I make art quilts now primarily to first show them and then sell them (or give them away). I think that these two goals slightly conflict with each other. I believe most people would find wall quilts wider than about 50 inches just simply too big for most homes or offices today. Normally, smaller is better for sale items. Shows, however, seem to not see it that way, and I kind of understand that, since when they are in the show the impact is increased by the size for the most part. I have been quite surprised, however, when I have made a quilt that is around 50 inches wide, which seems fairly large at home in my studio, and then go to the show to see it in place where it seems really small hanging there. Nevertheless, I think the sizes I end up with are right for the styles and may make them more possible to sell later. So you see, I have a bit of an argument with myself about sizes. Just so you can see, I usually size my quilts to fit within the American Quilting Society’s guidelines because, truly, they are the least flexible. Here are next year’s categories with sizes.
Another consideration is the physical challenge of dealing with large quilts. The older and creakier I get the more difficult I find large bed-sized quilts to make, but it helps that I have a large table for my main machine (Bernina 830LE) and my sit-down longarm (Bernina Q20) with a large table. So I really can work up to about 60 x 60 with no problems. Currently, I am working on my Bayou quilt, which is 60 inches wide and 30 inches long. The original art work I am working with is 30 x 15, so when I enlarged it to a size that would be a good show quilt, I had no choice other than 60 x 30 if I were to keep the aspect ratio the same and meet AQS specifications. Why is that? Well, I want to enter it into AQS Virginia Beach 2018. As you can see, if it is any wider than 60 inches it moves to the large quilts category that has a minimum of 60 inches long. If it is any narrower than 60 inches the length would becomes shorter than the required 30 inches.
Normally, I get the design worked out and decide how I am going to approach making it and then enlarge the design to a showable and saleable size. I kind of aim at 40 to 50 inches wide, which is really a small quilt for most shows, but it also is a nice size for most walls. I might try making a few of the AQS Fiber Art wall quilt sizes this year (24 to 40 inches wide by 24 to 60 inches long). As a matter of fact, most of my Ancient Manuscript series fit within this size, but as you see, not all their shows support this size.
And finally, some consideration must be given to the cost of fabric. If I am making a quilt all in silks, I want to use high quality silk fabric and that is expensive. So smaller is more affordable.
I would love to start a discussion about wall quilt sizes. What sizes do you think are the best, in general, and do you think the shows should set their sizes by specified width and length groups or by either perimeter inches or square inches, which would allow an ancient manuscript that is 27 x 37 into the wall quilt categories that would not be allowed now? Or maybe it doesn’t really matter to you, just so you can make your quilt like you want it. What do you think are the ideal parameters for wall art quilts for home or office?
Sew happy everyone. Make yourself a beautiful piece of fabric art for your wall, or make them for gifts. They make wonderful presents if you know they would fit in the lives of the people you give them to (give that some serious consideration before giving them a quilt). Also, check out my quilts on my website (link at top of this blog). I have revamped my site slightly so you can really see the quilts better. The prices and sizes can also be found there.