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Thread: Machine-guided vs. hand-guided

  1. #1

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    I am just finishing up my fourth bed-sized quilt, and I have been quilting for just over a year. I have used the same long-armer for two of my quilts, but recently picked up some business cards so that I could have some other people on my list who would presumably do different things. One of the quilters said to me, "You should know that [my present quilter] uses a computer-guided machine, while I use a hand-guided machine (implying that hand-guided would be preferable). I thought it was tacky to criticize a competitor in this way, but I wondered about this.

    Recently there was a thread on this forum about hand-made vs. machine-made. In my mind, it is kind of the same thing. I'm very happy with the computer-guided quilting that my present quilter uses, but I wondered if there are reasons to avoid computer-guided. Clearly it requires more skill and creativity to do it hand-guided, but is there a reason beyond that to avoid one over the other? Or is it more a matter of personal preference?

  2. #2
    Super Member Prism99's Avatar
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    Hand guided does not guarantee artistry, and machine guided does not mean there is no art. I would probably be more comfortable with a machine-guided longarmer because I would know that the stitches in the design will be even. The art is in the selection and application of the quilting design.

    It is the same with piecing. Just because a quilt is hand-pieced doesn't mean it is better than a machine-pieced quilt.

  3. #3
    Super Member Shemjo's Avatar
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    Some new thoughts to ponder! I do mostly hand quilting, and am experimenting with my own FMQ. :?

  4. #4
    Senior Member Shelley's Avatar
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    It depends on what you are going for. If you like your designs to be EXACT from place to place on a quilt, then the computer guided LAer is your answer. If you want variety, even on a design that repeats, then hand guided is your choice. There are +'s and -'s to both methods, and many LAers will mix both techniques within the same quilt. I've seen questionable stuff from computer guided systems, and absolutely drop dead gorgeous from hand guided. One is not necessarily better than the other.

    I just realized I've been no help at all!!!! 8)

  5. #5
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    i think this is a common issue across many arts - where is the line drawn in regards to technology.

    you'll come across artists that are purist and feel any use of technology diminishes the quality of the art and then you'll find artists that use technology to its fullest.

    you should go with your heart and how you feel the quilting best suits your artistic expression and if some one else has a problem with it - too bad - its your art not their's.

    the major quilt shows have come to accept technology in quilting on a more local level you might find shows that want hand stitching and hand binding but thats not the case with shows like AQS.

  6. #6
    Super Member carrieg's Avatar
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    You want a LA'r who will work with you and help you decide what designs you want in your quilt. Ask to see samples of their work. My LA'r has a sample book, like a wallpaper sample book. Each 'page' is divided into quarters with samples of her available patterns. She makes suggestions to me as to what might work in each section of the quilt. How to tie it all together and border work. Her system is all computerized, BUT that does not remove all the work. It makes the measuring easier and such. But the prep work is still required. Computerized will make it more precise.

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