Sunday, January 5, 2014

The Answer

Yesterday I wrote an article, asking a question regarding the quilting requirements for a QOV. I posted a link to the article on the Quilt of Valor Facebook group. It was there I received my answer, the explanation as to the “why”.

I’ve copied and pasted the conversation here, in case others – not members of the group – are interested in learning the answer. It was a great, positive discussion:

Valarie - glad you asked-I wondered also when I read this requirement "no" list.

Lynn - Can you stitch in the ditch? I might start making a few of these.

Lanetta - The "requirements" say you cannot, Lynn! That's why I'm asking WHY NOT?!!!

Valarie - I honestly don't know-I don't see why not. I've only recently joined the QOV group-prior to that Mom and I have just been making the quilts and giving them to various members of the military without any group input. I'm curious to see how your question gets answered here.

Sharon - I'm interested also. As a longarmer and a prior hand quilter, I have always felt that SID makes a quilt and it's blocks stand out more.

Jean - If your blocks are large and there is no quilting in them, the batting will shift over time and look bad. In addition to the SID, a simple X or other simple thing in the middle. Does not have to be fancy. A star works great. I think most battings recommend a maximum of 4 inches between stitched areas. Remember, these receive a little different treatment. May have to be washed on a more regular basis and may not be done gently.

Lanetta - I understand this, Jean. However, I read the "Do Not" for SID is period, i.e. must have a design of some sort rather than simply SID (which is not all that simple!).

LanettaSharon, I would think the term used "domestic machine" means a home sewing machine, not a longarm machine - which would be okay.

Lanetta - Jean, this 9" block is strictly SID. According to the requirements, it's not acceptable. I'm just trying to figure out why... I really doubt any batting will shift... (this is a work in progress, quilt as you go - the end of the panel). Center square is 3".

Jo - Lanetta: Perhaps someone with more authority in the organization can answer your question more fully, but I will try as I have been making tops almost since the beginning of QOV and remember what Catherine Roberts had to say in her original writings to us. It was her desire that these quilts be "heirloom quality". I'm sure that there is a variety of opinion as to what makes a quilt heirloom quality. But as the Founder, she had certain standards and she wanted to communicate that there needed to be more intricate quilting than just SID. In the quilt world, SID is considered very utilitarian. It gets the job done if the piecing is close enough (as I see in your piecing, your top is very lovely and the quilting is close enough so that there are not huge gaps) but that is not the "look" that Catherine originally envisioned. That is why the pairing of the "topper" and the long arm partner was set up. I think she considered that the long arm quilting would be done by quilter's who had businesses and they would use patterns they were familiar with and had experience doing. In this way, the quilting would be more intricate and give the look she was envisioning. She frequently stressed the heirloom quality being of primary importance. Hope this helps some.

Lanetta - Thank you, Jo! I understand that this organization (like all) have certain rules - you either accept, or don't and move on. Understanding the why, and you've shared her original thoughts/desires that I was unaware of because I'm new to QOVF, makes sense! I didn't realize SID is considered "utilitarian" as I like the way it pops the detail. Again, thank you!

Nancy - I think it said do not only stitch in the ditch. They expect more than that. Only is the operative word

Lanetta - Well, must re-think what I can do...

Jo - A further comment and a shout out to all our long armers. I am constantly amazed by how the long arm quilting makes my piecing work into something brilliant. It is like Christmas every day I receive one of my tops back from the long arm partner and open the box. A special 'Thank you' to all our long arm quilters who make our tops 'sing'!!

Nancy - Lanetta, it looks like you have plenty of stitching to keep the batting from moving about. Maybe a star in the middle of the small square to meet requirements. I think they are concerned about those of us who may put a panel and borders around and just stitch in the ditch with less stitching than you have

Debby - As with most rules this one probably came about because in the beginning, there were people who slapped 2 pieces of fabric together and tied them with yarn, so some standards for quality had to be implemented. Or as someone else mentioned put a panel together and ran a line of stitching around it and called it good. That being said, I have received quilts back from longarmers that have been quilted in an overall medium stipple with nice spacing and even stitches and it looked just fine. It's all about quality. I also myself did a gorgeous quilt as you go pattern called fun and done. The criteria is, IMHO, is if it is lovely enough to be an award, it's fine. These are not charity quilts and getting that across to people in the beginning was a challenge.

Karen - This is an excellent question and very insightful answers. Jo gave an excellent "background" answer. I'm sure you can agree that the "DO/DON'T" list had to be brief because of space. When we started, 10 years ago, very bad, quick SID was what was popular and for most quilts, did not add a thing to the look. With the "modern" look and even over-the-top quilting, it can be very effective. If you know of some way to say "SID is OK if it is close enough, adds to the design and is actually "in the ditch" to our list, so that everyone understands, please suggest it. Most SID I have seen isn't in the ditch and looks terrible. And serpentine makes the blocks look wavy. Well done SID can be very effective. So if you can go that, please know it is acceptable. You can also ask this type of question directly to the QOVF people by writing to INFORMATION@QOVF.ORG Thanks for caring. Karen (WI state coordinator)

Karen - Lanetta, your quilt is beautiful and any veteran would be proud and honored to have it!! Some quilt tops have enough beauty on their own (like yours) without being "overwhelmed" by excessive top-stitching by a computer. And yours was made with your "heart" -- not a computer. The QOV rule was likely made for people trying to take shortcuts, and therefore does not apply to you. JMHO

Holly - I am a long armer, and SID on a long arm is really considered custom. When I quilt, I think of how to showcase the quilt to the best advantage, and some blocks, Like log cabin, really should be SID because it just makes the cabin look pristine. I can see your work is beautiful and I believe in the spirit of the instructions on the website. The finished project should be a beautiful piece and if the SID makes it that way, then personally I think that is the spirit of the instructions.

Linda - These Quilts of Valor are National Service awards, so the intent is to present beautiful quilts of honor. By finishing them with more creative quilting designs, they become quality works of art fitting for our combat warriors. For a better answer, please contact information@qovf,org

Linda - oops, typing from my little tablet's keyboard, sorry... to get better answers more quickly, contact

Jacqueline - When I learned about QOV, I read the rules & requirements and decided that I could agree to them. I didn't start the organization, I'm just playing a part in it. Long Arm professionals are available so that solved an quilting issues I would have had.

Susan - I would consider Lanetta's quilting to be heirloom quality. I believed that what we were striving for was beautiful handmade quilts that demonstrated quality all around. That is what this quilt does. I love the longarmers in this community. I have received several quilts back that had much less quilting than this project demonstrates.

JoEllen - I agree with Susan your quilt is beautiful and the SID doesn't take away anything from your QOV. I know someone that received a QOV back from the long arm quilter and it was horrible and had to be taken out. Catherine wanted QOV that showed our appreciation to our military..the only thing she didn't want was tied off or rag....I don't believe anyone would not be happy with their QOV

Sandy - please continue-your work is beautiful

Sandy – Linda, I believe you need to take in the overall quality of the quilt.I have seen some quilts with with less than "creative quilting designs" but they were the best the person could do-made with love and appreciation for the veteran who will receive it. If all the quilts had to meet very high quilting standards then I am afraid mine would not meet the high standards.

Susan - Nor mine. Even though I make them to the very best of my ability.

JoEllen - And that's all we can do... From all the pictures I've seen they are all beautiful quilts... I'm not the best quilter but I try to do the best I can.

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