I think quilting should alway compliment the actual quilt pattern not distract! And yes quilts should bu cuddly lol!
Dense quilting is how all quilts had to be quilted in the past. It's only been in recent years, since the invention of needle punching, scrims and bonding that widely spaced quilting was even possible.
I've seen a lot more under quilting than I have over quilting.
My quilting is done to suit me, and I like a loose style so its soft, cuddly but still enhanced by the quilting. When all you see is the quilting designs and not the piecing of the quilt itself when looking at a quilt, its over done. When its 'balanced', then you have a truly beautiful quilt.
I agree that just because you can quilt densely doesn't mean it's a good thing for all quilts. As in Scissor Queen's comment, dense quilting has served the purpose of holding it all together for years & years. Now, since batting has improved, we have more options -- although keeping it even is still a goal. I like to consider each quilt individually, & longarm quilt it for it's purpose. For instance, baby quilts that are actually going to be used are nice left cuddly! The batting chosen makes a huge difference, too. Whenever possible, I go for the non-shrinking, QD wool batting -- so soft & still holds together if some spaces are a little farther apart.
The beauty of quilting is that it allows an individual to make so many unique, creative choices, with not many rules to worry about (as long as it holds together nicely)!
I have seen some intensely overquilted pieces. My first question to myself is, why bother putting in batting.....that sort of quilting definitely does not make the "bed quilt" warm, it has lost its purpose........I really think handquilting cannot be overdone...because the stitch itself is not as confining as a machine stitch...if you see handquilted tight meandering and the same by machine, there is a significant difference. I love to handquilt, but because I want to finish in my lifetime, I do machine quilt, but I really try to keep the same rule of thumb....the piecing makes the quilt and the quilting enhances it, not the other way around. Of course, in show pieces, the opposite is sometimes the rule of thumb, but like everything else in hobbies......to each his own.....
Yes, I believe it can be overdone. It can also have the wrong quilting design where it take away from the pieced pattern.
I amso happy to see there are still quilters who share my beliefs, beautiful quilting enhances the pattern. Since the long-arm quilting machines have come in vogue, there are many more all-over quilts, but my own personal preference is quilting to complement the pattern.