Christa’s Soapbox – Faster Doesn’t Always Mean Better

Since attending QuiltCon last month, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to quality versus quantity. As a shop owner, I feel a certain drive to sell as much fabric as possible, as quickly as possible, to support my family.

Busy Hands Quilting

Busy Hands Quilting

This means attendingallthestradehows and makingallthequiltkits and meetingnewdesigners and findingasmanyfunnewpatterns as I can.

This can lead to quite a hectic life at a frenetic pace, with not as much time for personal fulfillment.

My hands are so busy with so many things, that, as a quilter, there’s a part of me that needs to slow…..things….. down!

Baby Girl QuiltI have been contemplating what I feel is turning into the fast-food-ization of quilting. We all love to sew and complete a project, but how much of the creative process is being lost in the rush to get things finished?

Yes, I know there’s a time and a place for the last minute baby shower quilt or Christmas present.

But the rest of the year, why don’t we focus on making quality quilts, whether or not they can be completed in a day?

The workmanship at QuiltCon, Road to California, and other top-notch shows inspires me to make good quality work and to hopefully share more of that with you.

Hugs 'N Kisses

Hugs ‘N Kisses

If you have followed along with any of my Quilt Alongs from the beginning, you will notice that I have started adding more tutorials over a longer period of time.

This is a project I have committed to doing on a long-term basis so that I can inspire you to make a quilt from start to finish. My joy is full when I see more of you completing your own quilts!

Although I will still be offering quilt kits for many of them as a convenience, starting this week you will begin to notice more customization and tips on how to truly make it your own.

Going forward, Jason and I have big plans to not only expand our store, but to get back to the roots of what attracted me to quilting in the first place: making a unique hand-crafted work of art!

Christa Quilts!

Christa Quilts!

28 thoughts on “Christa’s Soapbox – Faster Doesn’t Always Mean Better

  1. Rachell R says:

    hi! nice to meet you! I found you on Happy Quilting Melissa.
    that cute baby quilt is so my style….and I adore the moon and star motifs….I use that one a lot in my baby quilts.
    After looking around on your store, I think Melissa is lucky to have you as a sponsor! I don’t know what it takes to get a sponsor, but it sounds like fun. Sometimes I feel held back by getting just enough fabric from project to project, and trying to use what I already have, and sometimes needing to get more. I hate running out of fabrics I love.

  2. Sarah says:

    I completely agree with the quickening pace and fast finishing feeling of quilting, particularly if you’re just a topper who sends out all quilting to long armers. I didn’t realise I felt like this. You’ve verbalised it for me. I think participating in the blogging community adds to the feeling, ie I wanna make this and this and that. Not to say I don’t love all the ideas though! This year I’ve pledged to quilt more of my own tops, and I’ve had to slow down the production line coz I’m working more.

  3. Darlene DeSando Crosby says:

    I am new to quilting, and enjoy buying fabric from you. I lost my 23 yr old daughter Dec. 26th. She was always telling me not to work so much, and take time for myself. I have taken her advice, and set aside time for piecing my quilts, which I enjoy so much! I have three wonderful grandsons (my Son’s children) and I have finished a quilt for each one of them. I never did get one made for Amber, but she knows I had bought the fabric. Thank you for the Mystery Quilts, the information, and the good buys. I enjoy being a part of it.

  4. Jess says:

    I’m pretty new to quilting (I think I finished my first quilt one year ago), but I have to say I agree. I certainly want to finish my projects since you can’t cuddle under an incomplete quilt, but I also really enjoy the creative process. I actually have only one used one pattern so far (retro flowers) as I really enjoy figuring it out and piecing as I go. I would love to have a house full of quilts and bust them all out quickly, but in the end, I’d rather have just a few that I really, truly love and made well – or as good as I can at the moment with my skill set. Of course, with all the beautiful fabrics out there, the list in my head gets made far faster than the quilts, but I guess that’s life.

  5. Vicki Louise says:

    Thank you Christa. I really appreciate your decision to slow down and smell the roses (or the fabric)! You are a marvelous quilter and shop owner and your posts are thought provoking. I am a newer quilter myself and love your simple designs and quilt ideas, but I can’t
    keep up. I savor each quilt I make and I’m glad to hear that you are going in that direction too.

  6. danih03 says:

    I agree. Life is so fast it’s exhausting! There is never enough time t do what you need or want to do. You gotta make room for yourself, or you will go crazy….at least I will;)

  7. Lorna McMahon says:

    Once again, Christa…. You are sew right. And just wanted to thank you for all the great pics from Quilt Con that you shared on your blog. I have a friend from Texas who now resides up here in Ontario, Canada. I shared with him the photo you took of the Texas quilt and he loved it. Incidentally, it was on the day of Texas’ 177th birthday!

  8. maia butler says:

    Fully agree with the comments made- especially about ‘the get it done quick’ mentality. Unfortunately for quilt shop owners I have only made one quilt kit type of quilt -it used a jelly roll. When I finished the top I realised that there was no ‘me’ in the quilt.Many sewers are afraid of their own colour sense and go for kits but they are mising out on the challenge and satisfaction.
    On a different note- Christa I want your sewing table!!!! First time I have seen a photo of one like this. Please tell us more about it. Maia in Australia

    • Christa says:

      Thanks Maia! I offer jelly roll kits myself, but with my quilt alongs I’m going to be showing how you can change them up, even with all of the same fabric.

