Not all quilters are the same

As the women at the Historical Village hand quilt, we realize we are different from those who do machine quilting. We don’t have an attitude about it.  We simply see it as two variations on a theme.  There are those who like to sew patterns by hand and there are those who like to create their magic with a sewing machine.

Despite my six years with the hand quilters, I must admit that was the only dstinction I thought about when it came to quilting. Yes, there were quilts with countless small pieces in intricate designs compared to others that are more traditional log Processed with MOLDIVcabin or bear paw patterns.  As I am fairly new (some of the original quilters in this group began sewing in the old school house back in the1970s), I sew where I am told, the design I am given and try my hardest to make small even stitches.

Then a few weeks back someone suggested we each put together three 12 inch blocks which then could be built into a lovely quilt. Sally went through all our boxes of fabric picking out those she thought went well together.  These were laid out so each of us could take the amount needed for our individual squares. Then the discussion began.  Most of the women examined the fabrics, picked up some of this and some of that, talked about which patterns they would use for their blocks and they were ready  A few brave souls declared they were not going to make blocks, they hadn’t signed on for that.  Period.  And so a few of the block-making talented women said they would each make six blocks to make up the difference.

And then there were two of us who looked like deer caught in the headlights. Make a quilt block?  I hand stitched what I was told to do but now I was expected to actually put together a block of pieces and have them lay flat and have their corners match?  Dianne and I grumbled about it while quilting that day.  But at the end of the day, we both picked up fabric to take home.  After all, this was a project for the Historical Village.  We were adults who had access to YouTube and books. Surely we would mange.

Dianne’s blocks turned out beautifully.  The corners were mitered perfection. She quietly told us the names of the patterns she used.  We sighed in delight. I will admit that I did not use a pattern. I did not even look at a book with suggestions. I did make three blocks. I just started sewing hoping for the best.  When I got to the old school house, I buried my blocks deep in the pile.  But of course when the women went through the pile later to begin laying them out, they found mine which someone kindly called ‘free form’.  Mary Louise told me straight lines and neat corners could be boring.  I felt a bit like a grade school student bringing home art for the refrigerator.

We currently are stitching a couple other quilts. I suspect it will be spring or even the fall before we get around to quilting this one.  I have no doubt it will be lovely though.  And special with most of us represented in our own way and yet part of a larger whole.

 

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About tvh56

I mostly live in Eureka, Montana and write two blogs. One is for the Tobacco Valley Board of History, a group composed of the most remarkable older women who quilt weekly to raise funds to maintain the Historical Village. I had to capture their stories with words and photos. And when I recently began a traveling bookstore as a small business, well, it only made sense to write about that too.

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