Moving forward — it’s always a good place to be. Learning something. Improving a skill. Understanding the ‘why’ in a problem or a process or an idea. I’m working hard on the skill of ‘precision’ in my quilting these days. A friendly competition with myself. Very satisfying to see the results improve day by day.
The old quilts, I mean. The vintage blocks or tops or quilts, made from scraps left over from sewing, or from garments whose usefulness has passed. Made with skill or with the promise of skill in the future. Or even with the reluctant hand of one who does not wish to learn. I like them. I see thrift comingled with creativity; necessity softened by beauty. I often think of Eleanor Roosevelt’s quote: do the best you can with what you have where you are. That’s like the definition of a vintage quilt.
My newest student asked me that this morning. Not yet. Not yet. But, I think about my own grandmothers every day. One taught me to sew; the other gave me quilts that started my love affair with the art form, oh so many years ago. So they are with me, every day, in the studio — in every thing I do. For instance, this piece of fabric, part of a quilt that was pieced by my husband’s great grandmother, reminded me of a piece of fabric I found in my grandmother’s stash one year. She let me choose fabric from her stash whenever I came to visit — and we would walk to Sprouse Reitz and buy a pattern and some notions, and head back home to sew. I found a beautiful sky-blue fabric with a loose weave and black floral flocking. Oh, it was stunning. I made a “maxi” dress, with a square neckline, puffed sleeves, and a three-tiered, gathered skirt that reached to the floor. I was so proud to wear it to church!
This is such an exciting moment! The pattern for Celtic Nights, my first major quilt design, is ready to go! It comes in two colorways — original and Debora’s — named for my good friend Debora Proctor who suggested the colors. The pattern sells for $12 — you can get yours by sending me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, by calling me at 972-921-6715, by stopping by the Studio inside My Father’s House Antiques Mall, or by visiting Seldom Seen Quilting on Etsy. I can’t wait to see your Celtic Nights quilt when it is done!