said...

I love piecing and binding the quilt but NOT the tussle that is assembling layers and getting them to behave together. Long arm quilting either by me or outsourced is NOT an option due to cost and I am sure that I am not alone in that. The beauty of the piecing part is that in the true spirit of original quilts it can be done from scraps and donations and recycled fabric.

Stacey Martin said...

I literally just started "quilting" and I am working in basic skills. I did do some outlining fmq stitching on picture panels for wall hangings I did. It wasn't perfect but they are perfectly finished with all the live and skills I currently have. I would love to improve and be able to do some custom work. My time is so limited so I often find myself hesitating because of lack of skills. The sampler and Pat have helped me in jist "going for it" and I feel blessed for that. I am excited to learn from you as well. Thank you for taking this time for us!!๐Ÿ’–

Unknown said...

Quilting is my passion. I think about quilting 24/7. I see quilt patterns everywhere. For me sitting in front of my machine is my happy place. Thank you for joining in this adventure with us!!

Water Lilly said...

I, too, love feeling the texture quilting makes. But, each quilt I quilt always starts with the challenge of stretching it properly and basting it properly, so, that the quilting is fun! How do you tackle this? Small quilt are easier for me. It's when they get large that it's a challenge.

kim McWhorter said...

I love hand quilting. My grandmother did it, and my step father's mother did it. Hand quilting has been a way to connect to all the women
in the past.
Unfortunately, I have arthitis in both hands, plus CRPS in my left hand.
which makes hand quilting painful and slow. Therefore, I need to learn how
to machine quilt. I am looking foward to learning how to from you.

Dee D said...

I most enjoy the planning and the piecing; the quilting has been more of a chore. As I've spent more time quilting my smaller quilts (which I considered manageable) I've come to enjoy the quilting more because I feel more capable. I'm trying some more difficult designs and doing pretty well with them.

Lisa said...

Oh how I love what you said about stitching love into the quilt! That is certainly my perspective as I make quilts for others as gifts, charity or to sell. A guilt is a hug from me! I'm using my HQ Avante to quilt all my quilts now and looking forward to your tutorials for ideas on how to quilt this sampler. Thanks for sharing in our journey!

Melody Srygley said...

I'm looking forward to it!

Melody Srygley said...

I'm looking forward to it!

Ann Wilson said...

I mostly piece and it is my down time, relaxing and so enjoyable! I need to try free motion quilting again one of these days, it intimidates me!!!

Kandy said...

Ditto every single one of the above comments! It almost made me cry cause we're all so the same~what a loving bond & joy we share! Thank you & Pat & Jane & all the glorious designers for your time & effort. I'm now reading many more blogs/newsletters, ordering the best thread & fabric, being constantly encouraged & inspired~thrilled I found this amazing group of new quilty buddies! PS: when I read you had teenagers & I surprised cause you're so young, then when I read you're a grandm.....blown away...what's your secret?!

Marion said...

I, too, have a sit dowm long arm machine and will be looking forward to your ideas in quilting the blocks in my Splendid Quilt and in my other quilts. Thank you.

Marion said...

I, too, have a sit dowm long arm machine and will be looking forward to your ideas in quilting the blocks in my Splendid Quilt and in my other quilts. Thank you.

Unknown said...

Quilting for me is the gateway for love to flow between people. My Mom was the quilter in my family for years and she made quilts for everyone and every occasion. She passed away unexpectedly in 2003 and her heartfelt gifts are true treasures to us all. I am honored to have quilted with her and I now continue the tradition. When I make a quilt it connects me to the recipient in such a personal way. I think about them as I pick fabrics and patterns. I laugh with my friends and fellow quilters as I piece it together. I stress over the actual "quilting" part and I hand quilt if there is time or tie when rushed. I sit quietly with the quilt in my lap and the spirit of my Mom beside me as I hand sew the binding...my favorite part. Then my family and I hug each quilt to fill any empty spaces with love.This is why I quilt. To learn how to quilt my creations on my home machine has always intimidated me so I look forward to your posts! Thank you.

Gwen Williamson said...

Quilting for me is the gateway for love to flow between people. My Mom was the quilter in my family for years and she made quilts for everyone and every occasion. She passed away unexpectedly in 2003 and her heartfelt gifts are true treasures to us all. I am honored to have quilted with her and I now continue the tradition. When I make a quilt it connects me to the recipient in such a personal way. I think about them as I pick fabrics and patterns. I laugh with my friends and fellow quilters as I piece it together. I stress over the actual "quilting" part and I hand quilt if there is time or tie when rushed. I sit quietly with the quilt in my lap and the spirit of my Mom beside me as I hand sew the binding...my favorite part. Then my family and I hug each quilt to fill any empty spaces with love.This is why I quilt. To learn how to quilt my creations on my home machine has always intimidated me so I look forward to your posts! Thank you.

