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Please Use My Quilts

Last week I enjoyed seeing many beautiful show quality quilts. Quilts by Joe Cunningham, Susan Cleveland, and Barbara Olson, they were inspiring. The detail. The quilting. WOW!!! I was in awe at the amazing talent. And while these show stopping quilts impress me no end. For better or worse they are not the quilts I make. 

I have only enter a quilt in a show once. The only good thing the judges had to say about it was that I am good with color. And while their critique did not discourage me. I won’t be entering anymore quilts in shows. I’m just not that kind of quilter. 

 I’m quick and dirty. Some of my friends, mostly those who don’t quilt think I’m disparaging myself. I’m not. I know the quality of my work while wonderful to the novice would have the quilt police all over me. Good thing I can out run the quilt police.  Or at least avoid them. I’m the quilter that believes there are no rules in quilting only guidelines.

 My quilts are more utilitarian. I want them used. They go on picnics and to football games. I want them to become blakies and snugly, cuddly things. I want them used to swaddle babies. I want children to use them for walls in their tents and forts.

I want teenagers to huddle under them at campfires and movies.   

To be a place where newly weds make love and  toddlers crawl between sleepy parents.

 I want them to become thread bare and patched, full of memories, comfort and love.

Let those with far more patience than me make show quilts.  I’ll take my imperfect, quick and dirty quilts and share them with those I love.


  • Norece says:

    That's exactly how I feel about the quilts I make. To me the quilts in this post are gorgeous! Simple scrappy quilts make my heart sing. Thanks for this post and I hope others that read it realize that the quilt police are only a fraction of the wonderful quilters in our amazing community. And not to pay any attention to them.

  • Robby says:

    I am firmly in your camp. I think "everyday art" adds more beauty and joy to life than the fancy pants art gallery stuff. Or at least, to my life. I enjoy looking at those show pieces, too, but my joy is in creating for people I love, and those who need to know there are people in the world that care about them.

  • Wendy Caton Reed says:

    Your quilts are wonderful and I too want people to use the quilts I give them. I also enter quilts in shows, because I like to see what other quilters are doing so I feel they might enjoy seeing mine. I am lucky though because our state show has a "judged" section and a "non judged" section. I really love shows like this as it encourages everyone to participate. Thanks for sharing!

  • June says:

    Used, but not abused, eh? I whole-heartedly agree with you.

  • Sarah says:

    Thanks for saying this out loud! I'm right there with you–in fact, I'd go so far to say that if I didn't quilt the way you described, I wouldn't be able to quilt at all. I use scraps of time to quilt–it's gotta be quick and dirty–and I'm also fighting my own perfectionism, so I straight up make it a goal *not* to be perfect! Beautiful quilts to use, yes!

  • acoelke says:

    I do enter some local shows–will likely never produce anything that will go to a major show. I enjoy seeing and being inspired by others work at shows, and figure I can contribute some "eye candy" that may perhaps inspire or encourage others.

  • Unknown says:

    I have to agree with you, PLEASE use my quilts. I don't care if it's a fairly easy pattern and quickly quilted or a quilt I put a lot of $, time, and labor into, I want it used and loved. A quilted wrapped up and stored for a generation, unused, has no sentimental value to the next generation. It's the life it shared with the people who used it that gives it its value to those inheriting it.

  • Karb328 says:

    My sentiments exactly, and by the way your quilts are great!

  • Linda Smith says:

    I know, right? My husband, who tolerates my sewing but does not understand tells people I am an "expert quilter" when I correct him to say I am an Advanced Beginner, he thinks I am being coy. And he is always saying they are "too pretty" to be used. Wrong again!! You guys get it. I will make him read this post. It explains it perfectly. Thank you. And thank you for helping to fill the world with hand made beauty.

  • Val's Creative Life says:

    Three cheers to imperfection!! Enjoyed your post and glad to know I'm not alone!

  • Angie in SoCal says:

    Well said. There are a lot of us quilters who feel the same. Can't say how many times I have been disappointed when parents of a new baby put the quilt on the wall instead of on the floor for baby to play on.

  • Cathy says:

    I totally agree! You are my kind of quilter! Carry on!

