Sunday, October 6, 2013

Simple and complex quilts

It was so much fun reading the comments I received on the last post.  Of course, this "Tally" is in no way indicative of anything, but it was fun to see the results anyway.

6 people prefer making simple quilts
11 people prefer making complex quilts
8 people make both

When I posed the question I didn't define that I meant by "simple" and "complex".  Different commenters interpreted the question in different ways.  I knew what I meant when I posed the question, and was surprised by some of the answers.

(I've answered all the comments I can, so if you didn't receive an answer then you are a "no-reply" person.)

I'm taking this a bit farther because reading the comments brought so many questions to my mind.  I'm hoping many of you will respond to these new questions.  I will report the "stats" in my next post.after people have had a few days to comment. 

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"What do you think of when you think of a simple compared to a complex quilt?"

Is it the size of the quilt?  Can a small quilt be complex?  Can a large quilt be simple?

Is it the number of pieces in the quilt?  Or the number of pieces in each block?


Is it the number of fabrics used in a quilt?  Can a scrap quilt be simple?  Can a quilt with six or fewer fabrics be complex?

Is it the difference between piecing and applique?  Or the combination of piecing and applique?

Is it the shape of the pieces - squares, triangles and rectangles vs. hexagons, octagons, etc.?

Is it the difference between a quilt that can be rotary cut and a quilt that must be made from templates?

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I love quilts with many pieces in each block.  I love quilts with many different blocks in one quilt.  I love quilts with many different fabrics.  I love combining piecing and applique.  I love to machine piece and hand applique.  I can piece by hand, and find it enjoyable, but prefer to save "hand sewing time" for applique and quilting.  I love hand quilting, but realize that many of my quilts need to be machine quilted because of time and physical constraints.  There is no quilt pattern that I'd be afraid to tackle as I believe my skills are equal to the process, but there are many things I've never done because I've not yet had enough time.  I prefer traditional quilts, have not made a quilt that is not traditional, and doubt if I ever will.  Doing "art quilts" will NEVER be my thing.

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As quilters we all have things in common when it comes to our quilting.  But even more, we all have taken different paths in our development as a quilters.

Why do you read my blog?  Are my quilts similar to yours or very different?  If you love modern fabrics and/or art quilts and yet you read my blog, I wonder why?

I'm hoping many of you will share with me so I can get to know you all better.  Thanks ahead of time?

10 comments:

The Calico Cat said...

the quilt in your header is complex.
The piecing that I do is not. I have a stressful job, I want an enjoyable hobby. I am quite satisfied sewing squares, rectangles, & an occasional flippy triangle.

I can do half square triangles, but I don't really "want" to.

I don't the the number of pieces or fabrics has any bearing on simplicity or complexity. The same with appliqué vs. piecing. (there are easy appliqué shapes, etc.)

Why do I read any of the blogs that I read - I don't know. They are all so varied. At the end of day, I read your blog because you don't irritate me - pretty good reason, huh? (It's not the type of quilts, quilts are quilts... With that said, in general, I am not drawn to make the types of quilts that you make.)

Nancy said...

Patti - I agree with The Calico Cat that your header quilt is complex to me. I stick to simple patterns that contain absolutely no curves and I don't like blocks that contain lots and lots of pieces. I also don't do hand applique but will do some simple machine applique. I've done paper piecing and found that to be interesting. I enjoy your blog because I like reading about what you are doing, how you decide to approach some of your projects, your color choices, etc. I wouldn't make most of the quilts you do because they aren't appealing to me (again, too much complexity!). That said, I can still enjoy watching you work through the process.

JoAnne said...

I define a complex quilt as one requiring a greater output than usual, OR one that just looks more complicated. A quilt full of hand applique is complex. Also one that has blocks with a large number of pieces (over 25.) Scrap quilts can be challenging. I made a queen size quilt made of 10,000 one inch squares and it isn't any more complicated to make than a trip around the world or similar pattern that is made of 2" squares, yet I won a ribbon for it at a quilt show. Can a quilt made of just a few fabric be complicated? Yes! Example, the Sarah's Revival that I'm working on. Again, I really feel like any project that is more difficult for the quilter than average is the key. Since "simple" and "complex" are subjective words, they can be different for everyone. A new quilter could consider a project/technique to be complex that I consider easy. It also depends on who views the project. A non-quilter can have vastly different ideas about what is simple or complex--they may see the Sarah's Revival quilt as "simple" because it is mostly just two colors and made of large pieces! (pieces that contain long, sharp points that are needle-turn appliqued.) My 10,000 square quilt looks really "impressive" because of the sheer number of pieces, but it wasn't difficult technically to do. I guess I think of quilts in two categories: those that will challenge me somehow (complex?) and those that are just fun to make (simple?) Why do I read your blog? I found it for one! I have a hundred or so in my feed, mostly because I enjoy reading and I'm a bit of a "junky" for quilt talk and quilt projects. Your quilt taste is fairly similar to mine, but that isn't a big qualifier for me. I like something well-written and with good photography and that is "interesting." (Again a really subjective word.) I'm enjoying these posts of yours, though. I went back a few times to the last to read comments and will do the same for this one. I like to have to think about things sometimes!

Sharon Hughson said...

