|Judy Niemeyer's Golden Harvest|
|Judy Niemeyer's One|
|S,O.B.--Slap on borders. This quilt is a piece of yardage that I loved and didn't want to cut up with a stop border and an outer border added. Easy and pretty!|
When did quilting become such a "race to the finish"? Quilting has a long and colorful history. For most of that history, it was an art form that was rather slow and laborious. Cutting pieces with scissors and templates, hand piecing, hand quilting...these are not quick methods! Technology has afforded us the ability to create a quilt in a fraction of the time it took our fore-mothers (and perhaps forefathers). That isn't a bad thing, right?
I have been thinking quite a bit lately about the trend toward what I like to call, "Wham, Bam, Thank you Ma'am Quilting." Why are we in such a hurry? What is the goal of my quilting? Am I just in a hurry to get something done so that I can stack it in the closet along with dozens of other, easy quilts? Where is the satisfaction in creating something special? I would argue that in our race to the finish line, we have lost some of the joy in the process of creating.
Now, I am not talking about the baby quilts, shower gifts, quick Christmas gifts for family, etc. I get that most of those need to be inexpensive, simple, and quick to produce. There is a time and place for those types of quilts. I am talking about our projects in general. Are they all simple and quick patterns? Is our main focus to get them done quickly so that we can start a new project? Once the top is finished, how are they going to be quilted. Are you hand-quilting, machine quilting with a simple all over design, asking someone else to quilt your quilt "as cheaply as possible", or paying a longarmer like me to really make your quilt special with custom quilting?
So, that brings me to this question: Where is your joy in quilting? Is your joy in getting done quickly, or in the process? Is your joy in piling up more and more easy quilts that, frankly, a novice quilter could produce? Is your joy in choosing the fabrics, making your points match up, building a difficult pattern, block by block?
More and more, I am realizing that the quilts I truly admire, the ones that I see at shows and think, "Wow, I could maybe do that if I had a couple of years to spend on it."---those are the quilts that I want to start making. I don't want more and more easy quilts. I want some quilts that really say, "Wow!" I like to believe that my quilting elevates simple quilts to something above "mediocre" but the bottom line is that they are still simple patterns. I need to challenge myself to try new things, work on projects that I know are going to take awhile to complete, take classes with teachers who can elevate my skill level, and enjoy the process of creating something truly special. To that end, I took a Judy Niemeyer paper piecing class this spring. It is a technique that I understood at a very fundamental level, but had never really done. My quilt is not finished. That's okay. Someday, when it is...it is going to be a "Wow"!