Stitch Density on Charity Quilts


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I have been volunteer quilting for an organization for about 6 years and typically do the quilting on about 4 lap sized quilts a month.  I do some pantos but enjoy the creativity of freehand "graffiti " sort of quilting sometimes.  I was surprised and dismayed when one of my quilts was held up as a sample of what NOT to do during one of the  work bee meetings.  They said that the quilting was too dense and that the quilt would be too heavy and stiff for the cancer patients the quilts were destined for.  

 

I felt humiliated to be called out in that manner Here I thought that the creative designs could be traced and enjoyed as the person went through the treatments and that the quilt would be durable through the washings that it would need. I have a personal quilt that I did that sort of freehand quilting and it has been washed and is definitely not stiff and uncomfortable.  I have included a photo of that quilt.                      

I did a search on thread density and the few posts I found backed my assertion that a more densely quilted quilt will withstand wear better as there are more threads to take the strain of bed making, pulling and washing.  I realize that matchstick quilting is not appropriate for a lap quilt and that is not the density I aim for.  The joy and creativity that I used to feel is certainly diminished. While I agree with the aim of comfort for cancer patients, I am feeling like the little kid with the ball and bat that wants to quit the game.

Has anyone else encountered such a complaint?  

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Charmaine - your quilting is beautiful! I applaud you for the love you offer to the cancer patients by doing such a beautiful job. Good for you. I certainly hope that the person in the meeting meant no personal criticism, but was offering guidelines, albeit in a very thoughtless and hurtful way. Please stay the course - I'm sure that the patients see your work and know that someone really cares about them. Try to let the thoughtless person off the hook for her/his comment - and just keep quilting. The people who are comforted by the quilts you have done will enjoy your work no matter what the density is. The love you quilt in brings the comfort.

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Someone said on the forum that people should do fancy quilting on the charity quilts, not some pantograph. I only do pantographs. I have one that is an allover meander. I kind of offended by what  this person said. I have been quilting on a longarm for 22 years and have had lots of comments on how pretty my quilting is. I would think the sick person is so glad someone cares enough to give them the quilt for comfort, They would not even care about the quilting design. Carol

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Charmaine, I love your quilting.  I think that inconsiderate person doesn't know what they were talking about.  I bet they're not a longarm quilter.  Unless there are specific guidelines, for example I've seen special requirements for autism and Alzheimer quilts, there should be no show and tell scolding's.   I don't know why dense quilting would hurt anyone as long as it drapes fine.  I think it would be nice and warm too.  They are lucky to have you participate, please keep on quilting if you enjoy it, the patients will appreciate your work.  Thank you for caring.

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Charmaine I agree with all the above.  I am so sorry you have experienced this.  I'm sure it does make you feel like quitting the game, but please keep on with what you are doing.  I think it is so special and well needed.  You are a very caring person and don't deserve this criticism.  I applaud you for what you are doing.

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Charmaine, your quilting is wonderful! I use my donation quilts as practice projects, so naturally there is a little more quilting on them, and it would never have occurred to me to think it would be too much. I am part of a program that makes preemiequilts, and there the guidelines say that less is more because the quilts have to be light and soft and cuddly for the tiny babies. Makes sense, but I don't see why a cancer patient couldn't deal with a little more quilting. And since unfortunately I have experience in that area too, here is my opinion on that: My friends sent me blocks for comfort before I started chemo, and I put them together to a lap quilt and took it to the chemo room with me every single time. It was quilted a lot because that's the way I like it. It wasn't too stiff, and it kept me warm, it was prettier than the blankets the hospital provided, and it was a great conversation piece.

Keep up your good work, I am sure that the recipients enjoyed your quilting.

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I personally think there is a big misconception in this area by some that dense quilting = a stiff quilt.  I've seen batting choices and unwashed (new) fabric have more of an impact on the drape and softness and cuddliness of finished quilts.  I'm sorry you experienced this.  How unpleasant, to say the least.  

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I totally agree with what others have said and I'm sadden by the scolding.  Kathy (Kwiltr) is right on about the stiffness of a quilt.  I am both a quilter and a chemo recipient  and I disagree with her statement.  Don't let one person's option stop you from doing a wonderful thing.  I would also add you are right in thinking the patient might enjoy following the stitching, chemo treatments can take all day and it's a bit boring, You Go Girl!!!!

And if you need to you tell them Nancy says you don't know what you're talking about!

