Cheating? Hmmmm…opinions please

I remember when longarm machines came into the world of quilting, oh man what an uproar! The “founders” of this new way to quilt our quilts faster than by hand quilting or quilting on your home domestic machine, they had to fight for the rights for their work to get recognized!! What an uphill battle that was! They deserve praises for their hard work!! Kudos to Linda Taylor, Marcia Stevens and Pam Clarke for paving the way for us.

Yesterday I was working at the shop. About an hour before closing a very nice cheerful lady came in and was chatting. I was sitting at a machine sewing a shop sample and behind me I had the longarm running. Yes, I had the computer/robotics running on the longarm…I was multi-tasking. The lady said her good byes and as she turned she saw the longarm. She bursted out, and I mean bursted out, “That’s cheating!!” I about jumped out of my skin she startled me so bad. I said, ” what are you talking about?” And she pointed to the longarm as it was stitching its way across the quilt. She needed to tell me that she has to manually freehand all her quilts and that (pointing to the longarm) was cheating. I did everything I could to NOT come back at her. ( I scratched over the price of the serger in the picture, I don’t want to advertise that.) This was the quilt I was working on at the shop. Yes, that is my log cabin pattern¬†
But here is the question for you: Is using computer robotics cheating in the world of longarm quilting?

Using the ProStitcher at the shop on my Wavy Log Cabin Quilt

Yes, the pattern is available here:

I’ve made 2 different colorways with this quilt, Can’t wait to get my fall one finished! It is purples, burgandies, golden yellows, greens, blues…just scrumptious.

Back to my question: Is it cheating to use a computer robotics system to have your quilts finished? Well, I posted this very question on my Facebook group (Sew Anyways with Nancy McNally) and here are some of the responses. Feel free to leave your own comment below. I received 119 comments and they are still commenting. Here are some of them:

Sandy:¬†Why that was rude! Not cheating it’s multi-tasking. She probably can’t walk and chew gum at the same time, lol. Whatever gets the job done! Beautiful Log Cabin. Blue is right up there with purple as my favorites!

Kriss:  Love your Log Cabin Quilt! ? No, computerized Quilting is not cheating! Quilt shows have a category for this technique ??

Jill: Free hand and computers are two different skills. I have found learning each has been difficult. Personally I want both skills. I try QBOT on one quilt then freehand on the next. Computer has been more of a struggle. Not cheating

Happy Quilting!

Nancy McNally


6 thoughts on “Cheating? Hmmmm…opinions please

  1. My husband pieces better than me. He’s very patient and all his seams match, but he can’t design at all. So I make the decisions on color and style and design and he does more actual sewing. We both take credit but I feel as much ownership in the quilt even if my husband is my robot. The robotic longarm is the same thing. It would be nice to freehand everything if you have the time and talent to do it. But manually quilting, like piecing, isn’t what makes the quilt beautiful. It’s the design. It’s no different than using an embroidery machine. And I prefer the precision of a machine.

  2. I think what some people don’t realize is taking quilting to the next skill level is important, and there are differences of components that go into everything we do and must be respected, quilting is a skill and an art form , different expressions that should be welcomed with open minds, we should respect alll quilting techniques, we are not limited in our skills , its a lot of brain power to use software etc, how is that different from a lot of the power to do other ways of quilting, the intention and creativity is still there even more so, why would anyone discourage any technique or skill in quilt making? I love what I do and I love what others do , I’m constantly learning and increasing my skills , that’s what I love the most,

  3. How long have Long arm machines been available? 25 plus years I would think. I don’t understand why anyone would still be challenging its legitimacy. Should we also get rid of rotary cutters and rulers? Perhaps we should all go back to hand stitching our quilt tips too. I’m wondering if she was a bit jealous because you had the option and she didn’t. I admire people who can hand quilt and have the time to do so. But it is no more cheating than driving a car to work instead of riding a horse. Keep up your beautiful work.

  4. Over the years I have hand quilted, domestic machine quilted, freehand overall longarm quilted, manually pantographed, freehand custom quilted, ruler work custom quilted, and computer generated quilted. All have resulted in 3 layers stitched together to complete a quilt top.

    I don’t understand why we (quilters as a general concept) generate controversy over methods of stitching. It’s no different in my mind than transportation. I started riding a bicycle, the drove an automatic car, then a stick shift pickup truck, then a school bus, a motorcycle and a 13 double over transmission semi. Each was for a different purpose or time frame, but all resulted in the same end. I got where I needed to be at the end of the journey.

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