Survey feedback, part 1

First, if you haven’t yet completed the survey, please take a couple of minutes to answer 10 questions:

Click here to take survey

I hope to have a wide range of quilters – skill level, technique and fabric preferences, etc. – complete the survey to get a better representation. Of course it will be skewed a bit by the fact that people who read my blog are answering the questions, so I really hope you’ll take the time to spread the word about the survey. Yes, it gets you a second entry in the drawing, but more importantly it increases the number of people who take the survey. Remember, the survey will stay up until March 31, and after that I will post the results.

Here are some early results after just a few hours and nearly 100 responses. (I really like the replies you gave in the “Other” fields!)

The skill level and quilt size questions have almost perfectly balanced curves – intermediate skill level and lap quilts have the most votes, and the other answers increase and decrease in almost perfect balance.

Every technique I listed has had at least 7 people check the box (trapunto had the least votes). For the person who asked “WTF is trapunto and bargello,” trapunto involves adding extra batting or cording between the quilt layers to give added dimension to parts of the quilt. This is used a lot on whole cloth quilts. Bargello is a kind of strip piecing, where you sew strip sets together, cut the set into various widths, then realign them and sew them back together. They can be simple or incredibly elaborate.

I missed a few techniques when I created my list, including English paper piecing (commonly used for hexagon/grandmother’s flower garden quilts as well as other one patch type quilts), free motion thread work and specific types of machine applique.

While about 15% make their quilts exclusively from patterns, the vast majority uses patterns “sometimes” and use photos of quilts for inspiration. A gratifyingly large number enjoy creating their own designs, and a few like to make it up as they go along. One quilter said:

One of my best quilts, so far, was made without a pattern, and was a jumble of random bits and pieces and stitched together, somewhat like a crazy quilt, with a handful of pinwheels and “wonky blocks” tossed in as I was learning new things and the colors matched. Yeah, you’d think it would be weird looking, but it was actually a really fun lap quilt when I was done with it. (It’s how I learn, just by doing, sometimes/often without a plan.)

When it comes to fabric, you guys like it all! While fewer used other weight/texture fabrics like Kona Crush, Voile, etc., 70% use solids and another 70% use tone on tone fabrics. Pastels, homespuns and Asian prints were on the lower end. I forgot to include repurposed fabric such as vintage sheets, as well as hand dyed fabrics (sorry Chris!), and several of you commented that you use “whatever catches your eye.”

Your favorite fabric purchases are yardage and fat quarters, and you like to pick your own stuff rather than stick with lines. Precuts (squares and strips in a fabric line) are popular, too. A smaller but not insignificant percentage likes their fabric lines, either in total or with some other fabrics to punch it up. A couple noted that they buy “whatever is on sale.” Quilters after my own heart!

My favorite comment (other than the trapunto/bargello one mentioned above!) came from the quilter who said:

I am an admitted fabric whore (sorry, but I am)

Most of you finish your own quilts, generally on you regular sewing machine. We have some hand quilters (I bow to you!), as well as several who have tops waiting to be quilted. As one quilter said:

I have several dozen waiting to be quilted when I have the time or the money to send them out. BUT, I prefer piecing the top to any other part of quilting, so the ‘waiting to finish’ pile doesn’t bother me.

The most interesting answers told what you struggle with. Like me, many of you are distracted by the computer and new ideas. You’re also trying to balance work and family with quilting. Some specific answers include:

Finding space large enough to cut yardage and prepare quilt sandwich

quilting large projects

I don’t always understand terminology that long-time sewers use on a regular basis, because I’m fairly new to things (having only started last fall).

I usually lose interest once I know what it will look like!

Inspiration is everywhere, and most of you are pretty good at keeping track of your ideas. Just a few forget them before you can make them. A few methods that I missed include bookmarking with your web browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox, etc.), Pinterest (which I just found out about two days ago but am afraid to start looking at because I’ll lose even more time to the computer), and pasting ideas and notes into a Word document.

And here’s a comment that I’m including just because I like the word “queue”:

Once I find/design a pattern I really like, I try to buy fabric for it pretty quickly, then store the pattern with the fabric in my project queue…

Finally, most of you document at least basic information on the quilt, and keep some degree of a record of the quilts you make. The most popular methods are blogs/photo sharing sites and photo albums.

So that’s what I have so far! It’s fascinating to me, and I’ll be posting results charts and more comments when the survey ends.



  1. I had more than one answer for some of the questions but I look at that as a good thing. It means I’m an equal opportunity quilter. I’ve tried no to limit myself and have thrown myself into new things with fear but gusto because I, well, who’s gonna stop me’. 🙂

  2. Well it’s really interesting reading your results so far. I find I’m pretty much in sync with many others. (So nice to be “normal” LOL.) I also forgot a few things like English Paper Piecing and hand dyed fabrics. I think it would take some real brain storming to make sure everything was included. Can’t wait to see what the final tallies are in April. Thanks for doing this.

  3. Thanks Sandi for sharing some of the comments-AND a huge thank you for explaining what trapunto and bargello means. I think I’ve used the bargello technique before-my chinese coins table runner??

    • Mmm, not quite. Imagine if, after you subcut the strips (a bit narrower), you lined them up side by side without any sashing between them. Then imagine pulling each strip a little higher (or lower) than the last, making a wave pattern with the segments. That’s bargello.

  4. I’ve been quilting for about 25 years. The first few years were when I was working a full time (60+ hours per week) job. With that and raising 2 kids I had very little time to quilt and consequently finished very few quilts. After my husband retired I got serious about quilting-I joined a guild and got active in its activities. I now own a quilt shop and I have realized that the new “modern” quilts, despite being simple, are still very beautiful and also creative. They allow new quilters (who mostly work) to actually finish a quilt in a short time, letting them experience that achievement and also the friendship of other quilters. In due time I am confident these new quilters will graduate to the more difiicult piecing of traditional quilting. Please don’t “rain on their parade”. Change is good.

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