Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Why I quilt and #quiltconreject

Why do we quilt?

Why cut up fabric and sew it back together? Why do we do elaborate things with fabric when we could just sew together simple squares and the final product would be just as warm?

Quilting is a meditation for me, a meditation about creation. It is something I devote time and energy to because the craft makes me feel good.

I was reading Uppercase Magazine (January 2015, Issue 24), editor Janine Vangool interviewed Denyse Schmidt. In this interview Schmidt discussed why she started quilting, "The tangible record of time and effort I held in my lap, versus the ephemeral nature of what I produced day to day was a revelation."

That is it.



Sometimes a quilt is not designed or pieced, it is built block by block. I feel a little like a mason building a brick wall. It is not improv, per se, I used rulers and traditional blocks with precise point. It was a journey, I did not know what the finished project would look like until the end.



I chose traditional blocks to reference our heritage as quilters. I am so proud of my quilting fore bearers and I like to think they stitched up beautiful designs both for the practical and aesthetic reasons. Just like me, beauty was created for beauties sake. The quilting is done by both machine and hand. It felt important to make this personal quilt even more personal by adding handwork.

It also felt important to take my time. Quick quilts and easy patterns have their place (I personally love them!). A quilt that takes time is special, it means something when you stop and contemplate your work. We don't have to do this. If I needed a blanket, I could sew some squares together (something I have done and loved), but devoting oneself to a project gives it more meaning. It is almost like I stitched part of myself into this quilt.



I put my name on the front of this quilt. It felt so permanent and personal. It is also a statement on the art and craft of quilting. Quilting is an art that generations of women have perfected and loved, it is also an art that has often been ignored and under valued (I am sorry men, not trying to leave you out, but quilting has been long considered women's work and has been undervalued in the way that tasks considered "feminine" often are). Stories of finding intricately pieced antique quilts with no name or date are so common. On a quilt that is all about the maker and the process of making should include placing the person on the front with the design.



This quilt was rejected from Quilt Con 2016.

I am not going to lie and tell you I was not disappointed. I poured my heart and soul into the construction of this quilt. It was a passion project that took me weeks and months to complete. I do not, however, make my quilts for showing. I made this quilt because I had something to say, I needed to make this quilt.

I know that many fantastic quilts were accepted and rejected from the show at Quilt Con and I try not to derive self worth from a jury decision. Sure, it still stings. I am writing this here in case you were rejected from a show. I think it is okay to admit to being bummed. We want to be cheerful cheerleaders for our buddies who are showing quilts and the craft that we love! You didn't submit a quilt unless you loved it and believed in it. It is hard to hear a "no".



The good news is, this quilt lives in my house and I still love it. I am happy with my concept and design and I would not change a thing.


Quilt Stats:
Name: Why I Quilt 
Size: 65" x 70"
Pattern: my own, many traditional blocks included...
Fabric: Many stash fabrics, mostly from the scrap bins (as an aside, how do these bins never look smaller!)
Quilting: Straight lines by machine with Aurifil and hand quilting using Finca thread and some Aurifil Floss. 
Finished: August 2015


17 comments:

  1. Beautiful, thoughtful post. Your "tangible record" is stunning....and you and your family will treasure it for years - whether it showed at Quilt Con or not! Thanks for sharing what so many of us feel, but perhaps find difficult to put into words.
    quiltnsrep(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  2. I started putting labels on my quilts after browsing through a book and seeing so many older quilts with 'anonymous' as the maker. It got me thinking how, after I'm long gone, what if a quilt I make is found in an attic? Or a great-great-grandchild stumbles upon one and nobody can remember that I made it? I wanted evidence that I made it. That Jennifer took the time to love and cut and stitch a quilt. I like your tangible record, it really is a unique way of labeling and recording that you were here. :) This is a lovely quilt with an intriguing message behind it, awesome job!

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  3. You should love it!!!! This is a great quilt, and I'm a little bummed it didn't get into QuiltCon too. :) But, it's lovely, and a perfect size for snuggling with a good book and a drink of your choice, for many, many years to come. :D

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  4. It is a wonderful quilt. The fact that it didn't get in to Quiltcon doesn't in any way reflect on that. It's beautiful, and meaningful - what more could anyone want?!

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  5. PoMo quilts represent! This is one of my favourites (it's hard to compete with the origami crane one)
    Have you listened to the While She Naps podcast with Luke Haynes? Always sign on the front ;)
    <3 <3

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  6. Your quilt is beautiful. We quilt for the same reasons. Thank you for putting it into words

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  7. The quilt is beautiful and inspiring.............I know it has inspired me to do something, to leave a "tangible record." Thanks you for sharing.

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  8. It's beautiful! I love it. Thank you for sharing. Mary

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  9. I love your story. I too want there to be a tangible record that I was here, but for some reason, I never ever label the quilts I make. Perhaps I will make a quilt with my name on it!

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  10. Thank you SO much for putting into words what I feel and believe with all my heart.

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  11. Your quilt is stunning. I admit that right now I'm swept up in the Hamilton musical crush (like everyone else!), so I'm processing a lot through that lens these days. One of the themes and songs in the show is "Who lives, who dies, who tells your story" because it was Hamilton's wife Eliza who worked so hard to establish Alexander's legacy after he died. If not for her, he'd be a forgotten founding father and the musical has a counter theme of the role of women in history. I love that this ties into your quilt - you are establishing your own legacy with this quilt - you're telling your own story. Bravo to you and amazing job!

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  12. A beautiful quilt with a wonderful message. I am disappointed I will not get to see it at the show. It deserves to be there.

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  13. Before I say how cool, fun and awesome your quilt is, I just want you to know how much I appreciate you sharing your story! I loved it! And had your quilt made it into Quiltcon, I am not sure that you would have shared your heart about this quilt in the same way. Thank you!

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  14. It's a wonderful quilt and a wonderfully uplifting post. Thanks for sharing!

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  15. I have only just found a link to this page...your quilt is amazing. I love everything about it, I really like your strong feelings about why you have made this quilt and why you have put your name on the front. Layout & fabrics are so pleasing to the eye. Thank you for sharing & your honesty about being rejected by QuiltCon.

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  16. I reached this point just searching for a pattern. I'm a newbie, full of frustrations, always willing to be at home to sew. I understand your feeling. Congrats, you're a winner for many of us already

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