Patricia Hale MD said...

I started quilting a year ago partially in memory of my grandmother ...I sat by her side on the dairy farm and watched her as a small child...I and I have quilts she made as well as my great grandmother that are amazing...feathered designs...tiny beautiful stitches....an inspiration. And the second reason is that I started 2 quilts from Jinny Beyer kits for my 2 sons. One was last years Craftsy BOM (a new term for me) that I started to learn techniques. I was puzzled on how to quilt them when I was done and happily your craftsy quilts course appeared right in the nick of time! Great course and I highly recommend it! Wow do I look forward to the splendid sampler quilting ideas. My sister and I are doing this together. We are very different and our quilt blocks show those differences dramatically ...which is adding to the great fun!

CC8900 said...

Quilting is a passion for me. I find it therapeutic. I have to pay attention to what I am doing and when I get in the groove time passes without me noticing. It becomes a chore though if I have a deadline. I admire that you can do all those customer quilts because I would find it too much pressure. I look forward to what you have to share about the Splendid Sampler. Thnks.

Nancy McClelland said...

Thank you so much for giving us some quilting advice during the Splendid Sampler project! I love quilting my own quilt tops, but sometimes the quilt does not speak to me and I am unsure what would look best. I look forward to what you come up with for us!

institches said...

I quilt because I love it! I am I simply obsessed with making Quilts, learning how blocks go together, seeing my finished blocks, selecting fabrics, quilting on my little short arm Bernina, and making those mitred corners! I love the joy on faces when I give someone one of my quilts. I love having my quilts around me to snuggle in. I love it when my little grandboys grab a quilt and dive into the softness. So. I have 3 quilts to do the quilting on. I know what I'm doing with two of them but still "watching" the third for the quilting pattern to emerge. And now I wish I were home because i want to finish those two!!! Work gets in my way. Haha!

institches said...

Oh. Nancy Daly said all that๐Ÿ˜Š

Renee Galloway said...

I love all parts of the quilting process!! I want to learn to free motion instead of stitching in the ditch. I have so many ideas about what designs would look good as I'm piecing! Enrolling in your class as soon as I finish this post!!!

Lee Franklin said...

Coming up with ideas for the quilting is not always easy for me, so I look forward to your help. Thank you!

Margaret Reid said...

I`m sorry, did I miss some information. When are you going to begin showing us your FMQ suggestions for each block

Courtney said...

It's my passion! Having this creative outlet helps me recover mentally from being a mom to three active little boys!

Abby said...

It relaxes me along with tapping into my creative side that I didn't know existed until I started quilting! Free motion and long arm quilting have become another expression of my creativeness, giving me the ability to accentuate the quilt I am working on.

Debra Davis said...

Quilting is my happy place where my creative side finds release.

Emily Johnson said...

Being a colour junkie, when i discoved quilting many years ago, i realized i need look no farther to fill my need to play with colours. I love love piecing and have always struggled with the quilting part. Lately i have been trying to quilt what i piece, but i am about 8 tops behind ! My goal for 2016 is to finish what i have and not piece. Splendid Sampler is helping me do this, giving me a new little block twice a week. So far so good.

Nanaknits said...

As a beginning quilter at 70, I quilt because I have a lifelong love of fabric and find it challenging (particularly knowing how to plan the quilting part of the project).

Patricia Limburg said...

I am a long arm quilter and love love love the quilting process. I look forward to your suggestions.

Beth Burnett said...

Quilting is a passion; I really like the piecing part best. It just seems magic when the pattern comes together. However my wallet/checkbook say that I need to learn how to do the quilting rather than going to a long arm quilter.

Pat Oster said...

Quilting is a challenge and good "occupational therapy" for physical problems. Thanks for your assistance with meeting the challenge!

Helen Bowie said...

I quilt because it is another form of creative art. I have been creating things since I was about 10 years old. I love the fabrics, tools, everything quilts and have to feel the fabric as well. I say I will not buy anymore books/fabric then walk into a store and just have to have the new book or fabric, etc. I love the idea of taking scraps or pieces of fabrics and turning the into a beautiful design and then when you see how beautiful the quilting can be it is awesome!
I quilt my own quilts, not that it is that wonderful but I feel it is not finished unless I do it myself. I love to learn how to quilt like you do, it is a work of art and I am happy to hear you are also following the Splendid Sampler. Can't wait to see your work!

kshackabq said...

