I am blessed to have friends with so much talent. They give me a lot to aspire to. It seems that I am still trying to get caught up from last year (or maybe the year before), and everybody else is cranking out quilts by the gazillions. That’s not really true, but you know what I mean. It seems they have hours and hours to spend making quilts. We are all busy with life, aren’t we? And we only know what, besides quilts, is going on in someone’s life if they tell us. I try to chat with my friends every so often so that I’m at least somewhat aware of what’s happening in their lives…and yep, they’re busy. And how. But since they’ve got more to show for their work than I do right now, indulge me while I brag on them a bit, will you?
My pal Shelly at Prairie Moon Quilts will debut her block-of-the-month in the Star tomorrow morning. I’m so excited for her! Isn’t it gorgeous? As always, the pattern will be available on the Star’s website free for one week, then available to download for a small fee after the week is up. At the end of the year, all of the monthly patterns will be available in book form. (To learn more about the inspiration for Shelly’s quilt, look here.)
My friends Denniele and Janice have finished their block-of-the-month for the Kansas City Star, at least the publishing part of it. (Where Poppies Grow, Kansas City Star Books, 2014, available here.) I suspect the fun is just starting for them. They were featured in their local newspaper yesterday, and I know they’ve been busy with a lot of other events to publicize their work. Both also have real lives that include family and work and more. Whew! If you go read the article, you’ll see that there’ll be a show of quilts made from their pattern. It’s not to late to make one!
Me? I’m plugging along, trying to clear out some of the old uglies from my stash. Some of that fabric has been around way too long and I can’t understand how I ever liked it. So, I’ve chopped up a lot of it and am trying to plow through some scrap quilts. I am actually using a pattern for one, it’s Anita’s Arrowhead from Quiltmaker Magazine. I love the pattern. The fabrics? Not so much.
(I did finish a quilt for a challenge at the end of the year but am not allowed to show it yet. Check back! There just might be some good news coming.)
While I’ve always hated the term, “utility quilt,” I admit that some of these scrappy things I’m making might end up being just that. Yes, I really dislike the term. Often when I hear someone use those words, it’s to describe a homely old piece that may not be beautiful to everyone. In other words, when I hear someone say, “This is obviously a utility piece,” what they’re really saying, at least to my ears, is, “This is one ugly quilt. I wouldn’t use this to let the dog sleep on.” I’m offended by that, offended for the maker.
I don’t believe that anyone really sets out to make an ugly quilt. While there are quilts that only a maker could love, I have a hard time accepting that’s what the maker intended. Maybe she, or he, didn’t have the skills or the resources available to make better. Maybe she did make it quickly, during a sudden cold snap, when she needed to keep the kids warm. Maybe it was just the best he could do. I don’t know. Unless we can speak to the maker, we just can’t know for sure, but I would bet that nobody ever said, “Hey, I’m going to go to the work of cutting up all this fabric and sewing it back together just to see if I can make an ugly quilt.”
In the case of my latest quilts, they may well be ugly, or at least not the prettiest I’ve ever made. (Of course, if I don’t quit making blocks and just sew the darned things together they won’t be quilts at all!) I’m okay with them not being gorgeous. I am making things to use, things I won’t worry about fading or wearing. Does that make them utility quilts? Maybe. Or maybe they just aren’t my very best work, but they will still keep us warm.
In any event, my friends are certainly not making utility quilts. They’re making wonderful stuff and getting some well-deserved recognition. Not only are they full of talent, they’ve worked hard to bring us their visions. I’m very proud of them and the fact that they, busy as ever, are making gorgeous things and sharing them with the rest of us. Well done, ladies!