      I purchased my quilting table years ago from the dealer when I bought my sewing machine. It’s made out of inexpensive particle board with a cutout to fit my specific machine. Can’t remember the brand now though 😦

  9. 8machines says:

    I think doing your special quilts will be wonderful. I take 6 days to work, sew, and clean, but the 7th day is for my Lord. I read and study Gods word, go for a walk, and to church. It is restful and rewarding.

  10. Claire Desrochers says:

    Absolutely agree with you and your feelings on this. My love of quilting is based on the fact that it forces me to slow down, be patient, enjoy every moment of the process and continue to grow in terms of ability and to be exposed to new ideas/people and thus expand my horizons.
    I would never consider sending my quilt out to be quilted – I fail to understand that choice as then the quilt is no longer “yours” or your own creation. I make a quilt first and foremost to have handcrafted a unique item. Certainly my quilting skills are rudimentary and full of errors but the quilt is mine, all mine and the feeling of accomplishment and pride that comes from that can’t be duplicated.
    I don’t have a fancy machine and can’t make large quilts as it would be more than I could handle physically so I do have some logistical limitations but certainly there are no artistic ones and to me, that’s what counts the most.
    Personally, I choose to support shops like yours as much as possible as you personally and your shop reflect my values when it comes to quilting.

    • Christa says:

      Thanks Clarie! That’s one of the purposes of the quilt alongs on my blog – to teach people that they truly can make their own quilts from start to finish. I really love the focus in modern quilting on doing it yourself and making it your own. 🙂

  11. Rosemary says:

    Joined your Flicker group (I hope … I tried … I’m sure). I have to agree with you on your soapbox. I’m almost 76 and for the last couple of years, I’ve been saying I really have to hurry. So many quilts, so little time but that’s not so. I want to leave behind quilts that will last for generations. That’s only going to happen if I take the time to make quality quilts. I’ve always been a perfectionist but quilting has taught me to enjoy what I’m doing and if it isn’t perfect, the world will not end … honest! I still have to make it as perfect as I can though. Darn! Hard to totally change 75 years in a few months. Keep up the great work. I love your tutorials!! (AND your honesty.)

  12. Maria do Carmo says:

    Durante dez anos eu fui frenética para tudo que foi costurado na minha casa,o dinheiro era o que eu queria e ponto.Fui me frustrando e comecei com hexi e mais papeis,alguma coisa aplicada lentamente e me senti de novo criativa.Agora peço três meses de prazo para entrega de uma colcha ,, faço com mais carinho e atenção,e o rendimento é quase o mesmo só que sem “pressão”.Aprendi a me valorizar e o meu trabalho também.Parabéns por contar,este é um assunto que interessa a todos.Bençãos.

  13. Evelyn H. says:

    I so agree! I see many shortcuts out there that I refuse to use because I’m not in that much of a hurry. Quilting is my de-stresser and there is usually no reason to get-it-done-now. Glad to hear you’re feeling the same way. How can one enjoy our passion if always done in a hurry?

  14. mary says:

    I attended Quilt Con and the workmanship most of the quilts were great…however, there were many quilts with poor workmanship, sloppy piecing and wavy long sides….I understand the need for speed but one has to slow down, measure and make sure the quilts are flat – I know this sounds picky but it took me a long time to realize you cannot slap borders on quilts – so I hope the modern movement considers quality overall workmanship and not just the visual impact – just my personal thoughts so I hope I do not suffer any comments as a result.

    • Christa says:

      Thanks for your opinion Mary! The one nice thing I have noticed with the Modern quilts I like and the blogs I follow is a focus on quality. The gals making modern quilts still have roots in tradition and workmanship. My favorite thing that one of the QuiltCon lecture speakers said, is that the modern movement is still about good fundamentals of sewing, even when making a “wonky” style quilt.

      And I finally figured out how to make my own borders hang flat in a show – double batting!

  15. •stephanie• says:

    “. . . focus on making quality quilts, whether or not they can be completed in a day . . .” Well said. I couldn’t agree more! A quilt worth piecing is a quilt worth piecing well. Who cares if it takes a while? The process is amazing. Creating plays a big part in my “let’s keep Steph sane” project! Such great therapy.

  16. Lisa Sipes says:

    Well said! I am the same way with my quilting! There are shortcuts that can be taken, but to do so means a lower quality end result and while it seems attractive to save time, I just can’t force myself to do it.
    Yay quality!

    • Carol W. says:

      If you have room for an ironing board at the end of your table, it will help. If you put a plastic table cloth over it, plastic side up, your quilt will slide as you quilt.

  17. Sew What's Cooking? says:

    Been loving your soapbox posts and this one especially. I’ve been trying to get back to the heart of what is really important to me with quilting and life – and especially to impress that upon my kids. That there is true satisfaction in finding something you really love to do and doing it really well. Thanks for posting this!

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