Saturday, March 26, 2011

Debates in Quilting - "Dumbing Down"

Like anything the quilting world is rife with debates about everything under the sun.

Prewash fabrics? (never do it)
Rip vs. Cut (mostly cut)
Hand v Machine (machine)
Polyester or cotton threads (either)
Best way to make HSTs (half square triangles) (check my patterns)

The one that bothers me though is the idea about "dumbing" down quilting. Here's why.

Not everyone has the time, money, skill or desire to make a Baltimore Album, or Judy Niemeyer paper pieced masterpiece. ( I "borrowed" the pictures from Stitchin Heaven's kit page)

And that's perfectly alright.

It's not "dumb" to decide your hobby should be enjoyable and leisurly. Or that your quilts should be machine washable because kids actually use them.

And there is nothing wrong with making the elaborate touch-and-you-die type quilts. I have one on the go now. And the Baltimore Album-type and Judy Niemeyer paper pieced are on my bucket list.

Why do we feel the need to judge other peoples way of doing things? Unless its in a competition there really is no need.
If you don't like the patterns that are being put out there design your own!

We all have different aesthetics. What I like maybe you hate and vice versa. Yes, in my patterns I try to make more complicated designs simpler to construct. But that is my preference because I don't want to spend an immense amount of time ripping out stitches to get that perfect y-seam.

This idea that because its simple it's "dumbed down" is ridiculous! Why on earth would complicated equate intelligence? or somehow make it more worthy? or artistic?

And as beginners it is better to start simple, finish it and feel accomplished then get something way over your head that you never finish and turns you off quilting forever.

Ok, I get seeing a Turning Twenty in a judged show would make me go "whaaa" but honestly it's not going to make me throw my hands up and declare that quilting is going to hell in a handbasket.

For the fast majority quilting is a HOBBY. By definition hobbies are supposed to be enjoyable.

If applique makes you pull out your hair, or quilting the top on your home machine causes you pain, or precuts allow you to actually get to the part you like faster then there is NOTHING wrong with that!
Don't do it, use fusible, send out the top and buy away! It's for you!

Yes, stretching ourselves is good, learning a new technique could turn out to be the best thing you ever did because you fall head over heels for it but really that is no ones business but yours!

Do what YOU want. You quilt for YOU. The Quilt Police can only have power if you let them.

And if you're someone who thinks because it's easy or quick it's not worth doing....good for you! But really don't judge everyone because they don't share your opinion.
And if you don't think it's worth spending a year of your life on a huge intricate project then don't, but don't judge those who do.

 The only "rules" I say are really necessary are 1/4" seam allowance for a pattern. The pattern is written for it so without things won't match up. And pressing instead of ironing because of stretching. Which will throw everything out of whack.

But really the only golden-must-not-be-broken rules in quilting are enjoy what you do, and be nice and supportive to your quilting sisters and brothers.

Let's lose the superiority complex, the judgmental and elitist attitude and go back to being a community who share a love and passion for hacking up bits of perfectly good fabric and sewing it back together again.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Canadian Quilt of Valour

 Since I've received several e-mails about deadlines I thought I'd answer here. I'd like to receive the blocks by mid-May, earlier if possible but that will be the deadline.
 I'm hoping to have the quilts finished and sent off for July 1st, Canada Day.
Again if you're a "no-reply" blogger I can't email you back. I've been checking profiles to see if I can reply from there but if you don't have an email listed I can't reply to you.
You can send me an email directly if you like at caraquilts @

For my Australian friends. I've designed a Quilt of Valour for the Australian Armed Forces and it will be hosted by my friend Brie of Little Creatable. She will have a post up soon for it. The colours will be green and gold and will be a star block, finishing at 12". The basic design is this.

For those of you who aren't familiar with the Australian flag, the white stars are what is called a Southern Cross and are found on the blue background of the flag.
The green and gold are the colours worn by athletes in international play.

If you are interested in having a quilt of valour drive for your country and would like some help, either designing or writing instructions let me know and I would be happy to help!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Canadian Quilt of Valour

 So with so many getting in on the Just One Star, including me, I got to thinking we need to make at least one Quilt of Valour for Canadian service personnel. To do this I need some help.

I've designed a quilt and need people to send me some some Maple Leaf blocks. I've provided a pattern here.
We need 16 blocks of Maple Leaf with Stem, and 8 Maple Leafs without Stems, for each quilt. Both blocks are 12 1/2" unfinished. This will give us a 68"x68" quilt.

