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Thread: Do all quilters consider machine embroidery to be quilting?

  1. #1
    Power Poster sewbizgirl's Avatar
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    Do all quilters consider machine embroidery to be quilting?

    First of all, let me just 'fes up and say that I am NOT a fan of machine embroidery. I just don't see the beauty or skill in something a sophisticated machine generates out of a program. The reason I ask my question is that I have been in several swaps over the past year and in each one people seem to be going more towards machine embroidery for their designs, rather than creating their designs with piecework, applique or hand embroidery. Is it considered part of quilting nowadays? I don't see it as quilting at all. Embroidery is it's own thing, to my mind. I hesitate to enter swaps anymore because you get so much machine embroidery! And to suggest you don't like it makes you the 'bad guy'. Just wondering what others think. Is it just universally accepted and embraced? I cringe when I see it on a quilt.
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  2. #2
    Super Member newbee3's Avatar
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    Well machine embroidery is not much different than computerized quilting machines in my book anyway.

  3. #3
    Super Member Stitchnripper's Avatar
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    It is just personal preference. I don't appreciate machine embroidery or computerized long arm quilting the way some do. I also do not like a densely quilted quilt. I can appreciate the skill and talent it takes if the quilter goes freehand, but I still don't like it. I'm sticking with what I like. I have never entered a swap.
    Alyce

  4. #4
    Super Member Tiggersmom's Avatar
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    not my first choice! I have a embroidery machine but if I do anything it is for a wall quilt. I dislike the poofy look of embroidery as it hangs off a wall in a saggy state. All mine are tacked down through the embroidery and quilted evenly throughout.

  5. #5
    Super Member osewme's Avatar
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    I don't consider machine embroidery on a quilt as "quilting". I see it more as decorative. I've never been much of a machine embroidery person either now or in the past. I really don't even care for those little embroidered motifs that you can buy & sew on to things.

  6. #6
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    I used to feel the same way about machine embroidery. Just enter the program and let the machine do the rest. It really isn't that easy, and after learning more about it I have a greater respect for the people that do it well. Much like using a long arm to quilt, it does take a lot of skill. Each piece needs to be valued on its own. Some embroidery machines have quilting guilt in to it, you have to do each one separate - that is a lot of work. But just an embroidered block, is just another way to make a quilt, much like using a panel.

  7. #7
    Moderator QuiltnNan's Avatar
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    people used to hand quilt... now there's machine quilting. people used to hand embroider... now there's machine embroidery. i never use a commercial embroidery design... i digitize my own. this is the most time-consuming part of many of my small quilts. i rarely use it on large quilts. i appreciate all methods of getting a quilty piece of 'art'
    Nancy in western NY
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  8. #8
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    I love hand Redwork but there are embroidery machines now that can do the Redwork designs just as well. Not everyone has the time or enjoys hand work but it still takes skill to do machine embroidery. I love all types of techniques in quilting.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Cactus Stitchin's Avatar
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    It's perfectly acceptable that you do not care for the look of machine embroidery - everyone has their own preferences and all are completely valid! While the machine may stitch out the actual design, please understand there is quite a bit of work involved in matching threads to your project fabrics and to compliment the overall embroidery design not to mentioned determining the right stabilizer(s) and test stitch outs to be sure you have the right combinations for your projects. Before you begin any stitch out you also have to review the design to make sure you know what each color change does, which ones provide the primary color of an object and which ones provide shading, or shadows, or if they contrast or blend with the primary color. Many designs may have 15 to 30 color changes (some are much higher) which provides detail and or shading to the finished design and may take well over an hour to produce a single design. By the time you make a couple test stitch outs you may well have 4 to 5 hours invested in a single 5 x 7 design. I recently completed an embroidery wall hanging, approximately 35 x 45, which had a total of 497,000 stitches in the 25, 6 x 6, blocks before they were even sewn together. While you do not need to like the look of machine embroidery, please appreciate that there may be great deal of work and frankly skill involved in producing that embroidery design.

  10. #10
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    I make quilts. I do machine embroidery. Sometimes I combine the two arts. I don't do swaps but if I did, I would not send an embroidered block unless it was a requirement of the swap.

    Cari

  11. #11
    Super Member justflyingin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cari-in-Oly View Post
    I make quilts. I do machine embroidery. Sometimes I combine the two arts. I don't do swaps but if I did, I would not send an embroidered block unless it was a requirement of the swap.

    Cari
    That is what I was thinking. They are two different things.

  12. #12
    Super Member ctyankee's Avatar
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    I agree -- they are two different things. May I suggest that when you join a swap, specify that you do not care to receive machine embroidered items, either in the info you send to the hostess (if it is not a partnered swap) or in a PM to your swap partner. I'm sure your partner would want you to receive something you would enjoy.
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  13. #13
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    There are so many ugly things in life. I do enjoy making something pretty, be it watering my plants and looking at them, doing quilts and quilt blocks that turn out alright and marveling at what my embroidery machine can do. How can you not? I use machine embroidery to enhance the things I make. If you don't like it, let your friends know, they may save time and money. To be fair, there are embroidery patterns and embroidery patterns.