Very excited to see you are part of the Splendid Sampler quilt along, and look forward to what you will be teaching us along the way. I love making something beautiful and useful. Sewing is therapeutic for me, although the quilting often brings me pause. So learning more about how to figure it out and do it will be welcome. Thank you, Debby!

Linda Gless said...

I am very excited to see your ideas! Quilting is my reason for getting up each day...always something to look forward to! I do think about the quilting even before I piece a top. I machine quilt on my home Husqvarna Viking 960Q machine. Still have lots to learn and I look forward to learning from you!

Debby, crowefan0517 said...

Hi Debby, It was nice to see you at the Lancaster show yesterday. Glad to hear you'll be giving some ideas for quilting the Splendid Sampler. I happen to love any type of quilting on my domestic Pfaff, including detailed free motion quilting. I have recently purchased a ruler foot and rulers and are currently quilting with them now. Sooooo happy Westalee designed a ruler foot for domestic machines. I have purchased some of their rulers but I have found that many of the Handi Quilter rulers work great too. Looking forward to your posts in the Splendid Sampler quilt along.

-debby siccardi

Christy Miller said...

Forever, I have hated to quilt. I fought with the machine, hand stitched with NO patience. My mind always ran to the completed project and it just took too long. Sigh. As time has gone by, I am now a grandma too, I find I have quilted by machine far more then I hand quilted. The change in attitude crept up on me a few years ago. Now, the whole time I am piecing I am dwelling on HOW to quilt it. You know what I mean when I say the quilt will tell you how it wants to be quilted. OK, if not, then I am going senile. Love to quilt now, and am grateful for you help. Thanks, Debby

Christy Miller, VA.

Sue Preece said...

I love all the different aspects of making a quilt (although I must say trimming HSTs is a bit tedious) but probably the quilting most of all. I love turning a flat piece of fabric into something with texture and life. I love letting the quilt 'speak' to me about what it needs and losing myself in the process - all on my 25 year old Janome standard sewing machine. It only has a small throat and I have squeezed an 80 inch square quilt through it so I am dreaming of the day I can afford something a little larger but until then I will manage with what I have and keep learning as I go. Perhaps you might come to Adelaide,South Australia one day for our Australian Machine Quilting Festival? Its all about the quilting and I love the opportunity to learn from so many great teachers.

Sue Preece said...

I love all the different aspects of making a quilt (although I must say trimming HSTs is a bit tedious) but probably the quilting most of all. I love turning a flat piece of fabric into something with texture and life. I love letting the quilt 'speak' to me about what it needs and losing myself in the process - all on my 25 year old Janome standard sewing machine. It only has a small throat and I have squeezed an 80 inch square quilt through it so I am dreaming of the day I can afford something a little larger but until then I will manage with what I have and keep learning as I go. Perhaps you might come to Adelaide,South Australia one day for our Australian Machine Quilting Festival? Its all about the quilting and I love the opportunity to learn from so many great teachers.

Kerry Grose said...

Love all parts of quilting. The finishing of the quilt with the quilting always amazes me as the character changes as the quilting progresses. And you learn so much as this process unfolds.

Linda Gless said...

I am very excited to see your ideas! Quilting is my reason for getting up each day...always something to look forward to! I do think about the quilting even before I piece a top. I machine quilt on my home Husqvarna Viking 960Q machine. Still have lots to learn and I look forward to learning from you!

Elizabeth Emtage said...

I am just so pleased you will be doing this for each block. I am planning on joining mine as a Quilt as you go so a, hopefully, I will have many of the blocks quilted before the end. I really do need ideas and inspiration for the quilting of the blocks.

So looking forward to your starting.

Liz in New Zealand

ArianeB said...

Hi Debby, I´ve just found your blog and I´m really excited, that you want to show me possibilities, how to quilt my splendid sampler. Patchwork I do for a long time but quilting is really new for me. I have to learn a lot and I want to. Reading your post let me recognize that I´m not too old for it - I´m 44 (laugh). Perhaps when I will be a grandma too I can quilt a perfect quilt for my grandchilds.

Thanks a lot and many greetings from the north of Germany!!
Yours Ariane

Joan Lomas said...

I started really quilting three years ago to make hot pads for the Chili Cook-Off at O'leno State Park. Since then I've made two quilts, a Saints quilt for my son and a baby quilt for my neighbor. I'm in the process of getting my quilt done. I just have three more nine block panels to make, then I'm done with the top. Getting excited. Also I've been a avid follower of Quilt Along with Pat Sloan. It is my second year following Pat. So that's my story.

Nancy Bart said...

