Inspiring Quilters, Stitch by Stitch
After a great lapse of time, the opportunity arose in which I was able to pick up several messages in this train of written thinking from many people living in many areas of this country, and Canada. All very enjoyable. It has been my conclusion that quilt artists have more avenues of creativity than do the artists who paint on paper, or on canvas. Tools to use by quilt makers of today in their quilt making weren't even thought up merely a few years ago. Quilting had taken a back seat when machine produced blankets surpassed them in desirability. Time to make quilts became non-existent during WW II when the men went off to fight it, and the women went into factories to make the men's vitally needed munitions. With the massive celebrations of the American bi-centennial of 1976, reviving deep appreciations for hand made items as was done throughout the history of the world, interest in quilt making saw a reincarnation. The regeneration of this ancient skill flowered, makers produced, and are producing works of art never before tried using pieces of fabric.
The only tools my grandmother had were a ruler, a pencil, a thimble, pins and needles, a pair of scissors, and she was lucky to have had a treadle sewing machine. She did copy patterns from news paper columns. With those very basic, simple tools, she made truly beautiful pieces of art work, although the quilts made back when she was active were not considered art work. It was women's work. A lesser activity, certainly not overly prized. The works produced were not prized in most circles, yet they were vital. Not only did they keep people warm in their beds, but after the quilts became too worn to be on beds, they were used to keep new born lambs, calves, colts warm if those poor beings were born in March when the frosty winds blew cold winds, and snow all about the drafty barns. We quilters of today are very fortunate that quilts have reached great heights of appreciation, especially by museum curators, and art critics.
While Mother was living her later years with me, I would drive down to New Hampshire to visit my daughter, and stop by Keepsake Quilting on the way. As I searched out fabrics Mother wandered about the store, taking in the sights of all that beautiful fabric. She spent a great deal of time looking at the displays of quilting tools. "Oh, what my mother would have been able to do with all which is available now." Gram used whatever fabric she could find to make her quilts. A favorite was fabric swatches from the tailors' sample books as the books became obsolete, no longer of use to the tailor. Wouldn't grandmothers be excited if they could make today's quilts! Perhaps they are in heaven working their skills producing Heavenly works of art!