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Forum > Quilters' Corner > Is quilting/sewing becoming to automated? ( Moderated by Sharon1952)

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Is quilting/sewing becoming to automated?
quiltingwolf
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quiltingwolf
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Date: 3/20/13 11:08 AM

I thought of this after posting a thread about longarms under machines. I actually meant to post it here but didn't realize I was in the machine section. I played on a long arm at the quilt show I went to over the weekend. They now have software similar to embroidery software that lets you, pick a design, select and measure an area and hit a button and it goes. You just sit back and watch like an embroidery machine. I remember when embroidery machines came out people were complaining about it wasn't really embroidery as you weren't doing it by hand. I wonder if any quilters are saying the same thing. And with our stitch regulator's and software if machines are taking all the personality out of our work? As I walked through the quilt show I could tell what had been quilted on a long arm as to how perfect it was. All the circles the same exact size. No variation. Perfect feathers. I personality believe it's not taken away, it takes skill and knowledge to operate these machines and that's become part of the art. Especially digitizing the designs whether it be for machine embroidery or a new quilt motif. As I mentioned in my other post I will never have one as the one I would want cost way too much. But I know I would love it and it would become a new skill. So to me, no quilting and sewing hasn't become too automated. How do you, feel about this?

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fabrictherapy
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Date: 3/20/13 11:17 AM

You still have to have the creativity and the spatial relations skills to figure out where your quilting lines/design are going. In embroidery you are sewing very densely to create a design, if you do that in quilting, you have a fabric board. It looks really pretty, but a bear to snuggle up in.

Am I cheating when I use drafting software and a plotter for a quilt design before I longarm an item? I don't think so, for me it is auditioning where the threads will go w/out marking up a quilt top that took a lot of love and hours to assemble.

Not all longarmed quilts are as precise and perfect as you saw at the show. I still see bumps and blurbles even from experienced longarmers that are using manual techniques. not every stitch length is uniform, some threadlines got crossed with meandering. Big deal.

My point is, someone still has to sit at that computer and plot every one of those lines for that machine to perform. I do not think it takes away from the creativity of the longarmer or the quilter. It certainly makes the job easier, and you have to watch the output on your quilt like a hawk, because machines can mess up, and it can have tragic results if not caught in time.

bessiemae
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Date: 3/20/13 11:39 AM

I think it's just yet another technology innovation. The tech has incredible potential, but requires skill to utilize effectively. I've seen lovely, meticulously pieced quilt tops ruined by craptastic long arm work and machine embroidery to make one wince. Neither is the fault of the tech, but the folks who mismanaged it.

Yet, the long arm and embroidery machine quilting produced by members in my quilt guild are truly amazing in quality of execution and aesthetics.

" With great power comes great responsibility."

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figaro
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Date: 3/20/13 12:08 PM

It does take skill and creative vision to use even the most automated of machines, so I'm not willing to say that it's gotten too automated. It really does depend on what you want.

I spent the last six weeks or so researching a sewing machine purchase. One of the machines I looked at was the Brother 2800D. It was a deeply impressive machine, especially considering its price point. The dealer was really trying hard to sell me on how much the machine does for you. But after I left and had some time to think about it, I came to the conclusion that I didn't want a machine that did everything for me. I may down the line invest in a good standalone embroidery machine, but for a sewing machine, I didn't want to pay for a lot of features that eliminated most of my effort.

Of course, it's all up to personal preference. Some people make pie crust by hand, when I'd much rather throw everything in the food processor. Nothing wrong with either method.

quiltingwolf
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Date: 3/20/13 12:14 PM

Figaro, I'm curious as to what features you considered the machine did too much for you or eliminated your effort.

Also I'm a food processor, bread machine person myself lol.

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figaro
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Date: 3/20/13 12:38 PM

Haven't got a bread machine, but since I got a stand mixer I haven't kneaded bread in years. ;)

The feature that sticks out in my mind was the dealer talking about how she could do cross-stitch with the machine, and they also had examples of lace which had been made with the embroidery unit. Those are just things I'd rather do by hand. The dealer also walked me through the quilting patterns the machine does, but I'd just rather do it myself.

I should say, though, that this was not the only factor in deciding against the machine. The dealer and I didn't really click, and she wasn't interested in letting me use the machine at all. That may have been because I said I was there researching, but after the fact, her reluctance to let me touch the machine didn't make me feel good about buying.

quiltingwolf
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Date: 3/20/13 12:52 PM

Find a new dealer. That's unheard of a dealer that won't let you try the machine. She probably didn't know it herself to have to show it to you. If someone is really interested in selling you a machine and keeping you as a customer they should allow you time to play and the machine and get a feel for it. Best you walked away.

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SouthernStitch
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Date: 3/20/13 8:45 PM

I don't mind the technology at all. Hand quilting is GREAT, and has a look that really is hard to replicate. But, I'm already slow enough! So, I'm fine with my stitch regulator, or a longarm.
But, I was just thinking along these lines today as I pulled out my edge stitch foot to do some top stitching. I was thinking how, 20 years ago I had about 4 feet, and 6 stitches. Nothing in my world was the least automated! I like the total process, even if it does involve some automation! And, I like to complete the project.

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arianamaniacs
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Date: 3/21/13 4:04 AM

I wonder if seamstresses and tailors thought the same thing when the first sewing machine came out.

I'm all for machines that make my job easier and let me create faster. I don't find that I have any more joy if I push the needle through the layers with my finger instead of letting my machine do it. In fact, quite the opposite since I hate hand-sewing.

Julkane
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Date: 3/21/13 8:06 AM

Well, 'we've come a long way, baby', for those of us born in the 40's and 50's! I must say I did more clothing construction, out of necessity, back in the 60's. I had the straight stitch Singer to sew on and could do magic with it. In the 70's I got a Kenmore with cams that could zig-zag. In the 80's I splurged on an electronic Kenmore that cost around $600 which was a fortune back then and thought I had died and gone to Heaven. In the 2000's I delved into machine embroidery and then into quilting. This is not automation but keeping up with technology. Has sewing become easier? I think not. All these advances have made me work harder to increase my knowledge and skill base to be able to utilize what is available. I FMQ on a domestic machine but how I would love a mid-arm or longarm.

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