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?