Saturday, March 13, 2010

Quiltmaking Modern and Historical

So I got both the books I ordered from Amazon and there are some really nice projects in them. I especially like the I Love Patchwork with the zakka sewing projects. There is a cute little sewing kit and some coasters with a little box to hold them as well as pillows and quilts and other stuff. Plus the book shows using linen for the neutral solid instead of the more traditional muslin, and I really like that a lot. I do see myself using the book quite a bit, both for the patterns and as a source of inspiration. I like the Denyse Schmidt book, too, but as I was reading the introduction it occurred to me what the different generational outlook in quiltmaking might be. She talks about how younger women have seen quilting as a hobby that their mothers and grandmothers have taken up, and that younger women want to change the hobby to make it more modern. What she doesn't mention anywhere is that most of the women from my generation who quilt started because they admired the quilts from the past that our grandmothers made, and that the real reason women quilted in the past is because they had to. It was essential to save and use every little piece of fabric because it was hard to come by. And at the same time, by cutting and sewing all those little geometric pieces together, not only were you using every scrap you were also showing off your sewing skills. It's not easy to make 8 diamond points come together perfectly, and then fit in squares and triangles to make a square block. I think in this age of over consumption the spirit of making do and using up is almost gone from quiltmaking. Every fabric manufacturer comes out with 100's of new fabric lines every year, and we all rush to the store to buy them. Denyse Schmidt has her own fabric lines, and while she isn't pushy about them in her book, it's an inescapable fact. And I'll say I have been guilty of buying fabric indiscriminately myself. I worked in fabric stores for 10 years and it was just way too easy. However, it is nice to see the amount of young women who are going to thrift stores for their fabric source these days. So while the designs are becoming more modern, maybe it will be able to stay true to it's roots of using up and making do as more and more women are making responsible choices for the environment. It will be interesting to see what happens in the next few years I think.
I got 8 ounces of the nicest roving for Melissa for my birthday. I started spinning it at mom's yesterday but I had to leave my wheel over there because of space issues in the car so I don't have pics. I'll take some later on today after I bring it home and post them then.

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