Saturday, March 29, 2008

The minutes...the hours...the days(warning-soapbox time)

these being one of the ways the human race keeps track of things. It's not a new concept, even animals know the signs of what "is" and what "will be". In thinking about this idea of 'tracking', I realized that quilters do in their own unique way. We 'run the stitches'...or at least we used to. It's a smaller population, these days, than when I started hand quilting in the 1980's.It's hard to explain exactly what I mean by "running the stitches". It relates to the rhythm... Patti knows, and a few others I am aware of. Hand quilting lives on, thank goodness. In the history of quilting, this quilt would not be considered OLD. It's pretty much a "newbie" and would be for many more years. It was quilted in 1986, as part of a class I taught on hand quilting. This closeup is a 2008 picture...thanks to digital!
The quilt in the 1986 picture, definitely FILM. My, oh my, my hair isn't silver in this one...LOL
But then, it was 22 years ago....I suppose that makes a different....for my hair, at least. The quilt hasn't changed much over that 22 years.
This is the quilt this morning, in my little house in the valley, where both the quilt and I live. Has the quilt been used? You bet! Washed in the washing machine with Tide, and dried in the drier? Yup. Certainly not every week, but often enough. Many of the red prints are quite faded with use.
It's a utility quilt. The only beauty you will find in this quilt is the quilting. I zipped up 12" 9 patches, assorted, basted up the top, and began teaching the class. If I had stopped to think I suppose I might have taken time and pieced something worthwhile...but it was a last minute thing for Community Education....and I still had 4 kids in school. Fast was good.
Technically, this top doesn't merit this type of hand quilting. Might as well get your head straight on that one. Some tops merit the time and effort. Some don't. That doesn't stop a person from doing it anyway...just ask me. Over the years, it's NOT a quilt that I have been proud of, nor that I share with others at show and tell. Yes, even the Very Maverick Finn falls prey to the "critics". I'm in tune with knowing what is 'suitable', 'acceptable' and what is just plain embarrassing. But ya know what?(in my best WI accent) I think we ALL need get over that! Everyone has a place where they started. If you don't have humble beginnings,in your quilt making, then you're kidding someone....the critics or just yourself. Very few of us make Baltimore Beauties as an early effort. And lately I've wondered, IF this Almighty Perfection Syndrome is such a big deal, how can those same quilters RAVE about the Gee's Bend quilts? Trust me, the Quilts of Gees Bend were NOT intentionally made as Art Quilts. They were made for USE, WARMTH, and of necessity.
I've been thinking that more of us, with ANY accomplishments in quilting, should be ALOT more tolerant of what new quilters make. We should encourage them, and tell them we all started somewhere, and to be proud of their efforts. Find something to like about the quilt they are showing us. Just plain squares sewn together keep you as warm and dry as a Baltimore Album quilt.
I was blog hopping a day or so ago, and on someone's blog...(please tell me if it was you and I'll put a link)... the blogger asked "what kind of quilts do you like to make???" It got me thinking about what I choose to piece, what I ignore, and WHY....but that's for another post.

15 comments:

QuiltedSimple said...

Great post - gets me thinking. . . I have a top that I hand pieced back in 1996-1997 (a class) and really, really want to hand quilt it, but I'm petrified!! Guess I ought to practice some more, and maybe next winter. . . .

Kris

Norma said...

Amen! I am one of those who is stil struggling to get that quilt that has no "issues". It may never happen. I am not a perfection person in anything I do because after a while I say "to heck with it" and just finish it the way it is. Quilting in its begiinings was never to hang on a wall unless it was to insulate that wall against the cold. So, I am doing my own thing and wish more would. Wish the blogs showed more mistakes and how folks learn from them.

Sweet P said...

I jjust finished a quilt this morning that wouldn't pass a quilt police review. But, I made it for a future grandchild and as long as it gets used and loved I'll be happy.

BTW, it was me who had the post about what kind of quilt do you like to make:
http://coffeetimequiltstudio.blogspot.com/2008/03/what-type-of-quilt-do-you-like-to-work.html

Thanks for stopping by my blog.

