Quilters are Rule Breakers

Quilters are Rule Breakers

I hate rules. 

Let me clarify. I hate rules in which I see no purpose. 

This has been a trait of mine since I was a kid. I remember in 9th grade Chemistry, my teacher, Mr. Henderson, a 60 year old body-building enthusiast that creeped out all the girls in the class, had this rule that if you didn't have your name on your paper, you'd lose 5 points. 

Now, this is a totally reasonable rule. I used to teach third grade, and it would drive me crazy when students didn't put their name on work, especially at the beginning of the year, before I learned everyone's handwriting. I get it. 

But at the beginning of every class, Mr. Henderson would go around and check that everyone did their homework. We'd pull our homework out, put it on our desk, and he'd give you a 100 if you completed all the questions, and a 0 if you didn't bring it. 

One morning he came to my desk and wrote a 95 at the top of my paper in red ink. 

"Mr. Henderson, I completed all the questions." 

"Yes, but you didn't write your name at the top of your paper."

"But it's on my desk. I'm sitting in front of it. We aren't turning it in, it is clearly my homework."

"Yes, but the rule is that you lose 5 points if you don't include your name."

"That makes sense if we're turning in the work, but is irrelevant if we're sitting in front of it the whole time you see it." 

"Sorry, that's the rule."

"But that doesn't make any sense."

It went on like this for entirely too long. 

Now, me a ninth-grade student shouldn't have been arguing with my teacher, at least not as long as I did, but this memory has stuck with me. 

Rules that make no sense in certain contexts drive me insane. 

I feel this way about most "rules" we have in the quilting world.

The rebellious 14 year old girl with waist length blond hair and braces, wants to break




Pablo Picasso famously said, "Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist." 

I love this quote. I believe it so firmly, I'd like to tattoo it on my arm. (Not literally, but you get my drift.)

This is what defines an artist. 

They are a master at their craft. They know all the "rules", and more importantly, they know when they are relevant, and when it would be a brilliant idea to break them. 

I'd like to invite you on a journey to become just that-- an artist. 

To master your craft. Learn the proper way to do different techniques. Learn the "rules". But also learn how to break them in such a way that is surprising, brilliant, and definitive of your unique style. 

If you’d like to join a community of quilters from around the world who are doing just that, I think you’d love Meander. Learn more about Meander, here. 


So let's raise our figurative glasses and toast to breaking the rules. 

What's your favorite quilt "rule" to break? What drives you crazy?

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Put two quilts I had designed out of my head in my guilds quilt show. The judge was a stickler and said my lack of quilting was distracting. (Meaning had to many areas that didn’t have quilting.) On one I had flower petals that I had attached only in their middle so they stood out a little from the quilt. Then I outline stitched around them. She commented on that also because my stitches weren’t perfect. It really didn’t bother me because my intention wasn’t to win anything; I am an artist and just do my quilts to where they suit my intentions.

Helene Albritton

The one rule I HATE is … “You can’t make a REAL quilt with inexpensive fabric!!!”
I was told this when I found a fantastic bargain, over 50 fat quarters for ten cents each. Needless to say I bought every one.
When I posted a picture of them on a quilting page I joined several of the b-b- b… Ok I will be nice … Women started telling me that it was garbage, no good and would never make a good quilt. I was in tears. I can’t afford the kind of fabric they buy so I was happy with what I could afford.
That is just a long way around to say …

Sharine Beeson

I argued with my trig high school teacher. My answer was correct mathematically but wasn’t what he was looking for. Of course, he won, but I was mad!
I break pretty much any rule there are no logical reasons for. I have my own faster, prettier way of binding,. And many others…if it works and its more fun, thats my new way of doing it :)

Laura parkel

The “police” decided we must use cotton for our quilts. Not me! I use whatever material I want. Have you ever seen a Crazy Quilt made by an ancestor? They used silk, feedsack, satin, or whatever they could get their hands on. If it doesn’t last a century, so what!

Nancy Graves

I recently discovered that the quilt police will not put me in jail if I machine sew down my binding. This is especially freeing when the quilt is meant to be used, not for a show.
My other favorite is crossing the lines when meandering or stippling. Anybody who notices this is looking for trouble.

Lyn G

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