September 28th, 2013 by Jan

I was happy to get away for a few hours and go to a quilt show at the church near dad’s house today. If I remember correctly, it was held last year at this same time, so I guess it is the local quilt guilds yearly show.

As I strolled around admiring the over 200 quilts on display, many caught my eye with the New Mexico theme they held. The work piecing some of these was to be respected. I even took photos of my favourites in order to spark ideas for any future quilts I might want to make.

Then as I continued to browse I had this odd sense of grief come over me, as I realized that not one quilt on displayed had been hand quilted.

Every quilt, even the small wall hangings, had been quilted by a machine.

Technology prevails, and hand-quilting, like type setting, has gone the way of the dinosaur.

Now, I confess several of the many quilts I’ve created have been machine quilted and I love them. My friend Jo Baner is a professional and did an amazing job with each. They are beautiful, unique, and lovely works of art. Jo is a talent, with a creative eye and uses a long arm machine, sometimes free handed, to make each quilt incredible.

Still, I felt a huge sense of loss as I looked at quilt after quilt at this particular show. All beautifully pieced together and no two designs the same, but for me, the machine quilting took away from the pieces and after a while they all started to look the same.

Don’t get me wrong, they were lovely. My guess is that, in this small town there are not a lot of machine quilters to choose from, so almost everyone had the same simple pattern used for the quilting. And, although each quilt was different in colour, size and design, they actually became boring to look at.

Maybe it’s me. Maybe it was the mood I was in — but, I felt a sense of loss for the art. I know when I left the show, I was more resolved than ever, to continue to hand-quilt.

Sure, hand-quilted quilts don’t have the polished, professional, quality that machine quilting provides, but even with my somewhat sloppy and uneven stitches, I prefer the hand-quilted story.

I liken this to reading a classic novel on an iPad when you could turn the pages of a hard bound book. Both have their place, yet very different feels. I left the show feeling I missed when the page turned on hand quilting and I walked backed to dad’s house feeling a little sad.

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