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

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Reunited and Happy 2016.

Dear Blog,
I am writing this letter because I miss you. I miss posting my finishes. I miss checking in with my works in progress. I miss being connected. I am writing this letter because I didn't know how to come back after being gone for so long. I didn't know how to catch up with the months that we missed. There have been ups and downs. Incredible things have happened and then, I didn't blog. I am so sorry. I am writing this letter because I want to come back to you.

Let me start with a bulleted list of the THINGS that have happened in since I have been gone. I do my best work in lists.

1. I turned 30. This is a big milestone. I am out of my twenties. Time to adult like a pro (higher level amateur?).

2. We bought a house. It is nearly a hundred years old and was under renovation when we bought it. That all means that less than two weeks after my 30th birthday Derek and I moved out of our rental and into a storage unit/friend's house. The friend's house was nice, but the experience was simultaneously the worst and scariest thing I have ever done. The house is pretty much done now (if a hundred year old house is ever really done). It is now glorious and feels like one of the best decisions we have ever made since we decided to get commit ourselves to each other (5 years ago this year!).

3. My job got so stressful. It also got more rewarding. Probably related.

4. I have the best sewing room in the world now. Sorry other sewing rooms out there. Mine is the bomb (also sorry it is not pictured, might need to be the subject of another post and some camera time).

5. I finished some of my favorite quilts ever and then, just like that, I lost all my creativity. I think the energy went straight into the house and the job. It took several months and some real work to find my creative fire again. I only have photos of six finished quilts from 2016 (mostly terrible photos), but I think upon my current count I have actually finished at least ten. That is certainly less than last year, but pretty decent for a year where we moved and I have had been more busy at work than ever before. The real shame is that I have only blogged about three of these! I am so sorry blog.

I am going to stop my list there. I feel like a I need a fresh start. I might try to blog about some of the missing finishes, but I know you will understand if I let them go and free myself from that burden. It is a new year, we are finally living in our new house, and it is time to come back together.

Reunited and it feels so good.

Love and kisses,

PS - No resolutions or words right now. I am just so happy to be here and I just want to enjoy this year and see where this trip around the sun takes me. I know you understand.