Thursday, May 12, 2011

Back in the ring, to take another swing

from "You Shook Me All Night Long" by ACDC

Yes, I am once again opening the door between studio and blogland. Life has settled, or reasonably so and I am able to both gather my thoughts as well as share them via Blogger.

The past few weeks have been quite busy. We (hubby and I) took a road trip to visit friends (one of whom is opening a quilt shop!!!!), we have had his hospitilaztion over Easter for kidney stone, my mother's birthday, Mother's Day with both mothers and our son came home for a visit before summer school.

In the last week, I have been able to spend more time sewing, working to finish my UFOs. I have finished a large Twister quilt, Lil Twister wall hanging, wrote a pattern for Lil Twister wall hanging (which I am teaching this June), and finished a large art quilt. It is nice to get some completion.

Here's the quilt I finished:

66" square, fabrics are from a Moda Layer Cake "Collection for a Cause - Hope" along with the beige and brown paisleys from 108" backing fabric I got at Joann's.

So, I have been pondering what kind of quilter I am.

First, I love fabric. As I say in my profile, I am a jacquard textile designer by day. As a jacquard designer, I design not just the surface graphic, but also the weave structures that make the pattern. I am surrounded daily by yarn, swatches, lint, and color. And I consider myself to be fortunate to make a living from my passion.

So, I love many motifs. I find it hard to commit to one single style (such as Civil War, Modern Graphic, Batik) since I love them all!

Next, I love the repetion involved in making a quilt. The zen/flow state I achieve when cutting and piecing is very relaxing and I actually crave it. I am not much for applique, but I have done it. I know artistically we change and evolve our aesthetics over time, and right now I am in a "square" place. But I love how the Twister tool takes squares and makes them into more interesting squares.

Am I a traditional quilter or a modern quilter? Well, I made my first quilt 27 years ago, before the birth of my first nephew. I pieced the blocks on a hand-me-down old black Singer and hand quilted using a large embroider hoop. But I love my rotary cutter, and my templates, and pre-cuts! And my adoration of machine quilting is a given.

I love a sense of completion, so I enjoy simple patterns that have a visual impact. But I also enjoy getting lost in a project. I love introducing friends to this cult of quilting so I really appreciate ways to make it simple and inviting instead of overly complicated and intimidating.

I really love the commraderie of the quilting world. I have found quilt-friends (via internet, travel and quilt shops) all over this wonderful world. Most quilters love it so much they want to share and spread this love around. I want to be one of these quilters.

But like every other segment of the human population there are bullies, haters and those so insecure and bitter due to some other part of their lives. I try to be kind and accepting. And if that doesn't work, I avoid them. I have been in quilt shops where I walked in and immediately felt like one of the "girls" and in other shops where the clerks sniffed disapprovingly as if I did not know the secret handshake. I do not take this to heart. There are more shops out there that want me as a customer.

So why this manifesto? Well, I have read a bit in blog-land about others thinking quilting has been "dumbed-down". And I have seen letters to the editors of quilt magazines complaining that projects are too simple.

I think too many have forgotten the history of quilting, in the common world at least. Remember, our ancestors made quilts from scraps, not the latest fabric line. They often used twine to quilt, not silk-finished and mercerized thread. And more than one used common feed sacks for the backing. I even have a Depression era quilt that has a tobacco sack backing and was quilted with tobacco twine. Does this diminish the beauty? Heck, no!

Our ancestors often taught themselves quilt patterns from copying one they saw. Many could not read, so simple shapes were used to create lasting objects of both utility and beauty.

I do not want this post to cause more controversy, but I needed to get it out. There is so much to see in the quilting world and we can learn so much from each other. Lets dwell on the beauty and successes of each other. Lets encourage new quilters and respect more seasoned quilters. Lets be open to a new method and lets revisit the old for new insights.

Most of all, lets make quilts, not war!

1 comment:

Jenny said...

This dumbing down thing is crazy making and annoying. If the patterns and techniques are too easy, make up your own pattern and technique. So many new quilters are getting too attached to picking a line and spitting out a quilt from a pattern. Very little thought and mental effort is in there unless one puts it in.