Thursday, May 31, 2012

A Little Discussion on Quilting Styles

Recently, my friend Marilou announced that she cannot make quilts because she is clueless about colors.  I argued with her, knowing that she is a pragmatic person, that quilts can be made from a functional standpoint, too, not just a color scheme or to match a decor.

I've been reading lots of back-issues of Threads, given to me by Rebecca's aunt.

I don't like to see quilting defined as a hobby requiring special tools, clubs, and matching fabric.  People like Marilou and me get confused and give up.

Threads:  Af-American quilt

When I look at the Gee's Bend quilts or other African-American patchwork, I can work again with confidence.  These quilts are so beautiful to my eye because the quilter was using what she had and making beauty within that.  I can do that, too! 

that quilting pattern

I recognize this approach from my grandma and other Mennonite grandmothers.  I can't imagine Grandma Weaver carrying around swatches to fabric stores to get exact matches in order to make a quilt to a color scheme.  She used what people gave her or what she found in the second-hand shop where she worked.  My sister has a weirdly beautiful yellow quilt to prove it.

Threads:  Af-American quilt

I admire the technical prowess in planned matched quilts with intricate quilting, but they do not move me.  Whereas, when I see a quilt made from real odds and ends, my heart melts.

2 vintage quilts - love the quilting patterns

I'm working on a wallhanging right now, something I swore I would never do because most quilted wallhangings I have seen are too cute or too clumsy.  Either commit to a whole quilt or just hang a darn picture on the wall!
vintage quilt

However, I acquired three orphan quilt blocks in the Mennonite-Grandma-Weaver style that needed to stand alone as art.  I'm adding some stitching, embroidery actually.  I'm eager to show them to you next week, after they accompany me on my travels for work.


Dianna said...

I agree with you—I prefer quilts that are made from scraps and what's on hand, not with specially purchased fabric. Making a quilt from scraps is very satisfying (although I've only made one).

Tracy said...

I don't love cutesy, that's for sure, but I do love the warmth of a small quilt hanging on the wall.

I love the patchwork quilts, too. They seem so homey!

Unknown said...

Amen Sister! I totally agree with you! Quilts have always been about using up scraps to keep your family warm and making beauty out of what's on hand - the memories held in the fabric used...

Jennifer Jo said...

Where are you traveling to? Harrisonburg, by any chance?

I agree with you about all the quilt matching---it seems weird and over-wrought. Quilts are for using up leftover bits of fabric.

Margo said...

JJ, I'm traveling for work to New York and Washington. Wish I was coming to the Shenandoah Valley!

Sara said...

Margo, this is so encouraging. Sometimes I read too many design-y craft-y blogs and forget why I'm doing all this.

Have a great trip - I've lived in both of those places, and don't miss them, although they are fun to visit.

Sew Blessed Maw [Judy] said...

Nothing more beautiful , than a tiny block or strip quilt, made from the many sewing scraps saved from every sewing item.
Our mothers and grandmothers ,saw the beauty of all the wonderful mixture of colors and so do I.
Thankyou for sharing.
My mama is in a wheel chair now, and can't sew or do the quilting she always loved to do.. She gave me one of the last quilts she made.She took and traced my grandmothers hand shape and then took scraps [all different colors] and cut out Grandmothers hands. She then appliqued them on blocks and put the blocks together with more scraps.. NO matchy, matchy..just what she had. It is a very prized possession of mine.