Fiona said...

Hi Finn, it's been a while ... too much work and too little quilting! I don't expect that any of my quilts would ever pass muster with the quilt police but I think if I've done my best that's good enough for me. I'm never going to make a really complicated quilt, I don't have the skill or the dexterity for it, but I'm happy making making simple scrappy quilts - they're all going to have flaws - I know I'm never going to make the perfect one, but optimism is what keeps us going, right?

Sue in western Washington, USA said...

Couldn't agree with you more dear friend. But, human beings being what they are, I suspect people like you and I will have to continue our best efforts to educate the masses! (Does that make sense?)

Amelia said...

So enjoyed your outlook on this thing we enjoy so much called "quilting". I quilt to suit myself. No they would not pass on many things if checked out by a "Police quilter" but that is okay. I do it for me and no one else. Quilting makes me "HAPPY". Some find happiness in doing extremely difficult blocks...I want things more simple...I don't need or want that much pressure.
Yes, I do enjoy my hand quilting and I hate to see that portion of quilting going away.

Amelia in Oklahoma

Libby said...

Well, I have to say there is can be no quilt unworthy of hand quilting if that's what you chose to do. All of my first quilts are hand quilted - I didn't know you could use the machine *s* All of that hand quilting was accomplished with a stab stitch and I enjoyed every finger stab. I must admit that I am a little more particular about what I chose to quilt by hand these days - but more often than not as a time constraints come into play. The simplest 9 patch or log cabin block can absoulutely S*I*N*G with just some straight line hand quilting . . . and that's the kind of thing that puts a smile on my face and makes me love quilts and quilting every day. Finn - you do make us think *s*

Granny Lyn said...

The quilt that got me "started" was made by my aunt, a beautiful Lemoyne Star. She told me to use it,wash it, and love it. Boy, have I ever loved it, it has cradled sick babies, wiped tears, wrapped kids in to go to the Emergency Room, and for 50 years, it has been on my bed. That is the kind of quilt I like to make. The fabric, pattern, and comfy-ness of it is what makes my heart sing, not the complexity, or the straight stitches, or the way it hangs on a wall.

Hello, my name is Granny Lyn, and I am a utility quilter!

Teresa said...

Good Sunday morning - a nice blog to read in the quiet relaxing time of a Sunday morning. I enjoyed your thoughts and agree. I hand quilt as well as machine quilt and both give me pleasure. My quilts will never hang at the Houston show or in Paducah - but my family loves them and I get pleasure in making them and that is all that is important to me. Thanks for your thoughts.

dee said...

I wish any of my quilts had stitches that nice...Ha!
It may not look all that nice to you but I think it looks pretty and I love red so very much.That quilting is soooo straight-puts me to shame. Space constraints keep me in the the small quilt catagory. I also lose interest in things when they become too repetative and I think that's what makes the scrappy look a favorite-always something new to look at. Adult ADHD???Yup!Have a lovely Sunday.

meggie said...

Feel very proud of that quilt Finn!! It is beautiful, & the quilting is just lovely.

The Calico Cat said...

Well said. Thanks for making me stop & think. :o)

Does Ebby like it? Now that is the only thing that matters!

Clare said...

Oh my. Wish I could hand quilt like that. It feels as if I've been hand quilting for ages, but have only just finished my third. Stitches getting better each time I hope.

The quilt that changed my views and put me on the road to a life long passion was Tonya's Terms of Endearment and I saw it when I stayed with her - wooo hooo.

Danielle said...

Your stitches are beautiful. I enjoy hand quilting and while my stitches have improved in the past year or so, they have not reached the point where I'm willing to turn to "heirloom" type projects. In the meantime I quilt what I can the way I can, always trying to improve.

It's nice to have a picture of something I can aspire to.

Thanks!

Marcie said...

You make me laugh! When I saw the Gee's Bend quilts on display I said to my friend,"Apparently I use my ruler far too much"! The quilts were dynamic and intrigueing, but most of all touching and a tribute to the strength of the women who made them. A utility quilt has soul, don't you think?