“Thou shalt make thy seams ¼.”
“Thou shalt press they seams to one side away from the dark.”
“Thou shalt use a ruler when using a rotary cutter.”
These are types of quilting rules that most new beginners follow. Rules can be good. They give us boundaries and can set us up for success. Knowing all the rules and how to use them then can give us freedom to break them, in successful ways.
Sometimes precision is needed. Like a New York Beauty block needs precise seams and straight lines and perfect points. If you like to do this go ahead. I learned about 17 years ago that that was not my piece of cake. I have no patience for perfect anything. I really struggled with this inner turmoil. How would I ever get in a quilt show without perfect ¼” seam allowances? Actually my biggest problem was always my top tension showing on the back. Well I had to decide what my purpose was for being in the show. Did I want to win a ribbon? (Well of course who doesn’t?) Or did I want to just show off my amazing quilt that I worked so hard on? I decided that I would never enter a show if the only reason was to win an award. It’s way too stressful and takes the fun out of quilting for me. I enter to challenge myself or to show off something I worked really hard on. Quilter’s love to show off what they’ve made.
I gave myself permission to break the rules. I estimate my seam allowances and in what I’m doing that’s ok. In my wonky log cabin quilt my seam allowances were all over the place. It’s ok, I trim the ones that are too large. I often don’t use a ruler when I’m cutting fabric with a rotary cutter. (It’s so freeing, try it!) I glue hardware onto my quilts. In fact I love using glue instead of thread when attaching things to my quilts.
I also created a way for me to show off my work without always having to enter a show. I love to teach what I do. Art Quilting is my passion, breaking the rules with this type of quilting, helps fulfil my desire to make things quickly and to experiment. I make YouTube videos teaching how to break rules and still make beautiful art. I love teaching others my passion. The funny thing is this is helping me break out of some self-imposed rules that I had put on myself too. What a fun adventure it’s been.
What quilting rules have you broken? I’d love to hear.