Where do I fit in the world of quilting?

The last few months I’ve been wrestling with the question of “where do I fit”. It seems like many quilters know their preferred style or method and that’s what they have a reputation for.  Three years of quilting and I have yet to find my place.

Maybe I’m a dabbler?

  • I don’t seem to fit anywhere in particular. My style runs all over the place, somewhat due to my limited budget and fabric stash. I make do with what I have but if I can afford a set of matching fabric from a collection I’ll occasionally splurge.
  • I applique, piece and machine embroider. Improv piecing style is growing on me.  Paper piecing is fast becoming a new addiction. I love quilting my own projects and don’t mind sending the larger ones out to longarmers so they can work their magic faster than I’m able to.
  • I’m rather enjoying being involved with the local Modern Quilt Guild but I don’t consider myself primarily a modern quilter.

What I didn’t like three years ago isn’t necessarily what I don’t like now (with the exception of Civil War prints… I don’t know I’ll ever like those.)

Perhaps quilting for me doesn’t really have a home. I’m more of a quilting nomad, taking the parts I like from different techniques and using them in ways I find pleasing to my own eye.  If I get bored with one area of quilting I’ll pull up my tent stakes and head on out to a new frontier.

Questions for you:

  • Where do you fit?
  • Is it important to you to identify with a certain group?

Comments

  1. Sounds like you are an Avante Guard quilter or an eclectic quilter with a shallow and wide focus. Opposite of a myopic quilter with a deep and narrow focus. Definitely nothing wrong with that. Jack of all trades quilter? Lots of potential labels for you if you are in need of a label. Otherwise, just follow where your rotary cutter leads you.

  2. I think if you box yourself in by saying your this kind of quilter or that kind of quilter you are really doing yourself an injustice. There are so many aspects to quilting why limit yourself? I am currently heavily involved with applique. I never thought I would like that. Also on the Civil war prints first time I saw them I thought ugly. There after finding out I had a relative that fought in it, it got a lot more interesting. Do what you like and love what you do. Life is just too short.

  3. Just a piece of family history – your maternal great, great grandfather (Daddy’s grandfather) fought in the Civil War. I have found information where he applied for a pension from the Confederate Army.

    Just the fact that you are quilting/sewing at all is great to me. It’s an art form that is slowly dying from lack of being taught to the next generation. You are Katie – a very smart and talented young lady who has many skills in different areas. There is NOTHING that you cannot do when you set your mind to do it.

    You are unique – you have your own style with likes/dislikes. Enjoy being the person you are with your uniqueness.

  4. I do not fit in any little notch. I want to give each of my Grand kids something to remember me by. I have an old (it was mine as a child) hanging over our bed, every time I look at it it reminds me of her. It is only a feedbag quilt with 3 inch blocks but it has all the love in the world in it. I want that!!

  5. That’s the great thing about the world of quilting.. You don’t have to specialize in any certain style. It’s all good. After 14 years, I still don’t think I have a unique voice in quilting.. Well, other than being frugal and resourceful. You couldn’t look at my work and say “That’s a Daisy” like you could for Amy Butler, or Kaffe Fassett. I think most quilters are like you and I, we speak from many different points of view depending on where we are at the time. Just keep creating.

  6. I’m with VeryLazyDaisy, you don’t need to specialize in any certain style. I dabble in a lot of areas like you. I enjoy all of them. And I think that is what it’s about, enjoying what you do no matter what. Life is so short. Just keep creating and have fun.

  7. I don’t think you should worry about where you fit or don’t fit, there’s no quilt police after you who will lock you up if you can’t answer the question. The most important part is that you enjoy what you’re doing. You always come up with new things and are not afraid to share which is great! And the fact that you’re not only a piecer, but you also do applique and embroidery is making you universal. Keep up the great work and quit worrying about things that don’t really matter.

  8. I have no idea where I fit in. I am all over the place. I have a Civil war fabric collection and have a modern fabric collection. Sometimes I fell out of it when reading other’s blogs. Just be yourself I guess, and do what you like. I have been trying new things and if I don’t like a style, I donate the blocks or tops.

  9. I’m the same way, Katie. I hesitated joining the Modern Quilt Guild, because I don’t see myself as a modern quilter, but I like the people and they seem to have accepted me, so what the heck!

  10. That is the beauty of our wonderful hobby of quilting…you can change to whatever fits your mood or style at the moment and the funny thing is your tastes and interests change as you go. I was a huge Thimbleberries fan for a long time and now I guess I am just burned out on them and love the bright fun colors. Some days I love to just sit and do hand embroidery and others I only want to machine embroider. It’s so versatile and I think that’s why I don’t get bored with quilting like I have with other things.

    And “frankly my dear” I am shocked that you don’t like Civil War prints as you are a super huge fellow Gone With the Wind fan!! Well “tomorrow is another day!” LOL

  11. Great question Katie. I am all over the place and for the most part I like it that way. Always more to learn, try and grow. Things I didn’t think I would ever like, I am now trying and liking. And while at this moment I am not an applique or Kaffe Fassett fan, someday I expect something will change and I will give both a try. Enjoy the process.

  12. The variety of techniques and styles that you try are what makes your podcasts and blog posts so interesting, so, I hope you don’t settle into a specific look. Some quilters have an identifiable look, and I’m sure that makes it easy to produce a lot, but it becomes a little too predictable for my taste.

  13. I’m a dabbler, it’s all still quite new to me so I’m trying out as many different techniques and aspects across all areas of quilting as I can (: its not always quilts either. That’s just every day me though, I like to try lots of different things and not be tied down to any one thing. The one constant is I read/research/procrastinate across them all!

