Monday, April 04, 2011

dumbing down?

I've been reading post after post about the dumbing down of quilting.

Are triangles really so scary? I swear, I'm missing something here. What is so daunting about just cutting triangles and sewing them together? Measuring that 7/8" isn't my favorite thing ever, but the bias just doesn't seem like that big a deal.

My very first quilt had triangles because I apparently didn't know they were supposed to be intimidating.



What bugs me isn't when quilters choose not to do a technique because they have no interest in it, or after they've tried it and decided it's not for them. It's when quilters want to try something and other quilters discourage them.

My mother has wanted to learn paper piecing for years, but early on a quilting friend told her never to bother because it was way too hard and not worth the trouble. My twelve year old has learned to paper piece from another quilting friend, but I don't know what it will take for Mom to work up the nerve to give it a try.

My best friend, who had only made three very basic quilts at the time, was looking through a pattern book and absolutely fell in love with the improved nine patch pattern. (similar pattern here, but my friend's didn't have the straight edges to make it easier) She wanted to make it for her husband. Her quilting friend told her that even experienced quilters didn't do curved piecing anymore.

My friend did make her quilt, which is an absolute heirloom. Apparently, I taught her to piece the curves by reading directions to her over the phone and cutting out some pieces and trying it myself to convince her that they'd fit together. Did I mention that I didn't know how to piece curves either at the time?

I wonder how much of this dumbing down comes from quilters telling other quilters that certain things are too hard, or too much hassle.

1 comment:

Helen in the UK said...

Your post got me thinking and my first few quilts all contained triangles and I learnt how to quilt from books! My first class was in paper-piecing and it wasn't long before I was altering and drafting my own patterns for that too!! If you aren't told it is 'too difficult' you can often find a way to learn stuff even without a face-to-face teacher :)

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