The Maple Leaf itself should be in medium to dark red, with a white/light background. I'd really prefer no blue in any of the backgrounds used. It's acceptable for the patches to be different fabrics, so scrappy blocks. Canada is a country made up of different ethnicities so why shouldn't a quilt for one who serves her not be made up of different fabrics?
Each quilt will require (8) 12 7/8" squares for the setting triangles. If you like you could send in a square with your blocks. If not that's ok. I should be able to scrounge up some.

If you're a quilt shop who'd like to donate backing/batting, or if you can't do that, sell it to me at cost I would really appreciate it.
Any long-arm quilter willing to quilt this would also be appreciated.

Ideally I'd love every person who sends in to send 2 Maple Leaf with Stem, 1 Maple Leaf without Stem, and 1 12 7/8" square.
If you can only make 1 block that's ok too! I will make up the difference in blocks.

So who's in?

Please make sure you're not set to no-reply if you want to join in. I need to be able to reply to you and give my address. If you don't hear from me that is probably the issue, just send me an email. 

The stem block has a mistake. The stem should read 6 1/2" x 1 1/2". Sorry I've fixed it now.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Just One Star

Moda is spear heading a drive to create 100 quilts, Just One Star, for the Semper Fi Fund. Several bloggers are holding giveaways to encourage people to participate. I've sent two star blocks of this morning and wanted to make sure you all know about it.
All you have to do is make 1 block from the pattern provided and mail it to Moda. Easy peasy.

Why you may ask is a Canadian getting involved in a program for American military personnel? Several reasons, one my husband is a proud American from a military region in North Carolina.
I know many wives, daughters, sisters and mothers of American servicemen and women.
And I think it's a good idea. One of the reasons I love quilting and quilts is because of the comfort they can bring.
You can support troops and honour their service, without agreeing with the politics of their mission.

I've also been inspired to look into making some for our Canadian service personnel. How about maple leaf blocks? Anyone interested?

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Basics Charity Challenge Drawing

I don't want to call it winners because everyone who gave is such a winner in my book!
Thank you so much for being caring and generous. Be it with your time, money, items and love.

Thank you to all of our sponsors! You guys are so amazing. Everyone one of these companies or individuals were so supportive of the challenge, several even e-mailed me to ask about donating prizes! I can't express how much the support of these individual meant when I was putting this whole thing together.

I have to admit to crying a LOT during reading the comments. And again when I was going through them for the drawings. You all just fill me with such hope.

I've already changed the way I'm shopping. I'm picking up the extra basic on sale and putting it into a box I'll take to the shelter once a month.

 But on to the exciting news of who gets what! There were 221 comments! Totally blows me away. I printed off the comments, threw them in a shopping bag and had Little Bit start drawing! Since there are sooo many I only wrote down the name, and day and time of the comment. Sorry but doing the whole picture thingy for so many is a bit beyond me.
There are 3 no email for the magazine so I'll need you guys to contact me!

The Fat Quarter Shop $50 gift certificate goes to
Sheila Feb 17 908am

1 Choice 4 Quilting  TWO $50 gift certificate go to

Jackie Feb 17th 1056pm
KatieQ March 7, 2011 8:58 PM

Robert Kaufman FQ bundle
Jacqueline March 6, 2011 4:42 PM

Julie of jaybird quilts patterns!
Deon Feb 23 709pm

Rachel of p.s. i quilt  patterns!
momma feb 22 343pm

pinsandneedles Feb 25th 808am
The last piece Feb 10 512 pm

Judi from Green Fairy Quilt  5 of her patterns, winners choice
Melissa Feb 20 817pm
Moda is donating a FQ bundle, a roll of Luna Soy Batting and a "Basic Sewing Notions" Kit!
Pirate Feb 8th 520am

Kelly from I Have A Notion Fast and Free Volume .5 DVD by Patsy Thompson Designs
Jenny Feb 20 7am

 and a Posh Posies Small Quilt Kit by Brewer Sewing and Quilting!
SingleGirlQuilts Feb 22 920PM

Daisy Janie FQ bundle of her brand new organic line, Shades of Grey!!
 Feb 24th 127pm

Marmalade Fabrics $30 gift certificate
Kristy Feb 21 320am
Sandy Feb 23 550ppm

The winners of the Asian Fabric magazines from Kona Fabrics are
Flo@Butterfly Quilting Feb 24 1134AM
Renee Feb 9 208am
tellad Feb 17 1014am -no email
Michelle Feb 23 1211am
Redheadharper Feb 22 4 11pm - no email
Ly + Alan Feb 20 1247 - no email
Jen Feb 20 1247pm
Carla Feb 22 111pm
Vintage and Vogue