Less is More

Less is more is a design concept that lends itself well to architecture, interior design, and believe it or not: quilting.

Today, many of the quilting magazines feature beautiful quilts, elaborate patterns, multi-piece works of art. You cannot help but admire them and all the time and effort that went into making these works of art!

Don’t get me wrong—I admire those quilts for all that has gone into them. I admire the quilters for project they took on, and how they accomplished all that work!

But, I’m afraid that those kind of quilts are what keep me out of quilt shows. I always feel they are going to win, and often they do!

I am not that style of quilter—I don’t do applique, and I definitely don’t have the time for intricate designs. That is why the design concept of "less is more" appeals to me.

A couple of years ago at a Quilt Show someone did a digital chihuahua. One inch squares, each equalling one pixel in the original photo (the idea came from).

Needless to say, it won the “most pieces used” award! An award the judges created on the spot—just for that quilt!

A really cool quilt!

But definately not a less is more concept!

In a day when time just flies by—work, home, kids, pets and many other things has high priority on the list of gotta-get-done. Something like quilting tends to get shuffled toward the end of the list. it seems there just isn’t enough time left in the day to tackle something that needs a clear mind to put the pieces together. (Although, some people do—more power to them, I say!)

Since quilting to me is a relaxation exercise, I don’t want to “think”—I just want to do.

So if the pattern is complicated, needs to be concentrated on—I’m not interested. I want to see the finished product quickly—or at least some quick progress.

I think that’s why I’m so drawn to the "less
is more" concept of the classic style of
Traditional Quilt patterns. Many of them
have clean no-nonsense lines.

Therefore, I have come to love the “less is more” approach. The fun of it is picking the fabrics because I know they have to work together to make the block “shine”!

When I discovered what I call “the one block only” process, I unleashed my quilting passion. I can complete a wall-size or lap-size quilt in less than a week: cutting to finished product.

Some people might argue that Traditional Quilt Blocks should be assembled into a large quilt that would fit on a bed. Some may argue that what I do is a shortcut, not true quilting. But then again, those same people would go so far as to call artistic quilts “not real quilts” either.

Some might even call it a joke—less is more? One block, one quilt, big pieces—who does she think she is?

Funny, that phrase gets a rise out of Ophra Winfrey every time! She has used it time and again when making the point that someone can do something that others think is improbable. "Who does she think she is?" Well, there is no doubt Miss Winfrey has proven she is whatever she thinks she is.

She is the richest, most influencial celebrity in the world! All because she got over people saying “who does she think she is?”

Okay, so I think


A single traditional block is more beautiful by itself—because it has to say it all, all by itself!

  • One block hasn’t got a bunch of other blocks to help it shine.

  • One block has to use the fabrics and colors to make it stand out.

  • Even if it had clashing colors, they would have to end up looking complimentary—rather than overwhelming the eyes.
Mostly because there is only one block, not several blocks duplicating the cacophony.

Look back at the two Illustrations, notice the difference between the two quilt illustrations—the same Traditional Block.

One has 64 small blocks (which get lost in the secondary design that takes over). The other has the One Block Only with a couple of borders.

In 2006, there came a fantastic concept: A magazine that featured a $100,000 challenge for the winning quilt! During the year, many amazing (beautiful, artistic, imaginative) quilts were featured in the magazine, winners of that quarter’s entries.

Finally they had an on-line judging and then on National Television, announced the winner.

It wasn’t one of the many artistic quilts, pieced quilts or other imaginative quilts. It was a magnificent show of quilting skill, though.

It was an amazing show of simplicity. It is called “Bella” (Italian for beautiful) and it is a beautiful white quilt with its beauty stemming from only the stitching itself. It is called a wholecloth quilt, a style that has come down through the ages and is still popular in England and France, even today.

It is the epitome of Less is More.

If you would like to see and learn more about "Bella" and the new book of the First Year's quilt entries, go to $100,000 Quilting Challenge Magazine. Bella, Less is more!