Thursday, August 24, 2006

Why do you make quilts?

While waiting for my ride to arrive I decided to write a post that's been floating around in my head for awhile.

I ask each of you in quilters blogland - why do you make quilts? I'd love to have you share with us. Please answer either in acomment or - better yet - so more people can read it - on your own blog.

There are lots of reasons why I quilt, and I'd be very hard pressed to choose which is the most important to me. All the reasons are woven together in my mind - lots of pieces that make a whole - just like a quilt!

I quilt because I love fabric. I love to touch it, stroke it, smell it, play with it, experiment with it, gaze at it and collect it. Making quilts is much more fun than making clothing - particularly now that I'd have to fit an overweight, middle-aged body.

I quilt because I love color, shape, contrast, texture, value, tints, shades, and hues. I love crayons, paint, colored pencils, coloring books and everything to do with art - but I can't draw or paint to save my life. Quilting allows me to express my love of these things without needing to draw or paint.

I quilt because I fell in love with old quilts as a small child. We had one in the family, which is long since worn out and gone, and I loved to look at all the different fabrics and trace the star patterns with my fingers. It was made by my paternal grandmother who died before I was born. I bought my first quilting book with baby sitting money at the age of 12 or 13 - 101 Patchwork Quilts by Ruby McKim - but didn't try quilting until I was 27. In between I saved every magazine picture of a quilt that I could find.

I quilt because it connects me with my foremothers. I love to study the history of quilting and stories of quiltmakers. I feel a kinship with those women of long ago. I also feel connected to the quilters of the future who will inherit quilts I make and will finish the UFO's I leave behind. My quilts are evidence that I existed. They show that I was here, that I contributed to beauty in this world and left some of that beauty for future generations.

I quilt because I love to work with my hands. The needle going in and out of the cloth as I hand stitch has a rhythm of it's own. I can sit and do handwork and have no concept of the passage of time. For me it is like meditation. Instead of focusing my thoughts and vision on a mandala or some other such thing, I go inward to a center of peace and calm and let the repetitive motions of my hands take me deep into that center. I finish refreshed and revitalized.

I quilt because I enjoy the process of creation. I love to see a pattern emerge as I stitch little pieces of cloth together. I love the quilting process itself, because as the quilting stitches add texture to the quilt top, causing lights and shadows to play on the quilting designs, the flat, somewhat lifeless quilt top comes alive. I confess I enjoy the process more than the finished quilt. I will continue to quilt no matter how many quilts I finish because I love the process.

I quilt because I love to give quilts to others. It's like giving a part of myself. It's wrapping other people in my love. It's the work of my hands made especially for them.

I quilt because I must. I am lost when I cannot quilt. It helps me define who I am. It keeps my hands busy. It brings joy and happiness to my life.

Now it's your turn . . . please share with us why you make quilts . . .

17 comments:

Sweet P said...

You have given me somethings to think about. I will answer your question in my own blog . . . stay tuned.

Darlene said...

Very interesting question, Patti. Something to definitely ponder and as you suggested I'll answer in my own blog. Like Sweet P said, "stay tuned" :-)

Leah S said...

I've posted my reasons on my blog. :)

Hedgehog said...

How can we possibly explain it as well as you did? Thank you for sharing. No one has ever asked me that question.

May Britt said...

I have also posted my reasons on my blog. And perhaps now I have to start on my work in the office,not only do privat things LOL But this was an important questing I wanted to answer on
Have a nice day all of you!!

Andrea said...

I saw my mom make a quilt for her boyfriends bed and I thought it was pretty and loved the colors she picked out and I helped her to put it together somewhat (helped her decide how to lay out the blocks, helped her layer it all to quilt it together)

It made me want to make one myself, which I didn't do until I was 19, and I've pretty much been hooked since then :)

Lynda (Granny K) said...

Patti, you have said it all so well! I love every aspect of quiltmaking. I especially like to recycle clothing into scrap quilts.
I never tire of seeing other peoples quilts, which is why the internet is so wonderful. To see old quilts close up gives me goosebumps!

Gail Rhyno said...

Hmmm...why do I quilt. I love it and find it the most frustrating thing I do at the same time...history, and expression, and utility all in one...I'll go on on my blog as well. Great question.

Carol said...

Thank you for making me think this morning. Like you I feel lost when I can't quilt (pick fabric, cut, piece, bind whatever step. It feel so uneasy when I can't get to it. I wrote more on my blog this morning also. Thanks again. You got my mind working!

Judy said...

Very well said!!

sewprimitive karen said...

I went antiquing with my parents always and went to history museums, loved early American history. The antique quilts were all part of the total entrancing antique and pioneer experience package for me, one of the best parts, oh what can I say, I love all the parts, but quilts are something that I can actually make that are just like antiques. They are also works of art just like a painting, and I love them for that as well. They are also friendly and comforting :-).

Libby said...

... because I really wanted to have quilts of my own. None were passed down in my family. That was the beginning. Now the reasons seem to grow with each quilt I make, for family, friendship, charity, warmth, gift-giving. Meeting and making new friends, not having idle hands, feeling like I'm contributing something beautiful yet practical in my world. I could probably just go on and on ...

EileenKNY said...

Your question has made me think. I'm going to ponder and post later. But I think you may have answered a question for me. I'll let you know later......

SheMeows said...

A great question to think over while quilting. I have posted an answer on my blog.

Patty said...

good question Patti, had to really think about it for a bit and decided that there are a few reasons. I love the way quilts feel when they cover me. I love the way quilts look in my house. Its a piece of how things were done in the past and its soothing to take stitch at a time and let my mind wander while I work at it. Plus there is always a new challange available when you want one.

Kathy - Pink Chalk Studio said...

I enjoyed your post and everyone who responded. I posted my reason today:
http://pinkchalkstudio.com/blog/2006/09/05/why-i-quilt/

Amy said...

I quilt because the first time I attempted to, I felt like I had been reintroduced to an old friend. It felt innate, intrinsic, like I had done it before. It was the first time I had worn a thimble and it felt so good and I honestly just wanted to wear it around. I felt truly connected.