Thursday, August 18, 2011

What kind of Quilter am I?

The following contains excerpts of an excellent newsletter from Quilt University. www.QuiltUniversity.com    A great place for on-line classes if you haven't discovered them already.  I have put the parts from their newsletter in italics, and I do have their permission to repeat their thoughts here.  I thought it was a great thought-provoking and introspective article. 
If I asked what kind of quilter you are, how would you answer?  A dear friend of mine told me I couldn’t call myself a quilter until I had at least five unfinished projects under the cutting table.  If that is true, I think I qualify to be three quilters by now!   

Can you remember when you actually finished one project before starting another?  I don’t honestly think I ever did!  The fabrics and patterns became very insistent, shoving each other and jostling to the front of the line, screaming "me next!!"  That was pretty hard to resist.  Soon my sewing room had UFO’s everywhere.

At the same time, there were new books, each one showcasing beautiful projects and new techniques.  How could I keep quilting if I didn't learn it all?  I became a technique junkie, afraid I might miss the one magic trick that would change my quilting life forever. 

Pretty soon, I began designing my own quilt patterns.  This came as much from a personality flaw as from any great urge to be a designer.  It seems I am constitutionally incapable of following directions for any length of time. 

Have you recognized yourself yet?  Let's look at some other kinds of quilters.  First, there are those who are just stopping by, trying this as they have tried decoupage or knitting.  They usually move on after a quilt or two. This was not me.....I got into quilting because four friends that I made lace with challenged me to take it up.  I said I was not good with math, not good with color, and I couldn’t afford it......I was right on the I couldn’t (or shouldn’t) afford it!

Then there are those who see themselves as part of a great tradition.  They are interested in making a quilt for each member of their family because that's what grandma did.  They often stick with traditional patterns and methods.  A subset of these quilters are the ones who are driven to recreate quilts from the past.  They often search out vintage fabrics to work with.  If old fabrics are not available, they buy reproductions.  They want their quilts to look old.  They value the historical aspect of quilting above any new explorations.
This is most definitely NOT me! 

Some quilters just like to sew.  They enjoy handling the fabric and seeing the patterns.  Their real love is the process.  They like to keep their hands busy and making a quilt gives them an outlet and produces a useful product. This description is definitely a part of me!

For some, their favorite part is the quilting.  They lavish endless hours on marking and quilting, taking up to a year creating tiny little stitches.  They are creating heirlooms to be kept and treasured.
NOT! 

Then there are the explorers.  They want to learn it all, do it all and then change it all.  They use a bit of this and a dab of that, mix it with their own ideas of what a quilt should be and add new depth and richness to an old tradition.  They often become teachers because quilting has taken over their lives.  They need to support their habit, but they also feel driven to bring others into the fold.  I'm not sure if this is an urge to share or a variation on misery loves company, but nothing makes a teacher happier than watching a new student share her addiction.
Now we’re beginning to describe my quilting life! 

Finally, there are those who make art quilts.  Sometimes they are explorers who have moved in this direction.  For others, they were artists in another medium and have moved to fabric from painting or drawing.  Some even come from dimensional art like sculpture and they experiment with ways to make fabric dimensional.

So, who am I?  Like many, a combination of most of the above!  This summer we’ve been working on an addition to our house which is for my parents to live in, which you’ll know if you’ve read my earlier posts.  This week the electrician found a wire that was live in the crawl space, but not connected to anything.  In order to fix that, he needed to get at a plug in the back wall of my sewing room, behind my fabric storage unit.  He asked if I could move all that out of there while they had lunch so that he could access it!  I said a bad word!  But I did it!  And in these photos you can see the results of my obsessions.....it takes great organizational skills to keep all this stuff where you can find it when you need it......and I don’t have them!  Here's a little video to show you just how it looked!

video
However, the happy outcome of this rather frustrating day was that everything got tidied up and reorganized and I actually got some sewing done this week, as opposed to painting, staining, digging, sweeping and all the other construction related interruptions!