14.9 A few thoughts on the current trends in quilting

April 4, 2011

I have seemed to hit some nerves lately, just by highlighting a post (or two) about the state of the current trends in quilting.

I hope you all noticed that I didn’t formulate my opinion directly, as I am still sorta chewing on it.

Here are a few of my thoughts so far.


I do know that I wasn’t angered by the post as much as several people were.  I never saw the post as an ‘attack from the quilt police’.

Photo by tradica on flickr

On one hand, it’s the simple, stylish, fast, easy projects that get done.  The precuts are popular for a reason.  They work.

I would sincerely like others to feel the fun of a challenge, but – hey, guess what?  –  Others don’t always find that fun.  It’s not fun to stall out on something that seems too daunting.

And it tends to be those ‘dear jane – mutliple steps, processes, complicated, overly thought out quilts’ that languish in the UFO piles.

Case in point: My Spectra quilt idea, My DNA quilt idea, My Mario Quilt idea

All of which are challenging, not impossible, take a little bit of time to figure and to create, and most of them are stalled at the very beginning stages of the process.

I have seen many, many, many square quilts that I have liked, that I have favorited on flickr.

Boxes are OK, you can do great things with simple blocks set in interesting ways.

Sometimes even the boxes will come around and bite you in the bum. (see previous post at the bottom).


Realistically, there is nothing wrong with squares.

On the other hand, there is my own desire, to make and create.  The fun of the design, the satisfaction of a challenge well completed.

Reaching out and learning something new, trying something new, and inspiring others to try out something new.

The new things in our lives that if we stay afraid to try, we may never know the joys of a ‘job well done.’

And I sit back and I wonder, if we stay afraid, if we’ll ever branch away from our boxes quilts, ever reach out and grab the color combinations that are not popular.

I think about how if you don’t push yourself for the new things, the ‘unpopular things’, the extra things, that you don’t really ever feel like you’re fully developing your style?

And by doing the same thing that everyone else does, you lose the chance to see yourself change, the change to see yourself grow and become better.

I agree that after seeing the same “type of quilt” does get a bit boring as well.  No matter if it is squares, or half square triangles, or black and rainbows.

Too much of a good thing can really burn you out.  Too much ice cream, no matter how good, yummy, and tasty, is never good for you, if you neglect your other foods.


Trends are trends for a reason.  Someone likes them, and then others like them, and people like them.

I sincerely hope that ‘dumbing down’ didn’t mean that we’re actually dumb, because many of the ladies I meet don’t give themselves enough credit for how truly smart they are.

But that the authors were sick of seeing the same old quilts, with the same old sashing, and the same old same old.

A fear that if the more challenging techniques are never featured in magazines, that we’ll lose the desire, and possibly, the ability, to ever create the complicated, time consuming quilts that are currently not as popular.

Going back and teaching new, more complicated techniques, as the first author decided to do, is a step to make sure that won’t happen.

One more point about this thought.  I sincerely don’t think that, with all the kinds of quilters out there, that we’ll ever lose completely those techniques.

There are enough of us out there that do like the more intriguing stuff, that sometimes follow the ‘unbeaten path’, that will help to keep it going.

From my own experiences, science and math, are not popular topics to be blogging about – just starting to follow a few science blogs even makes my own head hurt, thinking about all the technical jargon that gets thrown around.

And there’s a reason that Mythbusters, over the years has dropped the ‘here comes science’ portion of the shows, and have included more ‘blowing things up’.  I do LOVE the show, but even I realize that the production values have gone up, and the science portions have gone down (not completely).

It’s what we happen to like.  I admire a show like Mythbusters to be able to grow and change as it has, but I also miss the struggles shown on tape where they’re trying to locate a pig’s stomach, and show the frustrating process of thinking methodically to be able to locate one.  But watching someone make telephone calls on television makes for boring video.

In my head this relates to the ‘dumbing down’ argument, but I am not really sure if I am connecting all the dots here either.


Forgive me if I completely misinterpreted these two articles, I purposefully did not go back and read them in the last several days just so I wouldn’t be swayed with the exact language that the original authors used.

I also sincerely hope that I did not offend anyone with posting these posts last week. I was glad to see more discussion about it.

One comment

  1. I think what a lot of people are missing about these posts, I’ve seen a few reactions on other blogs, is that the original poster was upset, aggravated, irritated, etc. when she saw a blog post calling a quilt made with some half-square-triangle blocks as intermediate to advanced. For most quilters, I think, that type of quilt would be labeled a beginner project instead of intermediate and above. So, I think, the argument was more about properly labeling the difficulty of a pattern so as not to discourage new quilters.

    I think the conversation is starting to get a little out of hand with the reactions because I’ve seen very few comments that actually relate to what she wrote and instead are reacting very strongly to the validity of quilts with just squares or blocks, which isn’t exactly what she was commenting about. I think it’s headed into a fandom like internet meltdown which is in itself interesting. Are we all part of a “quilting fandom”? Sometimes, it seems that way to me.

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