Lots of questions to answer. Complex to me means more pieces and different block designs. These always take me longer to build.I do like modern designs more and more but have yet to tackle one. I like you blog for your quilts and you ideas. I also like challenges and that can also mean complex to me. I like complex. I get bored easily and those jelly roll races are not for me. Bleh! I do make mistakes with quilts and get frustrated. So then I get out my Clover ripper. I can also walk away and take a break. Mistakes clue me that I need a respite.

At the corner of Scrap and Quilts said...

Wow so many questions! First, I too agree with calico cat. The quilt in your head is awesome because I would NEVER tackle something like that! The # of pieces per blocks, Y seams and circles = complex to me. I am handpiecing an Hexy (or have for the last year LOL) and that is a simple quilt. The # of fabrics is irrelevant because all my quilts are scrappy. I do not have a lot of time to quilt so I don't like wasting that precious time ripping stitches, therefore I don't challenge my limited talent too much (yet)! Wouldn't mind doing a sampler quilt if most blocks were easy or simple. Wouldn't do a landscape or someone's face (too complex and long) but I would try applique (not "Baltimore Autumn" type (too complex)even though I do love it but something simpler like "Jack at the gate"). Hope this help your research.
Why I read your blog ? Partly because some of the quilts you do are quilts I would do or at least they inspire me; some of the quilts you do are beyond my reach but so awesome to look at and partly because of how you write. You are very interesting to read and I learn a lot from you. You are down-to-earth kind of person who talks about real things (like a broken iron) And you are funny... in a good way! :)

Pam P said...

Hi Patti! I enjoy reading your blog because #1)You post often, #2)You REPLY to your readers, #3)You are personable and interesting and #4)I enjoy seeing the quilts that you're working on. Although, I must have Quilter's ADHD - I cannot settle on just one type or style of quilt - it seems like I love everything! I get a lot of satisfaction from sewing a more complex design but sometimes fight to keep myself motivated. Simpler quilts are fun and give you the gratification of a quick finish. Both types have their advantages - just depends on my mood :) I also like to learn new techniques or, even better, old techniques! Hand piecing, hand quilting, tracing templates and cutting with scissors - love it! Of course, I only do that once in a while but many quilters seem to think "faster is better" or that they have to crank out x-amount of quilts year, etc. And maybe that's good for them, but I enjoy the process just as mush as the finished quilt - maybe more!

MarshaB said...

I'm working on the Dear Jane quilt. Some of the blocks are easy, such as a four or nine patch. Some are very difficult with lots of teensy pieces that have to be paper pieced. But I like to challenge and push myself so I keep trying more difficult quilts. Some little quilts are just as difficult as large quilts and take just as much time. I think easy quilts have larger blocks and easy piecing, less shapes to fit together. It seems to me, the more different shapes and seams in a block, the more difficult it is. As for applique, the smaller the pieces, the sharper the points, the more difficult.

I follow your blog because you like the same types of quilts I do, you post often, I love your organizational skills (I'm a list maker too), you're goals challenge me to do more, and because you live in the Northwest as I do, I can relate to where and what you are doing. You always post interesting things to read about and share a lot of info.

Kelly said...

Lots of things can make a quilt complex...at least to me! The number of pieces in a block, and how many points have to match, and how many "shortcuts" like strip sets are available, and if colors have to match or if anything goes, and on and on. Size can be difficult, but not necessarily complex. For me, I guess it comes down to concentration. If I can sew up several blocks at a time without thinking too much, it's not a complex quilt. If I have to concentrate to place the right colors in the right spot and match those seams to these points (and my husband can hear me muttering Dang It! from the next room!), it's a complex quilt. I don't do much applique, so Sarah's Revival (I had to Google that) scares the socks off of me! I've never used anything but a rotary cutter and my AccuQuilt Go, but that's more laziness than anything, I think. I'd rather spend time piecing than cutting.

I can honestly say I don't remember how I found your blog. I must have seen a link on another blog or website, then thought you had something interesting to say or show. I read quilting blogs 2-3 times a week to get a little inspiration, a few ideas and techniques, and just to know there are others like me who just enjoy quilting! I must say I am getting an itch to do something "modern" after seeing so many cool designs, but "art quilts" will never be me. That looks more tedious than complex, and I want to have fun!

Thanks for making me think about this...I'm off to do some mindless sewing now!

Teresa said...

I have really enjoyed reading the comments you are receiving. I do not usually take time to read other people's comments, but this is an interesting discussion. I agree with most, but would add the quilt layout can also make a simple block quilt complex. For example, I made a windmill block which is pretty much a four patch, but because of the interlocking windmills and scrappy fabric selection I had to be very careful in my piecing. Each block had one piece of the wind mill it adjoined. I love projects like this. Sometimes it's the block construction that makes it complex, and sometimes it's the fabric placements. I read your blog because you inspire me and I feel like if we were ever to meet, we would be friends with common interests. Keep blogging!

Teresa said...

I have really enjoyed reading the comments you are receiving. I do not usually take time to read other people's comments, but this is an interesting discussion. I agree with most, but would add the quilt layout can also make a simple block quilt complex. For example, I made a windmill block which is pretty much a four patch, but because of the interlocking windmills and scrappy fabric selection I had to be very careful in my piecing. Each block had one piece of the wind mill it adjoined. I love projects like this. Sometimes it's the block construction that makes it complex, and sometimes it's the fabric placements. I read your blog because you inspire me and I feel like if we were ever to meet, we would be friends with common interests. Keep blogging!