National Sewing and Quilting Month

I found out, a bit late in the game, that September is National Sewing and Quilting Month.  I wanted to do something to mark the occasion before the month completely passes me by, so I decided to write an extra post.  (Three posts this week!  I swear, posting is kind of addictive, but with everything else that’s going on, I have to squeeze it in here and there.)

I want to share with you an exercise I did last month, a way of thinking about one’s quilting style.

Last month my mom and I went to a different quilt guild than my usual.  I mentioned that when we went on the quilt retreat in March it had been the retreat for a different guild, which has overlapping membership with my guild.  We went with our friend A, who organizes the retreats and all the excursions for multiple guilds.  (She is a delightful bundle of energy and we’re so lucky to have made her acquaintance and now count her as our friend.)  The guild we went to is a modern guild, but they were very welcoming to visitors, and as I mentioned Mom and I already know some of the ladies.  Our friend M is also part of the guild.  The guild meets on weeknights, and it’s a bit of a hike for both of us, so the summer was the only time my mom could make it (she’s a teacher).  I’d love to go to their meetings regularly, but I got home really late because of train delays, so we’ll see.

I like modern quilts, so I enjoyed the show and tell.  People showed off their Michael Miller challenge quilts, and I loved to see how the fabric collection inspired everyone differently.  I love some of the prints in that collection, too – so cute and bright.

What I found most interesting was an exercise they did at the meeting, a discussion prompted by a lecture they’d had the month before.  A lady had given them a lecture on how to evaluate modern quilts and what constitutes modern quilts, which the ladies in the guild thought was far too restrictive.  They’re a very relaxed group when it comes to what is or isn’t modern – they make what they like and everyone appreciates it.  They had a bit of a discussion and then we did an exercise where we thought about what kind of quilters we were.  I believe it was based on a post by Amy at stitchedincolor from last year, but I’m not 100% sure.

First, we made two columns, “I like” and “not for me.”  We brainstormed words.  My “I like” list was long: bold, colors, bright, scrappy, prints, polka dots, Asian-inspired, beautiful prints, colorful, blue, pink, red, yellow, orange, some purple, some green, contrast, busy, pretty, gifts.  My “not for me” list was a little shorter: brown, historical prints, dark, Civil War reproductions, pale – needs color, discordant, fussy – nothing that’s too much work, I’m afraid to applique and paper piece, hand piecing.

Then we listed our favorite quilts we made.  My mom just started, so her list was short.  My list is long.  (I said to her “I like all my quilts!”  Except the charity hexagon quilt.  That was too stressful.)  Here are some of my favorites (and why):

polka dot quilt – polka dots, learned curved piecing

Hunter’s Star – think it’s beautiful (not very me) + bound it!

Storms at Sea – made it for Z, scrappy, nautical/patriotic color scheme, not perfect!

hexagons – love hexagons, beautiful prints

I also had my magnum opus on the list.

I notice that these are all recent quilts, made in the last year or so.  This was not long after I made my Finished Quilts page, so my other quilts were relatively fresh in my mind; therefore, I guess I feel more like I’ve come into my own the more I quilt.

The final part of our exercise was a word map.  We looked at our “I like” column and picked the one word that seemed to best describe it.  Then we added other words and linked them to try to figure out two or three words that best describe our quilting style.  I ended up with this:

I think the three words that best describe my style are: color, prints, and scrappy.  Is that modern?  Not necessarily.  I would like to branch out into using more solids and maybe a different kind of layout, because I really like some things about the modern aesthetic.  However, my quilts are very me, and I think that’s important.  Since it’s National Quilting Month, I thought it would be a good time to share.

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