Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Guest Blogger, ANDREA



I remember a story of a first generation immigrant (and first generation quilter) proudly sending one of her recently finished quilts home to her mother.  The mother promptly sent a return letter, worried that her daughter was struggling financially and needed immediate help in her new life.  Why else would she be scrounging up scraps to make her gifts?


It certainly isn't financial hardship that drives most of us to quilt.  ( $10/yard the quilting addiction may in fact drive the rest of your budget to financial hardship!)  So what is it that draws us to create in this form? 

The retreat showed some of the reasons we quilt.  I heard about sewing to unwind from stressful work, enjoying making gifts for others, and being inspired by other generations of family members.  They shared quilts to be hung as art, quilts to be worn, and quilts to be used (and loved and washed and used some more).  Quilts were inspired by and approached in many different ways.  Some quilts had clear plans from the very beginning.  Some grew from nothing more than a wisp of an idea and lots of play.  Some quilts were inspired by an old pattern or a desire to have one "just like that!" 

Why do I quilt?

I quilt because my grandmother quilts.  She started quilting about 10 years ago and has become quite prolific.  She likes bright colors and a bit of whimsy.  She doesn't always follow the "rules".  (That's appreciated around here, right?)  She was the first person to give me a quilting lesson and we still enjoy sewing (and fabric shopping!) together. 

Josephs Coat.jpg

("Coat of Many Colors Quilt", made by my grandma)

I quilt because quilts are all about comfort!  When I am wrapped up in my grandmother's heart quilt, it is as if I've pulled her close to me across the miles, wrapping myself in a tangible expression of her love.  It reassures me that my family is with me, even when they can't actually be with me.  Making a quilt for some one else spreads that tenderness and warmth to one more soul. 

Heart Quilt.jpg
(Grandma's Pink Heart Quilt)

I quilt because other people inspire me to step outside my comfort zone.  Some of my most enjoyable quilts have been made for someone else.  Victoria's love of "bathtub" Marys inspired this mixed media piece...something I never would have dreamed up on my own. 


Making "Bed of Roses" for my vibrant and funky sister, challenged my design abilities and pushed me outside of my color preferences of the time (Civil War  prints, red and white, etc.).  Now?  Don't ask how often I think that my living room needs just a bit more fuschia and orange! 

Bed of Roses.jpg

I quilt because ideas just set my brain on fire and begs to be made.  A fabric, an image, a combination of colors, a certain kind of design...something just lights up inside and won't be still until the thing gets made!  (OK, let's be honest...until the thing gets started!)

Great Lawn Quilt.jpg

(My Great Lawn quilt in progress, inspired by this scene...)

Great Lawn.jpg
I quilt because it's meditation.  I remember how an hour at my sewing machine would relax and rejuvenate me after exhausting sessions in a grad-level movement analysis program.  (Just thinking about those weekends might merit another session at the machine!)  And the other night, when my brain absolutely would not shut up and go to sleep, the rhythm of sewing triangles together for 15 minutes quieted it right down and finally let me rest. 

What makes you scrap scrounge, fabric splurge, cut things up, sew them together and make one more quilt?

Great thoughtful post, thank you Andrea! 

I have a hard time seeing things go to waste... So saving all those bits of fabric,
and making something from nothing is a great thing to be proud of..
I also quilt because of my grandmother, and the idea that my quilts can be used for a long time,
Means I am doing some good with what I make... 
- Victoria

Tomorrow's guest Blogger is JESSICA.
Be sure to stop back and see!


  1. Although I never had the opportunity to spend time with my grandmother, we had scrappy quilts that she had made. My Mom only let us use them when we were sick. I don't know why. I can remember looking at these quilts very closely and at each and every fabric. They utterly fascinated me. My Mom taught me to embroider, knit and sew. I loved them all.
    When I "discovered" quilting in the late 70's, I was in heaven. I found quilting to be a creative, tactile way of expressing my need to make something meaningful and comforting. Quilting has remained one of the main passions of my life. Bonnie

  2. Appears this post has been plagued with the same photo problems as LeeAnn. Drat! So, I decided to republished this post on my blog as well. You just can't talk about lovely quilts without seeing them!

  3. OOOh! I love the colours, that's what makes me quilt...your blog above is so inspiring, sad I can't see your photos! Fuchsia & faves too!

  4. PS Will check the photos on your blog, thanks!

  5. Saw photos on your prob. Your reasons to quilt are very touching. You are a quiet quilter but a passionate one. I look forward to seeing your works in the Empire show this weekend. And I can hardly wait to see your Great Lawn quilt finished!

  6. Although my mom never quilted, both of my grandmothers did, so quilting makes me feel connected to them. Quilting is creative, relaxing, and satisfying - nice to do something that you can look at with pride and say "I did that!" Sometimes, it's time for "me" that I carve out of my busy day, and sometimes it's something to share with my pals, either in person, or over the internet with all of you. Quilting is awesome!

  7. Nice Andrea, I'll jump over to your blog for a look at the pictures......I quilt for the joy of it, I really do just enjoy the process. and quilts do make some pretty great gifts :0)

    Happy Sewing

  8. There sure are a lot of good reasoons to quilt! I enjoyed your post.
    My niece is 13 years old and I showed her how to make a string quilt this weekend. I was a little worried that I overwhelmed her with my excitement. Haha. She made a nice block. It was so much fun for me.

  9. Loved hearing how quilting connects you to other generations in your family, other friends and with yourselves.

    Thanks for sharing all!


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