7.8 Podcast Episode – Get out of Jail Free

August 23, 2010

Podcast Feed

Warning: Police Siren heard in this episode.  Pay attention if you listen when you’re driving.  If the siren doesn’t go away quickly, it’s an actual police siren.  Be aware!

Rules Rules Rules

Words organized and originally colored by Wordle

How are you at following quilting rules?  Do you like the rules or follow them?  Does the quilt police constantly put you in jail?

Some Examples of Quilting Rules

  • Pressing Rules
  • Cutting Rules
  • Seam allowance Rules
  • Prewashing your fabric Rules

What defines a quilt?

There could be varying answers in all the rules you gather from everyone.  It’s a matter of personal style.  Quilting rules are your own set of rules that you have to organize, follow, understand and try to help you express your personal style through your quilting.

Places for tips/guidelines/rules. 

Beginning quilting resources:

Online Resources for Quilting

  • Sharon Shamber (not Sharon Shamburg- oops!) Network videos
  • Google! 
  • YouTube!
  • Blogs

Integrating personal style to create quilts that everyone likes.

Use design principles and techniques to create the quilt that you want to create.

Juried quilt shows have criteria for letting your quilt in.  Would you expect them to let everyone in?

Sometimes ‘poor technique’ is valuable when it is quilting done by children learning how to quilt with doll quilts, for example.

As an attendee, I expect to see a good quality quilt when I attend a show.  What makes a good quilt may have to do with design, color, shape, movement, or even story.  Not always what you expect.

Following and being consistent with a style within one quilt will help make a quilt successful.  If your quilt style follows the style of a traditional pieced block quilt, the quilt should be the best traditional pieced block quilt that you can make. 

If you put an applique quilt in a pieced block only show, don’t expect to be disappointed if the quilt doesn’t make it into the pieced show.  Perhaps it is the best applique quilt ever made!  Don’t get discouraged.

Cultural areas define what the quilting rules are.  In Southeast Asia there are different types of quilts than there are here in the states.  This reflects our different styles and what may be considered okay here may be a rule against quilting there, or vice versa.

Sometimes by attending a show, you can expand your own ‘quilting rules’ based on successful quilts that you see in the right context, you can see how to correctly apply things you have not been able to do.  This will allow you to have more techniques that you have never imagined.

Image from flickr by  u-murrayhusted

Sometimes to learn a rule you have to organize it or work on it.  Sometimes if you know why someone makes a rule to create a technique correctly, you can understand how and why to apply it to your own quilt.

 Quiltzillas and Quilt Police show up when they don’t explain why you’re doing something ‘wrong’, or doing a technique they can aesthetically see differently than you.  They might not realize their tone is annoying to you, but can come from genuine concern for helping you create a good-looking quilt.

Be careful when sharing blocks in swaps or making group quilts.  By doing the same as everyone else, you ensure less frustration for everyone involved later.  Communicating your group expectations is key to keeping feelings in check and not coming across as a quiltzilla.  And if things don’t go right, you can always use completed blocks for other things!

Looking out for your quilting requires constant vigilance!

Image from flickr by garryknight

Self Determination keeps us antsy when we feel like we have no control with quilting rules.  If other people always tell you what to do, you don’t feel like doing it anymore.  Just ask a teenager who has to clean their room.

Quilting rules are guidelines to help you produce the best version of your quilt that you can make.

In science there are rules and operating procedures.  By asking why the procedures are in place, you begin to think like a scientist and be creative and curious.

Safety is a must, so make sure safety rules are always followed for your sake and for the sake of others!

Don’t forget, in math, there are several different ways to get to the same answer as long as you follow the algorithms correctly.  Don’t discredit your answer if you arrive there at a different way than you expected. 

Think similarly in quilting and you may be feeling like you can get out of jail free!

Additional Information

Additional Music and Sounds

Molly (herself)

From freesound.org

From Mevio’s Music Alley

(Left off the outro music).  E-mail me at scientificquilter (at) gmail (dot) com

Come by the blog (here you are!)

Stop by the Big Tent at Quiltcast Supergroup to be a part of our community!


  1. DARLA,

    YOU got me in big trouble I went to Amozon to look at your recommendations, I bought them and several other books. ( Hee Hee, like I need help buying more books.) I enjoyed your podcast. Your podcast usually get me to think about my quilting in a different venue. I have been in several of the situations you discribed as the “recipent of unwanted advise” and as the so called quilt police. Sometimes I can be very receptive to advice and sometimes I tell the quilt police where to go. NOT ALWAYS NICELY. I guess it depends upon who/ and how they deliver their opionions.

    MY FAVORITE Quilt Police “story,” was when a fellow quilter from my group haranged me about a quilt I was making telling me it was all wrong… color, style, execution. She (QP) wanted me to have HER teach me how to make my blocks and use her methods. All of our completed quilts went into the local quilt show/exhibit. (Non juried.) We did have a “guest” judge give cretiques on quilts (upon request of the quilter.) I not only won VIEWER CHOICE from the audience at the quilt show. I got a nice cretique for my quilt from the guest judge.

    I heard (from my friends) that QP got a technically well produced quilt but her color selections needed to be punched up. I think QP met super cop.

    As for the number of your pod cast… STOP BEATING YOURSELF UP…. Number one LIFE HAPPENS and you only have 24 hours to every day…. Being on the computer / pod casting gets in the way of quilting. You usually have a deeper content that requires thought and research into your topics. I perfer quilt related information then to ramble on and on and on about off topic issues I do not care about in the first place.

    P.S. …. I like your dresser … as long as YOU like it and it fits into your home decore… that is what counts.


    YOU have added some cute sound effects to your podcast. Loved them.


  2. Darla, you crack me up! jill953

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