  • Karen - Quilts...etc. says:

    love your quilts – I enter the local county fair 2 years running 20 years ago and whereas I did get ribbons and a best of show I decided long ago I wasn't made for entering shows – I have been quilting for many years but after examining quilt show quilts I know the quilt police would still be all over me and as a hand quilter there is barely no way to compete with the machine quilters now who usually take the prizes – do you know they measure and count the stitches on hand quilted quilts and they have to be perfect – no way I'm I wasting my time counting stitches and measuring them to all be the same size – I have more to do with my life than that!

  • julieQ says:

    Here, here!! I want all of that too! About the quilt show thing…I entered two quilts in a show once, and just happened to be a quilt show scribe…I heard the judge say about my quilt, "It is covered with cat hair!" I don't own a cat, and I never could see a speck of anything on the quilt!…and the other quilt won a third prize, because they did not give a first or second. Hmmmm…I guess the quilt police would have a fit over my quilts too!

  • straythreads says:

    Im with you on using quilts to turn them into keepsakes. I gave my youngest niece a quilt when she was born. Sil does not have an appreciation so it was never unfolded niece wanted to look at it recently she is 8 now anyway sil noticed that I did not sew a label on it like the other nieces.
    Have a great week

  • audrey says:

    Loved this post. While I do enter quilts occasionally in a show, it's only the one that don't actually fill out a critique form! I love and adore when my quilts get used, no matter how much work there is in them. Like you, I am good with imperfection and am more thrilled with the end result than pleasing the quilt police.:) Because I do a lot of hand applique and hand quilting I do try to be very choosy who gets the quilts that have the most hours logged in because while I want the quilts to be well loved, I can't handle straight up abuse! lol Glad to read this post today!

  • cityquilter grace says:

    i am no blue ribbon quilter either and i make no apologies either…i do this for fun and que sera sera…glad to be in the same category as you…and btw, your quilts are gorgeous and will be loved, maybe more than a blue ribbon one..

  • Louise says:

    Sing it, sister! I couldn't have said it better myself.

  • a Matula ikrek says:

    So perfectly true! Quilts are for use! Our very first quilt was a bed cover, wedding gift to our older brother (we were 17, he was 20 then). It was made of about 12 inches simple squares, very plain diagonal layout, with some mismatching pieces in it and still it was loved and used until it fell into pieces and rags.

  • Helen in the UK says:

    Here, here 😀

  • Vicki in MN says:

    Totally agree with all you said, use them and love them. Yes I like looking at all the others too and appreciate the work involved.

  • Quiltdivajulie says:

    Totally with you — quilts are made to be used.

  • Lynn says:

    Like your post today! I always enjoy seeing your quilts. They may be utilitarian but they are so pleasing and unique they make me smile whenever I see them!

  • April says:

    this is fabulous!!! I feel the same way. Thank you for this post!!

  • Lindah says:

    Amen! And enjoy the process.

  • moosecraft says:

    Amen to THAT! Now let's all grab some fabrics, nlow the lint out of those sewing machines and get stitching!!! 🙂 Have a loverly weekend!

  • Soma @ whimsandfancies.com says:

    I feel the same way too. I don't like to enter in competitions. Ever! As far as I am concerned, hobbies are supposed to be fun and relaxing. Competition takes that away from me. Love your quilts 🙂


  • Kristi says:

    This is so beautiful! Most of my quilts I actually give away. It makes me happy just to make them, I'm so pleased that I can bless someone else!

  • ES says:

    I once read comment after comment from quilters saying things like 'they let a cat sleep on it!' and they were raging, so angry! I can't think where I was when I read that (a forum I suppose). They were so upset and so rude! I felt quite shaken to read the comments, I just felt upset and wondered why they gave their quilts as gifts if they felt the quilt was supposed to be precious. It's a relief to read lots of comments here about quilts being made to be used!

    If I don't absolutely have to measure, then I don't! I surprise myself sometimes with what can be achieved without measuring!!

  • Ranch Wife says:

    Amen! So many quilts I see are works of art and that's wonderful, but I'm more of a work of 'heart' quilter. I make quilts for the same reason you do, I tell the recipients to use the quilts I give and I will make them another if they wear it out.

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