Sunday, April 26, 2015

Why Do We Quilt?

Why are you a quilter? Is it because you enjoy the social aspects of it, being part of a group, or participating in show and tell, or displaying your latest masterpiece in a quilt show? Do you like to be recognized for your hard work, your intricate designs, your prowess with a needle? Are you a hand quilter who concentrates on getting more stitches per inch so as to be considered a "master quilter?" Do you enjoy machine work where you can overcome some of the disadvantages of working on a machine and learn to appliqué by machine or machine quilt the layers together?

Is quilting an emotional outlet, a way to pass time after the loss of a child, parent, or spouse? Do you quilt so "your heart won't break?" Do you choose patterns that have lots of pieces so you can keep track and set a record for the number of pieces in your pieced quilt? Do you like to use scraps from family member's clothing as a way to remember them? Do you use quilting as a means of political expression or to honor specific politicians? Do you include words on the surface of your quilt so others may better understand your viewpoints?

Do you like to include thread painting of animals on your quilts, a trend we are seeing lately in shows? Do you make multi-media quilts whereby part of the design is hand-painted, or embroidered?
Do you make "sane" quilts or "Crazy Quilts"...that is traditional pieced or appliquéd quilts or Victorian style quilts that are asymmetrically-pieced and often embroidered heavily. Do you make quilts that are humorous and likely to make others smile?

Do you work exclusively in one style of quilting, such as Hawaiian quilting, or do you branch out to other types of quilts? Are you an artist who uses quilting as a medium but are not a quilter, first and foremost? How concerned are you with creating pleasing color palettes or using precision in your work? Do you make quilts to sell? Do you finish quilts made by other people either by hand quilting or long arm machine quilting?

"Country Bride" quilt; Rachel Pellman pattern; queen size; hand appliquéd, hand quilted, scalloped edge;
made by Patricia L. Cummings. This was quilted to pass the time during "Desert Storm."
Will your work outlast you, or do you hope that it will? Are you careful about whom you give your work to, making sure that person will be a good caretaker of your creation? People quilt for many reasons and quilts survive whether attributed or not. Sometimes, in the heat of exchange by dealers, names of quilters get lost. This is a reason to document your own quilts with an identifying tag.

Those are a lot of questions to consider? I would hope that quilters think about the process and why they like to quilt. Many would say they quilt for "fun." We all love the finished products but quilting is not all that easy. To make beautiful quilts requires expertise and experience. We wish you joy in the endeavor of quilting. With so many quilters out there, including grandmothers who are making quilts for their grandchildren or anticipated great-grandchildren, there must be something to this thing we call "quilting." Quilts: wrap yourself in their love and feel the intensity of emotion that goes into making each one. Happy Quilting!

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