Thursday, August 9, 2012

Quilting, old style

I have a handful of quilts made by other members of my family.  My sister made me one, my great-aunt made me one, and so forth... Quilting has been a hobby for female family members for generations - and more than a hobby before that. It was  a way of making nice looking, warm bed covers.  These quilts were and are beautiful.  And exceedingly utile.  They had a purpose, and that purpose was to be used.  They were used.  Loved, used, stained, washed, hung up to dry, used in grass as picnic blankets... it in no way denigrates their beauty.

The quilt made by my great-aunt is not made in colors I care for.  But it was made with love, with Gingher scissors and an old sewing machine that was so well-used that it flat out wore out.  It was in a cabinet, but the hinges that held it in place broke.  Instead of getting it fixed, she 'fixed' it herself with two knives wedged into the back to support the machine.  Neither knife is in great shape now, but they still support that old machine!

And the quilt she made for me is still in a place of pride.  It will be shown to the class at the beginning quilter class at the Anvil on Saturday.   It wasn't made with all the fancy tools I have at my disposal.  It was made with an old machine (not even a vintage Singer, oh the horror! [whatever]), with scissors, not a rotary cutter, with any old thread she had lying around.  It was made to be used.

Ultimately, isn't that the origin of quilts?  They are made to be used and loved.  I have no objection to wall quilts, or art quilts, or any of the other kinds of quilts that don't lay on the bed.  But somehow the heart of quilting still beats in those who worked with the simple tools - the things that everyone who sews have: scissors, thread, machine (or their own hands!).  Of the bed quilts I have made, none have used a rotary cutter.  I've never mastered that particular skill.  My machine is newer, but it's still nothing super fancy - I don't need fancy!  And thread.  Fabric from whatever doesn't run away fast enough to escape.  They aren't necessarily traditional quilts, the quilts I make, but neither are they wild and crazy multi-media quilts.  They are just... quilts.   Made to be used, and loved, and dragged around.  Old style, I guess.  Not vintage.  Not antique.  Just old-style.


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