Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Confessions of a Simple Meandering Quilter...

We spent an afternoon the week we were in Houston walking through the amazing quilt show at the International Quilt Market, and as my photos like the one above will attest, I was in awe of the quilting.  The hours and talent that were poured into those quilts resulted in some magnificent pieces of art and certainly classifies them as what we think of as heirlooms.  It really humbled me and reinforced the thought I had that I'm not an "heirloom quilter".

So when I returned home and went back to work on the pile of quilt tops that I have in line for my Handi Quilter ~ all of which are receiving a simple allover meander quilting design ~ I was feeling less than inspired, and questioning my quilting talents.  (...Not that I don't do more custom quilting treatments occasionally, but frankly most of the time a simple allover meander is what I'm doing to get a quilt finished.)

...While working on my next quilt that was one of two that I pieced and was now quilting for my cousin to gift to her grandsons for Christmas, I was muttering about my lack of "heirloom" quality quilting on these simple quilts ~ then I happened to glance over at my little granddaughter who was cuddled up on the floor of my studio to take her afternoon rest, with her favorite quilt that she has claimed (a simply pieced and allover quilted quilt)
...and I teared up. 
(...yes, I'm a little menopausal ~ but I don't think that totally discounts my point)


I started to realize that these humble, yet I think beautiful quilts may just be destined to become heirlooms.  These quilts are being given as gifts to two young boys from their grandmother who carefully chose the fabrics to coincide with the interests of each boy.  These aren't quilted in such a "fancy heirloom" way that they will be stored away in a closet because they are "too nice" to use.

...No these are the quilts they might...
Cuddle under when they are sick...or pull up tight around their necks when they are afraid at night.
These are the quilts that they will wrestle on with their favorite dog...watch TV on...and cry under when they are jilted by their first crush one day. 
...And when they grow up, they will always, always remember their Grandma's love when they see them.


...So after standing there pondering all these things, and feeling a little renewed and somewhat inspired, I decided I wouldn't get them done in time for Christmas if I didn't get back to work ~ so I wiped my teary eyes and got back to work meandering...today's heirloom quilts.

Enjoy the day!
~ Dawn

PS ~ As I write this blog post, the cat and I are now curled up in my comfy chair, sitting under the quilt that lives draped over this chair in my living room... and yes, it's simply quilted with an allover meander :)

24 comments:

Pat said...

Hey, Dawn, you made me tear up and I'm way past menopausal. :D Keep up the good work.

Barbara Sindlinger said...

Not every quilt we make needs to be heirloom quality so I wouldn't sweat about that.

Celia Ambrose said...

Dawn, what really matters is the fact that you do a very good job with your quilting for customers, regardless of the TYPE of quilting, you can be satisfied knowing you are part of the quilt that is going to special recipients. Not everyone wants fancy heirloom, feathers or scrolled designs. Don't ever consider your work as less than someone who only does specialized designs! Be happy for each quilt you complete and enjoy knowing it will be loved and used.

Jennifer Schifano Thomas said...

You sure made me tear up, too! I feel the same way - absolutely in awe of those fantastically quilted quilts, but I'm just not up to that level yet. Maybe someday....for now, simple swirls for me. Have a super day!

DH Stitches said...

Good thoughts! Thanks for sharing.

Lynn said...

This was a great post Dawn. You are right about the quilting. Sometimes simple is best and loved just as much.

Terry Johnson said...

This is a great post. While dense quilting is beautiful, it has become too important. A well executed meander gives the quilt strength, beauty, and texture. Keep up the great work you do. The best compliment anyone can give me about a quilt I have made, is to love until it falls apart so I have to make another. Quilt On!

Terry Johnson said...

This is a great post. While dense quilting is beautiful, it has become too important. A well executed meander gives the quilt strength, beauty, and texture. Keep up the great work you do. The best compliment anyone can give me about a quilt I have made, is to love until it falls apart so I have to make another. Quilt On!

QuilterMary said...

Roger that!

Becca said...

Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on quilting. I believe quilts should be loved and used, too. I took your idea and ran with it and wrote my own blog post.

MK Kerr said...

Some of us create beautiful things that hang on a wall. Some of us create treasured quilts that are loved and cuddled. I prefer loved and cuddled with fabric and thread that was stitched with love.

Shauna said...

My grandmother made lots of quilts and sent them off to a friend that had a long arm machine. Most were simple meander or other pantagraph patterns. I don't look at the quilting when I see them, I see the love she sewed into them. They aren't fancy, but we all remember them and love them for what they are, gifts of love and that makes them heirlooms to me.

SewySu said...

Dawn, I'm so happy to read your blog today. I have been worried about my quilting (I have a new HandiQuilter machine) and working through the learning curve. I make a lot of charity quilts. THIS quilt you have made is utterly charming and I know the person who gets it will love it. thanks for sharing! I feel a lot better!

Amrey said...

Dawn, you have truly reinspired me! I love my hq-16 and meander faithfully.

StasaLynn said...

What a wonderful blog post! (I am a little menopausal too and I do not believe that it takes anything away from your post!)

Thank you for saying so eloquently what I needed to hear. I slowly and simply meander myself...... and as I would love to be an award winning quilter.... I will be so happy to have my quilts loved and used by future grandchildren!

Thank you again!!!!

Rochelle Marouski said...

This is why I now quilt all of my quilts instead of sending them out. They are done 100% by me, with love. No, I don't do large amounts and they dont have fancy swirls but stippling and meandering are just fine.

Nancy C. said...

I do a bit of the meandering stitches too - but mine are all done by hand. However, I decided years ago that I LOVE hand quilting and that it really doesn't matter what design I use - the ones I've gifted them to feel they are wonderful; so I've decided it's the love that goes into them that matters. I don't make Show Quilts; but I do make quilts people love to snuggle with!

Casper65 said...

I love you post, and I couldn't agree more!! Meandering and stippling and other all over designs are fabulous quilting for everyday quilts. Save the custom and heirloom quilting for quilts that are going in shows!! I want the quilts I give away to be used!!!

Diana said...

I think your simply meandering quilting is delightful. I often prefer that type of simplicity in quilting to the quilting that takes up every inch of space and competes with the beautiful fabrics and patches.

JoMeyers said...

I am a "Stitch in the Ditch" quilter and consider stippling fancy. :) Now I don't feel so bad that I don't do all the swirls and feathers although they are soooo pretty. I know my quilts are loved and that's what is important.

Johanna Lovering said...

Beautiful. thank you

Kelly said...

Menopausal and teary! That was beautifully said! I also have a Handi Quilter and quilt for others. I can do some extreme quilting, but I agree with the simplicity of meandering. When a quilter has put so much effort and time into piecing and fabric selection, sometimes I just want to do something simple so as not to take away from her work, because her family and friends should see HER work! Keep up the good work!!!

Dawn said...

Thank you everyone for so many sweet and supportive comments ~ this meandering quilter is feeling validated :)

mary said...

well, I went to Houston too since I live in Texas...I too was overwelmed by the beautiful quilting and feel inadequate...but ironically enough when I quilted two small quilts yesterday one meander and one with a decorative Bernina stitch, then washed them for the crinkle effect...they looked great. So we are doing a good long lasting job with our quilting and they are not stiff enough to stand alone,,,,they are cuddly, well done and useable and I agree with you they will be used and not stored as too good to be used. Keep on!! mary in austin