Friday, March 14, 2008

A Thing of Beauty is a Joy Forever

Saturday was National Quilting Day so Happy Quilting Day a few days late! To celebrate this wonderful day I checked out a few books on quilts from the library to read up on some of my favorite styles of quilting.
One of the books I got is called "A Joy Forever". It is about the life and quilts of famed applique quilt designer Marie Webster who was born in 1859. She quilted during the "arts and crafts" movement of America where Victorian style was rebuffed for early American style which was more "rustic, simple, and honest". This book was fascinating to read as it included little tidbits of history along with her designs. Here's her picture!
My taste in quilting really follows that of Marie Webster. Her quilts are beautiful. simple, and yet exquisite! I have always liked simple quilts, not that the patterns were necesarrily simple but the colors used. I like a good clean look, not too much clutter, not too much use of heavily patterned fabric. I really hate to see a quilt that has so much business in the fabric that you miss the quilt's design entirely. The quilts pictured below are hers and you can see the poem at the bottom of the first one which became her motto.

I first learned how to quilt from my mom. One of her favorite patterns is the "Log Cabin" and I remember helping her make countless numbers of them growing up! Now my mom doesn't enjoy handsewing so she just ties her quilts off with pretty yarns which is fast and gives it a more country look. I love handsewing however so I learned how to handquilt on my own. I remember spending hours pouring over books and looking at quilts to discover exactly how those tiny stitches were made!

I love making a quilt! I love looking through patterns and chosing the exact right one for the person I'm making it for. I love chosing color themes and sketching out the quilt. Of course one of the best parts is going to the fabric store and hunting through all the pretty bolts of fabric to find just what your looking for! I even like the washing, drying, and ironing of the new fabric! It's just exciting! The only part I find a little tedious is the cutting out as it does tend to last forever! There is nothing more staggering then realizing you need to cut out 0ver three hundred 2" squares! I love sewing the pieces and seeing the quilt form under my hands! And then the best part, when the top is done and I get to put it all together because that means the most enjoyable part is about to begin, the top stitching!

Now, with modern technology you can top stitch your quilt in a day or two using a very large, very expensive machine but I really think that takes the fun out of it! I know I'm weird but even if I had one of those machines I probably wouldn't use it!

I love looking at the different patterns to use for the top stitching! I'm especially fond of knots and feathers! However, I do not like the all over squiggles that just go everywhere with no ryhme or reason that has become popluar. The top stitching, I feel, should enhance your blocks and show case them, not cover them up! Grr!

I can't really explain the satisfaction and happiness that working my needle through the quilt gives me! I find it to be very calming! All those little stitches in a row, there is something very happy about the whole thing! Then when the very last stitch is put in and you get to make one last "snip" to cut your thread, not much compares to it! Then all that is left is the binding and then your quilt is done! Joy!
I hope to pass on this love to my girls and I think I'm already succeeding! Abby loves to sit and page through my quilt books and magazines. Both girls love to play in my fabric scraps and make blankies for their babies. Katie is always suggesting some quilt pattern that I should make her next and they both love going to JoAnn fabrics! I'm just happy to be able to teach them to make something that can bring joy to themselves and others! :) There's nothing like curling up in a nice warm quilt that was made just for you! So Happy Quilting everyone!

1 comment:

Jamie Saylor said...

I absolutely LOVE the green one with the white flowers!! Someday I hope to get a new machine since my old one would cost a ton to fix apparently since it is really cool antique and then I want to learn quilting. I will be asking tips from you when I do.
By the way I totally forgot about the cat crossstitch. I was sitting there looking at it thinking, "That looks I've seen it before." Then I read on and now I know why. Silly me!