Quilting Outsourcers vs. Quilting DIY-ers
Here we are, Quilter’s Mart Buddies! We’ve arrived at our fourth and final Quilter’s Mart Personality Test category. And this one is a doozy.We’ve already gone through the first three categories:
- Fabric Hoarders vs. Fabric Minimalists
- Project Multitaskers vs. Project one-at-a-timers
- Pattern Followers vs. Pattern Creators
Today’s is a classic showdown, but with a twist - subcategories!
Are you a Quilting Outsourcer, or a Quilting DIY-er?
Personally, I can totally relate to the Quilting Outsourcer mindset. The actual act of quilting is my least favorite part of the process of making a quilt. I’m not exactly sure why I don’t like it, but I find it to be tedious and tiresome, and I just want to get it over with.
However, the closest I’ve ever come to actually outsourcing the quilting step is throwing a quilt at Nancy the Quilting Goddess and asking her to do it for me. That quilt still hasn’t made its way back to me, so I can only guess it is still hiding in a bag at her house, and my attempt at outsourcing has so far failed. But there’s still hope!
I think outsourcing quilting is great for those who don’t like it, like me, but also for those who lack the proper equipment, time, or training/skill. Quilting is a true art form, no matter how it is done, and sometimes leaving it to the professionals is a great way to go!Quilting DIY-ers
I think there are 4 sub-categories of Quilting DIY-ers. Let me know if I’ve missed a sub-category in the comments!
- Long-Arm Quilters
- Basic Machine Quilters
- Free-Motion Quilters
- Hand Quilters
Ultimately, I am a Quilting DIY-er, sub-category Long-Arm Quilter.
Nowadays, I avail myself of easy access to the long-arm machine at Nancy the Quilting Goddess’ house, lovingly dubbed “Lenni”, and count my lucky stars each time I use him.
The beauty of quilting with a long-arm is that you can see a large area of the quilt at once, and you can therefore work with more elaborate designs more easily.
Plus, it is fast. For me, it usually takes hours, rather than days, to get a project completely quilted. It satisfies my desire to get this stage done as quickly as possible!
Before Lenni, I was a Basic Machine Quilter, all the way. I would attach my walking foot, and fold and stuff quilts through the tiny opening in my machine, usually “stitching in the ditch”.
Is that common quilting lingo? Or just something Nancy and I say? For the unfamiliar, “stitching in the ditch” is aligning your quilting stitches in the seams of the pieced quilt top. I loved this method because it was just straight lines, and if I used a thread that blended with my quilt top, it was difficult to see my quilting. It was a great technique for hiding my wobbly lines and mistakes.
Let me tell you, I was grateful when Lenni came along and saved me from doing this. I’ll never forget the time I was quilting my brother’s king size quilt in an un-air conditioned house in the middle of a heat wave. I have never been so hot as I was wrestling that giant quilt through my machine!
I tried my hand at becoming a Free-Motion Quilter but once. Free-motion quilting uses a traditional sewing machine, but with a special foot so you can maneuver in any direction, instead of only forward and backward.
It is like long-arm quilting, but way harder. I was especially challenged by this because the machine I was working on didn’t have a stitch regulation function, which meant that I had to be careful to keep both my movements and the movement of the needle at constant speeds, lest my stitches all end up at different lengths. Which they did. Frequently.
The end result of that endeavour was a table runner that was made with love... Let’s just leave it at that.
I have never been tempted to become a Hand Quilter. But this sub-category of quilters has my deepest admiration. I imagine it requires (pun alert!) a large handful of patience, the absence of a deadline, and a sturdy thimble. I am usually lacking in all three of those, and have therefore never given hand quilting a shot.
But oh goodness, are hand quilted quilts a sight to see!
The closest I’ve come to hand quilting, is using some embroidery thread to add a cute little knot in the middle of a square on a baby blanket to give the quilt a bit of texture and 3D pizzazz.
The end result is the same no matter what method you prefer - a beautiful quilt! But tell me, readers, what category (+ sub-category) do you fall into? Are you a Quilting DIY-er, or a Quilting Outsourcer?
- Carolyn Knees