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I'm sorry your feelings were hurt in this manner. I think I would write a note to the leader of the group expressing your feelings. They need to be aware that doing things like that can cost them volunteers. If they wanted to provide guide lines they could have done so in a much more sensitive way. Since you quilt for the patients and not the person trying to be "all-knowing" please don't quit. Your example looks like a wonderfully cozy quilt that anyone would be happy to cuddle up in. I am sure your work is appreciated by the recipients. 

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Charmaine, the posts saying your quilting is beautiful are entirely correct!  That being said, Carol's quilts with pantos are also lovely gifts.  It really is the thought that counts, and I am sure the recipients feel that way, too. 

The speaker at the work bee was out of line.  Even if the organization believes your work was too much quilting, there are definitely other ways to share that message without hurting your feelings.  I am so very sorry this happened to you, and hope you will feel comfortable continuing your good work.

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Charmaine

I have not been quilting for as long as you, but I believe the individual who made the comment is plane wrong.  I put their comments in the "old wives tale" bin, along with comments like "never use polyester thread on a cotton quilt as it will cut the fabric over time".  While these statements may have been somewhat true in the days of old, I do not believe they hold water at the present time.

Today you can purchase threads in so many different weights and materials.  I find it hard to believe the poor cancer patient will be crushed to death by a full spool of thread, which actually weighs one ounce or 24 grams.  I say one ounce/24 grams, since I just weighed a full and an empty 1000m spool of 40wt Floriana polyester thread and that is what the thread actually weighs.  

I for one would not remain silent, much less feel "humiliated" by their comments.  I would clearly call them out on their inaccurate statements.  Since you quilt 4 quilts a month, I would two quilts and make test examples.  That is to say, I would quilt one lightly as the individual desires.  I would then graffiti quilt the second to death.  Be sure to weight the two quilts before and after they are finished.  Being sure to also weigh the parts you cut off when you are squaring up the quilts.  You want to be sure that every gram of thread or fabric is accounted for, so you know exactly what the quilting thread weighs in both quilts when your done.

Then at the next organization's meeting, be sure to show off the two quilts.  Hopefully you have a show and tell portion at the event.  When you present your treasures to the group, be sure to clearly explain exactly how much the thread in the two quilts weigh.  Then pointedly ask the individual if they could actually feel a two ounce difference spread out over 4 to 2 square feet of fabric?  It is comments like this that turn people off from volunteering their time to organizations, and I am certain that you are not the first individual this person has attempted to publicly shame.  What in heavens name is going to happen if someone sews on a button or two on a quilt top?  The added weight will kill them, never mind the possible chocking hazard if a button come off? Oh, the inhumanity.

Cagey

PS:  I believe your quilt pictures look totally awesome, and I firmly believe the individual in question is purely jealous of your quilting skills and the fact you can pump out 4 quilts a month.

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Charmaine,

I totally agree with everyone here.. your are a precious person that sure didn't need to be blindsided like that!

 Please do NOT let this heartless person take away your love of providing a soft and caring keepsake item that I AM SURE, the recipients really appreciate. 

You know the old saying.. " Do unto others as you want them to do unto you" ?  Well, This person sounds like they get back what they dish out to others and it has turned them into  a super bitter person !

Please Do not give them another thought...

Grab some Fabric and go create something Freeflowing and think happy thoughts, because the person that gets it will really appreciate it in their trying time.

I love your quilting and would definitely be tracing it :) 

Rosemary

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Thank you all so much for your kindness and support.  It means a great deal to know that you understand my reaction to this incident.

I have resolved to keep my eyes and my heart on the aim of supporting cancer patients and to let the negative issues go. I appreciate all the efforts of those who do their best to provide quilts for others that are in need of comfort; with pantos, computers and hand guided.  If our hearts are giving, that is what counts!

I certainly want to get back to my happy place and wish you all happy quilting as well.

 

Charmaine

 

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Hi,

I think the two test pieces is a wonderful idea.......I did a densely quilted quilt that was indeed very stiff......I don't know if it actually was the quilting or the batting that did it.....it did not drape...I unfortunately did not write down the batting that I used....and I know it was a thicker thread....probably king tut......I have a densely quilted practice quilt done which has become soft with repeated washings....so folks....what type of thread and batting do you all use on your soft and flexible quilts?  Just want to learn more here.....keep on donating your quilts though... the quilting is lovely...Linda

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Sewingpup, I have a king sized one on my bed that is Warm and Natural quilted with Glide 40wt Polyester Thread and SID'd with Superior Monopoly.  The others I have are Hobbs 80/20 and Glide as well.  I prewash all my fabric and also wash the quilts when I'm done quilting and binding.  The charity quilts I get to quilt are typically new fabric, not prewashed, with an 80/20 batting and they are so stiff even before the quilting.  

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