I don’t often write manifestos, but when I do, they’re about teaching. When I was hired by to teach quilting, I gave a lot of thought to what kind of quilt teacher I want to be. Here’s what I came up with.
My thoughts as a quilting teacher-
I am not the quilt police and they are not welcome in our classroom. There are lots of ways to quilt and they’re all valid.
It is my job to teach the skills that give students the most options, and not to impose my preferences.
Where there is a “religious” difference of opinions about a technique, I will present both and the pluses and minuses and students may choose.
As with all crafts, the better and more carefully we do each step, the better the next step goes; we aren’t adjusting something to compensate for an error.
Totally cool if we want to do something wonky, and often even “wonky” quilts are carefully made.
Improv is awesome and also scary but that’s what makes it fun.
We honor and give credit to the originators of the methods and styles we use.
Never use old thread. The savings on thread of unknown origin isn’t worth it. (Thread stored in a hot attic is damaged; why introduce a weak point into your project. This is according to Joe the Sewing Machine Repairman.)
Always make bindings as well as possible- the best fabric, cut on the bias, well sewn down. (Replacing a binding is a bear, try to avoid having to do that, ever.)
I’m totally on board with upcycling – and also, with all fabrics, old or new, go for quality and strength. It’s a bummer when a quilt is otherwise in good condition and a single fabric wears out and shreds. Students will be shown how to recognize various kinds of wovens and how they might hold up to use.
In our house, we use quilts daily, and put them in the washer and dryer. Lower temperatures, but these are meant to be used.
Quilting is a method for self expression. Quilts are often also a gift that is treasured for years. It’s a handcrafted gift that most people can appreciate and use.