There are many reasons why one would make blankets or quilts. There’s the obvious reason – we want to shelter and protect our family. Making quilts and giving them to family and friends has been a part of a woman’s life for longer than I can date. In this picture, I am giving to my local coffeehouse/cowgirl store a quilt I made simply to decorate their store.
It was, quite perhaps, the cheapest quilt I’ve ever made. It doesn’t make it any less special as I put a lot of thought (with some advice from others) into making it special and unique. You’ll not find another like it!
I asked nothing in return for this quilt but gave it to them because I found that the entire thing fit their store and I couldn’t see this quilt residing anywhere else. The entire ensemble included the quilt, table runner and pillow to decorate the couch patrons sit on (or their dogs). The green quilt you see in the back, however, was actually sold to them along with another of the same style but different colors. I traded coffee credit in their store for those two quilts and feel I got the better end of the deal on that one. In this way, making a quilt was a way to get what I wanted – trade for coffee.
Some quilts are made just to pass on tradition or revive old favorites. This quilt top was made by me using only the picture and dimensions found in an old Quilters magazine. I rewrote the pattern from the magazine to include modern day methods and then put the top together to revive an old pattern: Lincoln’s Platform. Another day, I’ll share my rewritten pattern with my readers, in case you’re interested in trying it yourself.
There are also times when a quilt is made simply because your children desire it. I found five fat quarters that I knew Caiden would love and he spent an entire afternoon designing a quilt top around those fabrics. I’ve not finished it, as yet, since the pattern was a bit small (barely 2 foot square) and he and I need to add to it and make it worthy of being used by him. I’ll show you when we do get it finished. The boys have a lovely time designing patterns for mom to try and make, though. There are several that they’ve done and I’ve saved the pages they drew on to show them later in life.
There are also quilts made “just because.” This was a little pirate kit I found in Oregon on Spring Break in 2012 and I recently put it together for my 5 year old, Brendan. It was a “just because” quilt that I had fun with simply because I had to make sure all the map pieces were facing the right direction from the cutting to the piecing and sewing. It’ll go to the quilter soon and we’ll see what he makes of it from here.
Experimental quilts are what keep the imagination alive. The one above was my version of a “Disappearing 9-patch.” I had two sets of Charm Packs, each missing a few pieces from prior use, and decided to use them to make a total of nine 9-patches. Taking some fabric I had laying around, I then made half square triangles (Chevrons) out of them (18 total when complete). Setting them together into a quilt top, I created the design above. I let my imagination run wild on this one and actually flipped the chevrons on the bottom to give the quilt a completely different look. I call it the “Disappearing 9-Patch” because it started as many 9-Patch blocks. I happen to think it looks great and, even though it took me only part of an afternoon, all my points line up and the entire top looks great. I’m calling it a sofa quilt because it is big enough to fit more than one person on a sofa, instead of just a single person’s lap quilt.
I’m hoping the phrase, “Sofa Quilt” will catch on with others and start a trend. A Sofa Quilt, in my opinion, is a lap quilt that’s bigger than normal, allowing a mother to share it while sitting on a sofa/couch with her babies. Typically, a lap quilt is designed around one persons’ use.
Finally, and most importantly, quilts are made so your child can play under quilt forts in your living room for many hours on a lazy Saturday. If I hadn’t made so many, they wouldn’t have been able to build a very big fort, would they? My entire living room was taken up with layers upon layers of quilts and the boys had a grand time playing under them. They took pillows, toys, snacks and drinks under there while they played.
All in all, quilts serve many uses. It doesn’t matter if your seams line up perfectly or your colors are just a tad “off” from what others would expect. The point is to make a quilt to share with others. If you spend all your time looking for perfection and trying to make sure everything is “just so,” you’ll never have any fun with what you create. Even the Amish deliberately create a mistake in their quilts because they believe, “Only God is perfect.”
I’ve made some beautiful quilts and I’ve made some quilts where I completely trashed them from start to finish. There are quilts that have taken me mere hours and quilts that have taken me several days. Does it really matter how long or short, how many mistakes or not, in my quilts? As long as my family and friends love what I make and give to them, the answer is a resounding no.
Recently, I was judged – unfairly and without provocation. A person I trusted to ask questions about a failed project brought that same quilt top up in conversation, telling me that if I slowed down, I wouldn’t make so many mistakes. “It’s not all about how fast you can put it together, as you know from the mystery quilt you did. You haven’t even finished it yet, so it’s not like you really did the top, anyway,” were the words used.
It cut deep; right to the core of my being. The person I went to for advice when I knew I had royally screwed up this quilt top threw it back in my face when she was upset at me (right or wrong) for an unrelated matter. I’m not sure why it even came up, as I spoke not a word while she was telling me about all that I had done (right or wrong) to her. I didn’t argue a word but let her say her peace. I didn’t interrupt but listened politely as she got off her chest what she was upset about. The long walk home after gave me plenty of time to try and think of what I had done to so hurt this person for them to turn it around and shred me to pieces about something I love to do. Over the past week, I’ve thought long and hard and decided that I can’t control anyone but myself and, since I really can’t see what I’ve done so wrong, it was time to let it go.
However, it taught me a lesson. Be ready for judgment, no matter what it is you do. Be ready for someone else to attempt to destroy you. You can’t control anyone’s words or actions but your own and, if you let them, they will knock you down when possible. Just because one person doesn’t appreciate your craft, whatever it may be, does not mean you have to stop doing it.
I’ll continue to make quilt tops and, whether they take me a few hours or a week (or a year), they are mine to keep or give away. I’m done being hurt over someone/something I can not control. Besides, only God can judge and, if He finds me lacking, I’m in big trouble. If He appreciates my earnest efforts in this one life we get, then my life is going just fine.