Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Miscellaneous musings

A big thank you to all of you who posted such encouraging comments after my last post. Don't worry - I'm not one to ever give up on a quilt, and it's not going to happen with this one. I've suffered from "Quilter's Dyslexia" for years - I have very little spacial ability - so this is nothing new to me. Finally I put one of the finished blocks next to me on the machine so I'd have something to refer to constantly - stopping to double check is still faster than ripping! I also discovered when I got out that magnifying glass that the specific blocks I mentioned aren't different - it's just that the two triangle fabrics in the picture are so close in value that they look like a single square. Once I realized that all the rest of the blocks I needed to make were the same light and dark blocks - except for the four in the center - things got much easier. I made good progress last night, but not enough to justify a new picture.

I am thoroughly enjoying the Ipod we gave each other for Christmas. I've not felt like having the TV on while doing this quilt - I need to concentrate on the piecing - so I've been listening to many of my old favorites. I'm a child of the 60's - went through high school and college from 1962 to 1969. One never hears the folk music from that era any more - I guess radio stations that play "oldies" won't play it because it reminds us of a time when the both the political climate and the national conscience was different than it is today. At least that's the rumor I heard somewhere. Songs about peace, freedom and love, and war, hatred, and discrimination. A time when awful things were happening, but also some very good things. We watched pictures from the first war to be televised in our prime time nightly news broadcasts. For the first time we knew what war REALLY looked like, and many of us hated it. We also saw pictures of black children attending school where they were previously forbidden to go, and hundreds of thousands of people cheering Martin Luther King as he made his dream come alive in our minds and hearts. Supposedly we study history so we won't make the mistakes of the past in the future. One can't help but wonder when that will actually start to happen. I can remember my mother saying that war will never end until men lay down their weapons and refuse to fight. I would love to talk to her about what is happening in the world today. I wonder what she would be thinking and what she would say. It's times like these that I miss her most of all.

So many generations of women weren't allowed to express their thoughts in print, in public, or in the voting booth, but opinions they had, and they expressed them in cloth. I love quilt history and vintage quilts because of what they tell us about the fabrics and the lives of people from each era, but also because of the way women used their needle to tell the world what they thought. We seldom see today's quilters expressing their politics in cloth. Many new quilters aren't exposed to anything other than "decorator quilts" in magazines, and haven't learned to create with the joyful abandon our foremothers did with the scraps and fabrics they had available. Right now I'm thinking of a woman in our guild who is now in her 80's who still makes quilts that express her thoughts. During the first middle east war she created a small wall quilt that pictured Hussein in front of a map of Iraq. The words "Sadaam Insane" ran across the quilt. I still remember the very strong statement it made. The same lady made a quilt showing nothing but tree stumps beside a flowing stream. A beaver sat next to the stream with tears rolling down his cheeks. I wonder whether anyone else makes quilts like this any more. I'm sure someone is making them somewhere, but we don't see them any more. Not in quilt shows and not in magazines. Maybe now that we can vote, run for political office and freely express our thoughts women don't feel the same need to express their opinions artistically. In a way this is sad, and the quilts of this era will be missing a vital element contained in the quilts of the past.

Enough of my musings and ramblings - I must get ready to go to work. Have a wonderful quilty day everyone!

1. The right to express our opinion publicly
2. The right to read what we want to read and write what we want to write
3. Our quilting foremothers who figured out a way to tell us what they thought
4. Freedom to create as I choose
5. The gifts of reading and writing passed on by three incredible teachers - Mrs. Balcolm, Mrs. Bothwell, and Miss Eccles.



Anonymous said...

Patti... I could not agree more about quilts today. Not knocking the beautiful designs being cranked out... but many don't carry the passion and messages of yesteryear.

Quilts like Underground Railroad... they give me goosebumps when I think of the wonderful women who in their way and time were heroes and humanitarians.

I loved reading about your friend and her quilts. I too wonder if quilts changed after women got to vote.

Anyhoo... I totally enjoyed this post and thought it was good on the old grey matter.

PS... The S-word. Astoria has already announced a 2 hour school delay tomorrow! And yes... we should meet for lunch. Maybe in LV/Kelso if you don't want to trek out to Astoria. TTYL, Monica

Anonymous said...

THis is weird... it still says "0 coments" when I made a comment. If I click on comments... my comment is there in the pop-up. When I click the permalink... it's not there. What is up with blogger today???!!!

I've gotten emails from people who said they couldn't make a comment on my blog. I'm curious to see if this comment makes it.

Anonymous said...

Patti - it's true - you don't see many political quilts around (in fact I haven't seen any).

My theory is that most of us have so much trouble and strife in our lives that we do quilting to get away from reality and just make something beautiful with our hands. I certainly don't want to bring world issues into what little 'me time' I have.

I leave the tough stuff for work!

Anonymous said...

I too wonder about my posts when nobody comments. If I said anything controversial, or if it was simply too boring to concern a comment. This one is definitely not boring, so either blogger and or bloglines was down, or people just hadn't gotten around to reading it yet.
You're right, you don't hear much about people making political quilts. I think there was a long lull where people didn't concern themselves with politics, but I do see a big surge again where people have started talking about it more.