I love every part of creating a quilt from designing a pattern (I only make other patterns if taking a class) to choosing fabrics to piecing and especially the quilting! I even love binding them. I have quilted a large quilt on a machine with a six inch throat. I would love a sit down longarm....Debby....the class at A Quilter's Gathering...on HQ 16 with templates was mind blowing. I bought a used Tin Lizzie....nothing special, and can't wait to use it....just got a Template table for the throat so I can use the templates we bought! I would like to say that I quilt to give....we give a lot to our local guild for charity....to family, friends.....but it is more for me. It fulfills this deep need in me to be creative....to have something come just from me from start to finish. That it is soft and beautiful and comforting is a bonus. That is why I quilt...it is almost like giving birth...every part of the process is special in a different way and the end result is precious and perfect every time no matter the flaws.

Joyce Schroeder said...

I quilt because I MUST. I quilt because IT IS WHO I AM. I quilt because IT IS MY PASSION. I quilt because to NOT quilt, for me, is DEATH. These are just some of the reasons I quilt. I do not machine quilt, I quilt by hand. Therefore, there are so many quilts I have planned in my head (and fabrics purchased for them), and I hope that when I am able to devote my entire days to quilting, I can get them finished. I love to design, shop for fabrics, plan how I will accomplish it. And when I get to the point where I can put my quilt on my frame and sit down with needle and thread in hand, I am blissfully in my own personal Nirvana. It is during the hours (and hours, and HOURS) that I spend at the frame that I dream, I focus, I concentrate, I pray. And all of those things are poured into the beautiful stitches I put in my quilt. I love the feel of the quilt sandwich beneath my fingers, the tug of the needle through the fabrics, the thread gliding along to stitch a lovely design. It is the best feeling in the world to take a finished quilt off the frame, trim the edges, add a binding, and hand stitch it down with love. Finally, putting a label onto the quilt actually makes me a little sad, because this beautiful piece has become a well-known, incredibly understood, dear friend, who has given and received much love, and with the final stitches, it will be moving on to its new home. But when I wrap my creation for its recipient, with lovely paper and a stunning bow, I cannot wait to see their face(s) as they open my gift and recognize how much they are TRULY loved. Because, you see, I quilt because I also love.

labfish said...

I learned to make a quilt when I retired as something I'd always admired. I love fabric designs and as a child, I would play fabric shop with the double wedding ring quilt on my bed when I was supposed to be going to sleep. I have learned stitch-in-the-ditch fairly well and grid-like quilting to finish quilt projects, but the curvey ones are still a challenge for me. I like your words about quilting holding the quilt together and the love inside. Great description

Kathy@KayakQuilting said...

I love all stages of making a quilt, except maybe basting! But I really love the quilting stage! I am so fortunate to have a Sweet Sixteen and to have taken two classes with none other than the lovely and very entertaining Debby Brown In Pelham NH! I'm so excited that you are involved in this project!

Sandi1100 said...

Quilting is a chore for me! I love to piece and do quilt my own on dsm but I'm not very good at quilting. I need to practice, practice, practice. I'm looking forward to your tips on quilting The Splendid Sampler.

jeni said...

I was fortunate to do a fmq class many years ago. I was new to piecing, and the teacher explained everything so well. She also told us that it would take us approx 360 hours of practicing. And so dont expect to learn in a few tries. I still love a hand pieced quilt. Greetings from Jenny in South Africa. And thankyou Pat for this lovely experience. May I also suggest that these squares could be done as "quilt as you go method", that is as you finish each block, you back it add batting, and hand quilt the individual piece, then sash them all together.

Ann L. said...

What a joy to connect with all the posters here. My passion has always been to create something with my own two hands. I had done hand quilting but the result was not to my satisfaction. Those beautiful heirlooms I see, did not resemble my large uneven stitches and the hobby was put aside for other mediums. My quilting evolved when I found out it was possible to quilt by machine! Now that I have a machine that can drop its feed dogs, or better yet, have a sit-down mid-arm, I am again quilting. It is no longer a hobby, but a daily passion. I still have trepidation when I sit down to quilt, but once I settle on a pattern, I find it relaxing and develop a rhythm. I am so looking forward to your suggestions in how to approach the Sampler. Thank you to all involved in this newest challenge.

Janice Steffek said...

I love the process of putting the quilt top together, but the quilting of it drives me insane. As much as I practice, my stitches still look like a two-year old has done it. Either the stitches are 6 inches long or right on top of each other. Any suggestions.

Cheryl Buchanan said...

I love making something for someone else and then watching their reaction. I quilt because I love creativity and once I fit pieces of fabrics together, I can see it in a pattern and then off I go. I never like starting something and not finishing and quilting comes with a great sense of accomplishment.