  14. #14
    Super Member katesnanna's Avatar
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    I guess it's a personal choice.

  15. #15
    Power Poster ManiacQuilter2's Avatar
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    What an interesting discussion! I entered my machine quilted quilts when it was NOT readily acceptable in quilt shows and WON!! I do think that quilters have to be careful about the weight factor and proportions when putting embroidery into a quilt. I also don't particular care for densely quilted items because it takes your eyes away from a beautifully pieced quilt. I myself have always preferred the look of hand quilting. But if others prefer to quilt that way, I am certainly not going to object to how they quilt their quilt.
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  16. #16
    Power Poster PaperPrincess's Avatar
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    It's just another possible tool in a quilter's workbox. We all have our own likes and dislikes. It's similar to the ongoing discussions on "too much" quilting, tying vs. quilting, hand work vs. machine, all quilting cottons vs. blends, etc. The quilting universe is big enough for everyone. Like everything else I've seen quilts with embroidery, both hand and machine, that I didn't think enhanced the design, and I've seen quilts where embroidery accents have elevated a hum drum top. This is where the skill in machine embroidery lies, and there is some skill needed to be successful. Choosing a design of appropriate size and density for your project, proper stabilization, correct thread: weight, color and content, precise placement all take some level of expertise.
    I don't know the answer about receiving something you don't care for in an exchange. To me, an exchange is getting something I would not have made myself, but I guess you would need to carefully read the rules of a specific exchange to ensure the item you get is to your taste and follows the rules. If a machine embroidered item adheres to the rules, then you may need to petition the moderator of the event to add a rule to exclude such items. Or host an exchange yourself where you create the exchange guidelines.
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  17. #17
    Senior Member petpainter's Avatar
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    As many have said, there is just as much work involved in machine embroidery- as far as the "quilting" part, not piecing, i don't look at it any different than a computerized longarm. I personally prefer all freehand for myself, and I do like heavy quilting if the quilt warrants it. I think the quilting process is just as important as the piecing- so when I learned to piece, I started to practice quilting sandwiches. Some people hate it- that's okay!

  18. #18
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    I personally don't care for the embroidery on quilts either. I hold these in their own category. Just as whole cloth quilts are in a separate category from pieced. They are beautiful to look at but I would not have the patience to do one myself It is a personal preference for me. Just as the baggy pants that the kids wear. Not my style. They can have it and I will enjoy what I like best

  19. #19
    Power Poster sewbizgirl's Avatar
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    It is an interesting discussion! I'm glad no one got mad at me for my opinion of machine embroidery. I do appreciate it takes skill in running any machine, but that doesn't make me like the outcome any more. I hope we will hear some more opinions.
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  20. #20
    Super Member nabobw's Avatar
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    As quiltingcandy said embroidering on a quilt to quilt it is not as easy as it sounds. I do it all the time. First you have to find a design to use that is not heavy, or digitized one. The placing of the design on the quilt so it looks continuous is not easy.

  21. #21
    Super Member Aurora's Avatar
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    I don't care for machine embroidery. For me the stitching is too concentrated and stiff.
    Aurora

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  22. #22
    Super Member Gramie bj's Avatar
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    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. If you like the look or enjoy doing it, go for it. If you don't like it don't do it. I also recommend if you have never tried it, do, you may be surprised. I have a dear friend who said for years "I just don't like those artsy wall-hanging things, they just aren't quits to me" 4 years go I talked her into taking a class with me. She has since won several awards for her "Artsy quilt's" LOL

  23. #23
    Super Member ghostrider's Avatar
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    Personally, I don't much care for detailed, fancy embroidery of any type on quilts (as opposed to single lines of machine or hand embroidery stitches), but if I were in a swap, there is no way I would be so 'presumptive' as to request no embroidery on what was sent to me.

    Swaps are about sharing a piece of yourself, building confidence, and friendships, new and old. They're not about collecting works that are duplicates of what you would make for yourself. If it's not worth the risk of receiving something that "makes you cringe" (your words), don't join. It's that simple. Why make someone you don't even know afraid to trade with you?
    The Earth without art is just "Eh".

  24. #24
    Super Member CoriAmD's Avatar
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    I certainly do! Because of a serious injury, I have a rod in my arm, from the shoulder to 1/2 way down to the elbow, thus making it very painful to machine quilt or even hand qujilt. I bought my embroidery machine to do the quilting for me. I use outline stitches and have gotten many compliments on my "quilting"

  25. #25
    Super Member maryb119's Avatar
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    What an interesting topic!! I can't help but think what a dull world it would be if we all did the same thing. Personally, I like machine embroidery as well as hand embroidery and have done both on quilts. I had a quilt in 3 AQS shows that had machine embroidery on it. I machine quilted it on my Pfaff machine. I am now working on a hand embroidered quilt that my grandmother did the embroidery on each block. I am hand quilting that one. Variety is the spice of life. There are so many ways to make a quilt, chose the one that you like best and do it.

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