American Quilters Society (AQS) recently issued their new rules, which includes sizes by category, for their 2017 shows. Regardless of whether they are made for shows, size of quilts meant for display on a wall is an important topic to me. I would particularly appreciate comments back so we can actually have a dialogue about this.
Why is this important? There are a number of reasons:
- They have to fit on the wall of people’s homes and businesses if they are ever going to be anything other than a flash in the pan for showing at quilt shows. I want to sell or give away to family and friends many of my quilts after they have been through their show season, so having them sized for people’s homes and businesses is an important issue.
- I know from my own work that the size is often not a big factor in how difficult, how high the technique, how long a quilt takes to make. Indeed, some of the smaller ones have been the hardest things I have made.
- I believe that is true that a large quilt can have a bigger impact when displayed at a show among a lot of other quilts.
- Larger quilts are more likely to be traditional and are intended to fit on a bed, although show quilts may not be.
- Many quilters, including myself, have difficulties that make creating a large sized quilt nearly impossible.
- Some shows do not award Best of Show (BOS) ribbons to “small” wall quilts. Some of these can be as big as 59 inches in both directions, which is a large size for home displays and still are considered “small”. In these cases, even if they have special prizes for exceptional small wall sized quilts, the financial awards for AQS, at least, are about half the BOS award.
Oddly AQS has a gap between their miniature quilt, which is 24 inches by 24 inches maximum and their small wall quilt, which is 30 inches by 30 inches. They don’t have a square inch requirement, so if your quilt is 27″ x 37″, for instance, they cannot be entered in many of their shows despite the fact they are larger by square inches for the small wall quilt. My Canterbury Knight quilt is 27 x 37 and could never be entered into Paducah, for instance. Houston IQA is more inclusive.
Sew what do I find the ideal size for me to work in? I like to make quilts smaller than about 48 x 48 and larger than 30 x 30. The main reason for that is that my son Ken’s space for photographing my show quilts is 48 x 48, and it’s a really nice size to work in and the AQS 30 x 30 cutoff. Also, I think it can fit on a normal home wall better than anything bigger. while I may make a very small quilt, I am not a miniature show quilter. That is a whole different set of techniques and design and it is not something I wish to get into.
Even for charity quilts a smaller quilt can be good. I once did a survey for my church to find out what an ideal size would be that would serve as a wheelchair quilt, a crib quilt, or a lap quilt, and found to my surprise that the oft touted 36 inches width is sometimes frustrating to people who find it too narrow. So after the survey I found that 40 to 45 inches wide and 45 to 50 inches long makes a very appreciated quilt size that can function for wheelchairs, children’s quilts, and lap quilts. Here’s my little guide I wrote up for the church, if you are interested. It has several easy and quick simple patterns and other information:
Sew happy everyone. I would love to hear from you to tell me what your favorite sizes are for quilt making and what you think about sizes for quilts designed for the walls of homes and businesses?