You many want to skip this post if you are here looking for pretty quilt photos.
I have thought long and hard about whether or not to “go there” publicly. I am not sure I am ready to lose readers or for the inevitable ugly comments, but here goes -
I am getting damn tired of longarmers being slammed by some machine quilting teachers. (people who teach machine quilting for your home or what longarmers call your domestic machine)
If this were one nationally known, nationally traveling teacher I would write it off as just her insecurities. But so far, THIS year I have heard three such machine quilting teachers make insupportable, blanket statements about longarm quilters.
A short list of what I have personally heard -
“You HAVE to quilt it yourself or it’s not really your quilt.” There are several variations of this – “Are you a quilter or a piecer?” Y’all remember this argument from the “If you don’t hand quilt it, it’s not really a quilt.”
“Longarmers will ruin your quilt.”
“Longarmers are limiting…you don’t have enough choices.” This one just floors me.
“I do not consider longarm quilters to be REAL machine quilters.”
And my personal favorite – “Longarm quilters don’t care about your quilt.”
I am sure there are longarm quilters who have limited choices. I am sure there are longarm quilters who don’t care about your quilt. I am EVEN sure there are longarm quilters that have “ruined” quilts. And if you or any of your quilting friends has experienced any of the above you need to find a different quilter or you need to take a few domestic machine quilting classes from one of the really great machine quilting teachers out there.
In my career as a longarm quilter I have often encouraged my clients to quilt some of their own quilts. I have directed them to a couple of the really terrific machine quilting teachers in the area. I have held consults with clients who “want to quilt this one” themselves, but would like some help deciding what to quilt. I PROMOTE domestic machine quilting classes on my blog.
If these statements were given as opinions ie – I believe that longarm quilters are not really machine quilters. Or I don’t think longarmers care about your quilt, I might be able to stomach them, but they are given as statements of fact; practically proclamations. And I am tired of it.
I will just take on the last one – “Longarm quilters don’t care about your quilt.”
Really? As a group? All of us? First – If you feel your longarm quilter doesn’t care about your quilt you need to find another quilter.
I have personally sweated the details of one quilt or another to the point of not being able to sleep or stomach upset.
We spend time in our studios with most of our clients working to suss out what it is that they want for a particular quilt.
We take expensive classes and travel to other parts of the country to learn new things to offer; hours on the internet and paging through magazines and books and other sources seeking out design inspiration.
We have cringed when a client insists on design (or lack of design) on a fabulous top that we know could be better AND we know it is going out the door with our reputation on it.
If you ever have the opportunity to read ANY of the established longarm quilting forums you will see an awful lot of posts from longarmers sweating the details; asking for design advice and agonizing over quilting customer quilts. To say that we don’t care is insulting and frankly untrue.
Lastly – I believe that most quilters finish their own quilts. Others just don’t care for the quilting part and SOME can no longer quilt their own for various reasons. Are they just supposed to quit? Not do the part that they still can enjoy?
I believe that their is room for every method of piecing, appliqueing, quilting and binding.
And as a teacher, I believe if you have to slam an entire method and the group that performs it you don’t have enough faith in your method.