Quilting Should Be Considered An Olympic Event


Quilting can be both mentally and physically demanding. So should quilting be considered as an event for the next Olympics? Quilting Contessa covers five reasons.

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Quilting Should Be Considered An Olympic Event

It is easy for non-quilters to think of quilting as just a sewing related hobby. Requiring knowledge in the use of needle, thread and sewing machine to create beautiful, functional works of art from fabric.

Quilting Should Be Considered An Olympic Event


How wrong can they be?

Quilting is an activity that requires a variety of skills that challenge and flex both mind and body. There is a lot more to quilting than dexterity with a needle.

Stitch Ditch


1. Dedication

Quilting requires a certain amount of obstinate resolve. Sometimes, more often than each of us care to admit, quilting doesn't go according to plan. The points don't line up. Stitching in the ditch has gone over the edge. The bobbin ran out. Those mitered corners refuse to be mitered. It is at times like these, that all quilters need to dig deep into their inner stubbornness and refuse to be beaten by fabric or machine. Finishing a quilt isn't just about skill with a needle. It is about the dedication to get the job done.

Machine FMQ


2. Aerobic Exercise

With rows and rows of beautiful fabrics to amble up and down in quilt shops, quilters soon build up an impressive number of steps in a day. Particularly if they are on a shopping excursion visiting lots of different quilting outlets. Then there is all the stretching to feel and select bolts from the displays. Twisting and turning to place them in a shopping cart. Quilting can leave you breathless.


3. Endurance

Cutting out shapes for quilting requires a lot of bending over a rotary cutter whilst applying gentle pressure on the blade guiding it through layers of fabric. It takes time and precision to ensure each half square triangle has accurate points, each Dresden Plate has the same number of segments. All whilst leg muscles, back muscles and hand muscles scream in protest. Well, maybe just twinge a little. Anyway, it takes stamina to cut out enough pieces to make a quilt.


4. Weight Lifting

Many quilters use older, heavy machines. Accurate quilting depends on a reliable and robust machine that doesn't bounce about as it stitches. A rock solid workhorse that can cut through a quilt sandwich like a knife through butter. Although not designed to be portable, many sewing machines are carried around nonetheless. From floor to kitchen table or out to the car for a quilting class or service.

Sewing Machine


5. Mental Agility

Calculating fabric requirements. Working out sizes of blocks for a particular size quilt. Deciding which shade or tone goes well together and in what order. Quilting is the sewing world's answer to a brain teaser set by Mensa.

Quilting really is a full body workout.

In fact, it is a lot like an Olympic Pentathlon. Athletes that take part in Pentathlons are dedicated and prepared mentally and physically to excel at five different events. They go through tough training regimes over years to become the best at what they do.

Quilters have the same drive and determination to see a design progress from idea to fabric to finished quilt. They go through years of practice, fine tuning their cutting skills and sewing prowess.

So the next time someone tells you quilting is just a hobby, you can say it's a quiltathlon and you are in training for the next Olympics.


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A spool or reel that holds thread or yarn for spinning, weaving, knitting, sewing, or making lace.
Half Square Triangle
A triangle that is made by dividing a square in half from corner to corner. This is a very common type of triangle in quilting.
In The Ditch
The process of quilting just next to the seams of a quilt, block or to the very edge of an applique area.

Same As: Stitch In The Ditch
Mitered Corners
Two edges are joined at a 45 degree angle.

Same As: Mitered Border, Mitred Corners
Rotary Cutter
A very sharp tool that looks like a pizza wheel which is capable of cutting through multiple layers of fabric.
Traditional description of a quilt: a sandwich consisting of a Quilt Top, Batting (filling), and a Backing.
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