Quilters…Where Are We Today?

Bennington Museum and the Vermont Quilt Festival

In my time away from blogging I have thought…and thought…and thought…about a lot of things. Some thoughts are introspective and personal, some artistic and design related…all are pertaining to life. One thought path I have revisited over and again is where are we today? in respect to fiber creations––specifically quilts.
The Quilters of today have a plethora of tools, notions, gadgets and an abundance of fabric choices. Is that a good thing? I ask myself this question too as I have more than I need to bring my design dreams to creation. Several machines. Helpful tools. BIG items too. Enough fabric to clothe a village or possibly get me on an episode of Hoarders.
Please…hear my heart…I am not bashing or criticizing the quilt world nor fabric designers…I am just questioning.
Our fabric choices have led to fiber gluttony. Our final projects smack of the latest trends in color, style and technique. I love the newest fabrics. I love the designers and bloggers that are popular as well as the hidden jewels. I do know it must be hard to stay on top of the trends because they seem to be whirling past us like a category 5 hurricane. But I must ask, are we in danger of losing the unique in our art?
Previous quilting generations made do with what they scrounged and saved and turned those pieces of fiber into beautiful works. Items that made most of our hearts leap the first time we saw what their hands had crafted. Pieces that were laden with patience and time…that spoke history and told stories of joy and heartache. THOSE pieces are what captured us and made us want to know the stories behind the cloth and thread.
I know, they had to use what was available. Leftovers from clothing that was handmade. Pieces of clothing from a loved one no longer in their life. Fabric that once held food. Tattered wool from blankets. Today we don’t have to do it that way.

Gee's Bend Quilting Bee

Quilters also used their needles to give voice to the tension of their day… Women’s Suffrage, Slavery, Politics, etc.

Yes, they had patterns that were popular but still so much of the quilter shined.
I ask you and I ask myself…. Do we, today, put meaning behind and put ourselves into, what our hands create? Do we tell a story? Do we give voice? DO. WE. SHINE??


8 thoughts on “Quilters…Where Are We Today?

  1. avatarmaddie

    Such good thoughts and I can tell they are from your heart and I think of such things each time I start a project. Thanks for more thoughts to chew on!


  2. avatarBari

    Ok. I’m SURE this will get me in trouble… But I think we are in danger of following trends so closely that we don’t know what our own opinions are on those trends. I think a false sense of hype is created by the speed of social media. I think we are very often not telling our own story but rather the story we think is ours because we’ve followed along like sheep.

    Alrighty then. Set me on fire.

  3. avatarCaroline

    You pose an interesting question! As a quilter, and a huge admirer of my grandmother’s body of work which was compiled over a lifetime, I spend a lot of time studying her design, choices of fabric and color, hand quilting and embroidery. As I study them I see HER in the quilt. I see her hand movements that made the stitches, I see her in the applique work, I see the path the needle took to create beautiful curves and various flowers. To be honest, I feel a bit saddened that although I quilt, I rush to complete the job and I do not put all of myself into the quilt the way my grandmother did. That being said, I am thankful for the tools, fabric and fabulous sewing machines that make quilting a wonderful experience. I am able to complete a lot of projects that just would not be possible without them. Maybe there’s a compromise out there to be found?

  4. avatarBronwyn

    Very wise words. I follow one quilter whose work I can usually pick when I see a certain style of quilt on Pinterest. I only hope that I can find my own ‘style’ and be happy to stick with that rather than madly following each new trend.

  5. avatarDebbie Guhot

    Our quilts often reflect more of ourselves than we expect. The fashionista who slavishly follows the newest releases. The reflection who will only work from kits so they know exactly what the finished product will be. The casual quilter who is happy to use whatever comes under her hand .The perfectionist who will wait and search till the very most perfect fabric is found. We all have our own unique style .Stand up and be proud of your style .Its yours and yours alone.


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