As I anticipate the upcoming Beginner’s Sampler class this week, I am reminded of the misconceptions and misunderstandings surrounding quilting.
One common misconception is that quilting is an outdated craft, primarily practiced by grandmothers. While it is true that quilting has been around for a while, it is far from outdated. According to the February 2022 Quilter’s Survey, which received over 1 million responses, the average quilter is a retired woman in her 60s who has been quilting for 10 or more years. However, this does not mean that quilting is exclusively practiced by this demographic. Younger quilters are taking up this hobby, as evidenced by the numerous online quilting communities and social media groups. In fact, the survey predicts that quilting will become a $5 billion business by 2026-2027.
Another misconception is that quilting is a time-consuming and difficult skill to learn. While it is true that quilting requires attention to detail, there are many beginner-friendly patterns and techniques to make the learning process easier. Practice makes perfect, and learning from a skilled master can be extremely beneficial. In my class, I outline the process and steps that gradually increase confidence and skill levels. Once the basics are mastered, the amount of time required for a project varies depending on its complexity. However, more importantly, quilting becomes an enjoyable and relaxing experience.
The third misconception I wish to address is the belief that there are “Quilt Police” out there. This phrase is usually used in jest because there are no uniformed or badged individuals, force, or team that “police” how quilting is done. This fictional character came about because some quilters feel overwhelmed by the rules of the craft. However, I prefer to use the term “guidelines” instead of “rules.” These guidelines, such as using a consistent seam allowance, pressing seams in a particular direction, and choosing complementary fabrics, are in place to help the maker achieve the best results. However, it is important to remember that quilt making allows for personal expression, and variations of standards are how new techniques and designs are developed. I encourage self-expression while also teaching the skills and reasons behind the standards. Understanding these guidelines and being able to execute them gives the quilter a deeper understanding to help develop their own personal style.
While I want everyone to excel in the love of quilting, there will still be passionate individuals who may express their opinions of right vs. wrong or point out non-adherence to certain ideas. It is important not to despair in these situations. Instead, smile, acknowledge their statement, and state that it is your artistic difference. Deviating from traditional guidelines is okay if that is what feels right for you. So, learn what you can, find your spot, and enjoy the process!
You can see the full survey results here: