A you know, I have a large collection of Welsh and Durham quilts, all made between 1880 and 1950. The earlier ones are more attractive and lively - the later ones seem a bit dull and "samey". Why is this? It took me a while to discover....
The quilts were largely made by professional quilters who were working as quickly as they could, across the frame (they aimed to make a quilt in a week, possibly two weeks). They couldn't agonise over mistakes, nor could they unroll the quilt to see what they had sewn on the rolled up bit. The result is a lively creativity and sometimes quirkiness - and lovely even stitches. The stitches are not small - they are fairly large (but even) and create a good texture!
I think it is the individuality and creativity of the quilter that makes these earlier quilts so appealling - no two are ever the same - and while the workmanship and stitching are good, the quilter didn't get bogged down in the detail - after all, these quilts were made to be used!
I have heard it said that the old time quilters didn't like stitches to be too small - too "bitty" for their taste - and I can see that very small quilting stitches lack the textural appeal of larger ones. So - don't worry too much about the quilting stitch - just enjoy the process!! Pippa Moss