The AQS (American Quilt Society) show is in Grand Rapids this week and I went opening day with Friend Marilyn, and will return tomorrow with another friend. The quilts are beautiful but tastes vary. Marilyn decided there should be a designation between "quilt" and "fiber art." And we debated whether an art quilt should even be considered "art." And yes, it should. Fabric can be a medium just as paints or clay or steel. It's hard to make some people in the art world understand that.
I don't want to upset my quilt friends by saying that this machine quilting thing has grown beyond what I would consider being able to say of a finished piece, "I made this!" Not if you have a super duper computerized long arm machine that you program and then walk away from. And wow, we saw some things that could launch the space shuttle.
My quilting is simple. In the beginning I pieced by hand, cut templates for everything, drew 1/4 inch lines and pinned and stitched where I happened to be. Couch, back porch, etc. Applique scared me to death till I made a baby quilt for Elizabeth and it was all applique. After that one, I had enough practice to be comfortable. But I don't glue, bond, iron on or machine applique. I do needle turn. I like it. It's soothing.
My little machine is a beginner. One you might buy for your granddaughter when she turns 9 or 10. It has a straight stitch, a zig zag and maybe a buttonhole. Not sure. I use it to put binding on - which I used to do by hand, also. And if I'm making something simple, triangular, straight, then I give in to the machine. But the rest is done by hand.
None of this makes me a hero or better quilter than you or you or you. I am just not comfortable with a machine, sitting at one for a long time makes my neck or back hurt, we don't get along. And to tell the truth, stitching by hand is relaxing.
I try not to be judgmental of the machiners but after walking through the vendors yesterday I told Friend Marilyn that the one word that seems to pop out of most stalls was "quick." Quick cut! Quick sew! Quick applique! Quick quilts! Glue it down, zigzag it on and send it off to the computer to quilt for you. Yikes. It made me sad.
I don't put out a lot of quilts because I do quilt by hand, sitting in my comfy big butt chair that lets me fit the lap hoop right onto my lap, pins sticking out of the upholstered arm, Ott light to my left. The quilts I make will never hang on a wall. Mine are used on our beds, covering us at night watching a little TV or reading a book. They're dragged out into the yard and used as tents, they're hung over ottomans, chairs and stools as tents, they're dragged through the house and cover little laps with bowls of popcorn tucked in the folds.
And they're soft.
They were beautiful and homey in their simplicity, in their teensy detail, in their scrappyness.
These little hexies were the size of a thumbnail. Perfect.
OK, so my observation is made, my preferences noted. That doesn't make me right and a machine piecer and quilter wrong. Fresh in my mind after yesterday's show, it's just a preference. Like the fork I like to eat with (ask daughter and PH about THAT one!) or liking my Coke out of a fountain instead of a can. These are thoughts FM and I talked about as we walked around yesterday. We saw everything from the tent makers of Cairo to sparkles to the quilts above. In the end, whatever else we are, we are quilters.
(Are you still my friends????)
This is the best time of the year to eat!