  14. I think most quilters/crafters feel this way. I know I do. I love all things quilty and crafty for that matter and my tastes are ever changing. I love the modern stuff, but not only that. I would say I’m a traditionally modern contemporary quilter, lol. Your an artist, so do what you love:) Love your work by the way….and who wouldn’t love those dogs!

  15. I don’t like to limit myself to any particular category either. I have a hard time identifying myself as a quilter, sometimes, because I feel like I’m denying the crochet-er, the painter, the seamstress, the crafter… I create things. Fabric is just one medium. It doesn’t define me as a creative person. I just love to make stuff in all kinds of mediums and in whatever style suits my current creative vision. 🙂

  16. I’m with majority view, a little bit of everything while I learn this wonderful craft. Being so new to everything seems possible , with practice and the desire to do it well. Once I would have looked at a project and said to myself there is no way I will ever have the skill to do that but that is underselling myself because I know I am capable if I would only take the time to go slowly and learn the basics first. I think I shall try many forms of quilting and art quilting in the years ahead, even if it is only to say ” I gave it a go, it’s not what I want to continue with though” Right now I am trying to improve my applique skills, I used to avoid satin stitch like the plague but having had some lessons from a lovely quilter friend I am now enjoying the challenge and looking for ideas to make up a project soon. I do know that there are quilters who have found their niche and are happy to work within that sphere but they too probably have tried multiple aspects of quilting and may well move to something else in the future. I agree with your Mother Katie, you are a very very talented stitcher and will always do well with any challenge you set yourself.

  17. I spend most of my time doing art quilts with a variety of fabrics and techniques. I also am privilaged and humbled to be teaching 2 to 3 fiber class for guilds and quilt shops each month. I sell my work in galleries. Thus said I enjoy making traditonal pieced and appliqued quilts and always have one in progress Thanks for asking, Shelly Beth

  18. I don`t strive for a particular style, so I do what pleases me. I learn as much as I can. My stash is not very large and I like that because I have to be more creative.

    Your mom`s comment was great! She`s right!

  19. Carol McD says:

    I hate labels – you are who you are at this moment. That’s it.

  20. i am like you katie, unable to decide what style i love the best. i have been quilting a lot longer than you and am much older and i still have no particular style. i love it all. it depends for me, on what and for whom i’m making something. i do love scrappy quilts and i spy quilts, but i make them out of all sorts of styles……..denim, batiks, 30’s,traditional, brights. you name it i’ve made it and loved it. the biggest problem i have with this is that i feel i spend much more money than normal to feed my habit because I LOVE IT ALL!!!! i don’t feel i need to belong to one or two “styles” and never have. so katie, dear, good luck to you! quilty hugs, nancyb

  21. I don’t think I fit anywhere and I don’t really care. I hate the fact that you have to set yourself up as modern, or traditional, or art quilter. I do all three. I like all three. But I will not put myself in one mold and stay there. It’s okay to do all. It’s okay to go your own way. There doesn’t need to be any one style you need to stick with.

  22. I’m not going to try to put a name on what kind of a quilter I am. I do whatever techniques interest me, and try new styles whenever one tickles my fancy. Being able to move from paper piecing (a huge love of mine) to wool applique (hand stitching) to thread painting to free-motion quilting and back to basic quilting makes me happy. We need to do what makes us happy, and it makes me very happy to know that there are others who feel the same way!

  23. Laura C says:

    I don’t have a specific voice myself. I like being able to have the movement of creating anything from anything at anytime. And much like my life I don’t want to get trap or “label” as this particular quilter. Sorta like some of my favorite actors I can’t stand to see them type as a certain type cast and yet when they try to break in to something else it is almost ridicule for “how dare” or they suck.

  24. I felt the same way for a long time – actually, up until very recently, I was so scattered in tastes and style that one wouldn’t think all of the wips (I so rarely have a finish… sigh…) were from different people!

    But now I consider myself someone that does applique, prefers to freezer paper paper-piece instead of piece, and I am also becoming a seamstress! So I guess my techniques and output remain varied – but they do ‘look’ like I made them… You know what I mean?

  25. I Quilt Scarlet and Gray, at least that is what I’m known for!! I have machine pieced a number of Scarlet and Gray quilts in the past 7 years, after all what else would the best fan of The Ohio State University do? Lately I have been doing a number of paper piecing projects and that has caused me to expand my color choices. I also recently bought a Pfaff Creative 2.0 embroidery machine, that is how I found Katie, so I hope to be adding embroidery to my projects and quilting some of my small projects myself. I consider myself more of a traditional quilter that uses modern tools like EQ7and acrylic templates.

  26. You fit in the world of quilting — there is no reason to fit in one particular niche. Truthfully, I think those who fit in a niche are the exception rather than the rule. So explore and change and enjoy. As pretty much everyone else has said in one way or another, labels can be limiting, so why limit yourself unnecessarily?

  27. I’ve never considered where I “fit,” but that’s probably because I’m not involved in any guilds or anything and I guess I’m kind of out there on my own in quilt-land. I make what I like, so lots of happy colors, but other than that? Quilting should be done because you enjoy spending time on it, so it’s probably best to forego the labels and expectations and go for what makes you smile, IMO 🙂

  28. Quilting is a very interesting area of “sewing”, when I was young I did not like sewing at all, I would sooner “crochet or knit”……however now I am enjoying making” baby quilts, lap quilts and bed quilts”. For myself I enjoy choosing the design even before I go through my stash. Quilting can take us in so many different directions which makes quilting for me a wonderful place to “wander”…never knowing what I want to try next. I say Katie enjoy going in as many directions as you like because with each quilt you are learning and enjoying the process.