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I made my first quilt in 1973 while pregnant with my second daughter. My mother and grandmother both quilted but had not taught me, so I really began from scratch. I wanted a quilt to cover her bassinet, it was awful but it kept her head from rubbing the woven bassinet. My next attempt was a crib quilt for her but I had no one to tell me how large to make it. I measured the mattress and made it that size. Sunbonnet Sue and Overall Sam with no room to cover the baby. It just lays flat on the mattress. To say I have learned a lot, is an understatement.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Stop the car, I want to go to the quilt show

When I first opened The Quilters Quarters I often wrote articles on quilting for our local newspaper, sometimes including a free quilt block pattern. I recently came across some old files and thought I would share some of these articles with you from time to time.

"Stop the car, I want to go to the quilt show" was published on September 10, 1999.

When I was a child, my family drove on vacations and my brother, who just loved fireworks, would watch for road signs and yell, "Stop Daddy, fireworks for sale, stop". It became a family joke. We still yell at him when we see a fireworks stand.

Today, my family could laugh about my thoughts of, "Stop, a quilt show, stop". I want to go to every quilt show possible. Quilters and non-quilters flock to quilt shows for a wide variety of reasons.

The primary reason, I believe, is that everyone relates to quilts. Someone in almost every family quilted in past years, either a grandmother, mother, or beloved aunt or friend. A quilt represents a slower, peaceful time in our lives; a warm cozy hug in which to wrap ourselves.
They also provide a visual feast: the soft, faded colors of antique quilts draw us back to cool evenings at grandma's house where the heat was not good, but we slept snug-as-a-bug under layers of handmade warmth.

The quilts of our "polyester era" provide us with a chuckle much like viewing an Austin Powers movie...did we really wear that stuff? And those colors? Yikes!

The newer quilts made from the exciting new colors and patterns are so lovely we can get lost in them. The quilters who visit quilt shows get caught up in various thought patterns.

We analyze each one for beauty, form, technical accuracy, and design. We mentally file away those that we would like to make for ourselvse and those we are certain we could never make.

The non-quilter sees a painting where the artist used fabric as a medium and often wonders, "how did they do that?". But the quilter knows.

The quilt show is both alive with activity and people, but at the same time often as hushed as a church or library. The quilts inspiring reflection and admiration also muffle sounds as they hang in rows for the pleasure of the viewers.

Yes, a quilt show is a delight, but a quilt show is also the final product of a tremendous amount of planning, thought, hard work, and dedication from a large number of volunteer workers. As you leave the next quilt show, please take a minute to thank the volunteers and the quilters, let them know how much you have enjoyed the opportunity to relax in their efforts. And if asked, take some time to volunteer the next time someone is organizing a quilt show. It really is quite an experience.

When I first wrote this 10 years ago, I did not think about the fact that each of us has an opportunity to go to a quilt show any day of the week. All we need do is visit our local quilt shop, they are filled to capacity with new and exciting quilts to view, enjoy and yes, make. You can visit many quilt shows without ever leaving your home, just go on-line and look at the displays on the quilt shop websites. I can't think of a better way to give myself some "visual candy" and looking beautiful quilts.

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