David defines quilting as cutting up perfectly good pieces of fabric into small pieces and sewing them together again. Of course I think it’s way more than that.
One thing I’ve come to realize about quilting is that it’s mostly a gift culture. A gift culture is a very special way of exchanging items. Things are not bartered, traded or sold, but rather given away, without an agreement for immediate or future reward. (Excluded from this are the vast sums spent in fabric stores by quilters adding to their ‘stash’.)
Very often finished quilts are given away to friends, family or community. And frequently fabric, equipment, and, in particular, knowledge and ideas, are shared freely with quilters.
I made this quilt for a friend’s baby boy, Beckham. The interesting part of the process for me was designing it on my computer using Microsoft Paint. It took only a few minutes on the computer and the final product ended up looking remarkably similar to the initial design—not always the case for my quilts which often morph as they progress.
The following quilt is made from cozy flannel that I found in Arizona and is unlike anything I’d seen here in Canada or on-line. I had in mind the cabin belonging to our friends and neighbours, John and Jorge, when I bought it. It was perfect, in a rustic cottagey kind of way.
At the time I thought I was making a quilt entirely different from the batik paper-pieced quilt that preceded it (pictured in my November 2016 guest blog). After having the new flannel for a short while I realized with surprise that the colour scheme was exactly the same as the batiks’.
I don’t always use patterns as I usually prefer to design my own quilts. However this twister’ pattern appealed to me and seemed perfect for the flannel. A special cutting ruler is needed for it—a fellow quilter was happy to lend me hers.
A cushion for my friend, Pat, and another for my daughter, Emily, were two smaller quilting projects.
The quilt below is a special one made for an island mom when her new baby was born. Grandma distributed squares to twelve of us to quilt in a mom and baby animal theme. Cooperative quilts like these have been made quite a few times to celebrate island events.
My very first quilt included Sashiko stitching (shown in the previous blog). I am still intrigued with this stitching so there is a new quilt in the works for which I have done some very non-traditional Sashiko work and purchased some authentic Japanese fabric.
Thanks to my old (length of friendship not age!) friend, Joy, http://www.avintagegreen.com/ I am the proud owner of a Singer Featherweight sewing machine. Joy is an antique dealer who found this machine and generously gifted it to me—I will be eternally grateful. It is the premier sewing machine for quilters as it is light to carry and clicks along stitching a perfect stitch year after year. Mine was made in 1952, the year I was born, so I feel a special affinity for it.
The older hand-operated Singer (below) was perfect when David and I lived on boats many years ago. I could repair sails easily, even if we were under way. It was a gift from another friend who was clearing out his parent’s home. Even though it comes with a lovely wood carrying case it is not remotely portable—it weighs a ton.
The sewing machine I use as much as the Featherweight is a trusty Jenome. I don’t know its age but it’s at least 20 years old. I bought it when my daughter’s school was replacing their machines. I have no plans to get a new computerized model.
This quilting table (with the beginnings of a quilt for David and my first grandchild laid out on it!) was a gift from a fellow islander when a family member, who was an avid quilter, died. I never met her but I have been told stories, by her friends, of a vibrant and outgoing woman. I feel that I am getting to know her a little by using her things and I think of her often when I’m sewing.
In my first guest blog I left readers with a request to help give my quilt “Walking On Sunshine” movement and life. I took some of your suggestions to heart and did a lot of hand-quilting in turquoise on the quilt. It gives it new vibrancy and texture to the point that I now really like it. I like it so much, in fact, that I recently gave it to a friend whose name it seemed to be calling.
As you can see, I have gifted quilts and received equipment and more. But by far the greatest gift to me has been from the women of the Quadra Quilting Guild that I joined two years ago. They have all graciously shared their extensive knowledge and expertise, patiently answering my never-ending questions and Michelle even tuned up my Featherweight for me! They exemplify the gifting society. Maybe David will be willing to amend his definition of quilting?