We were talking about quilt rules one day with my Otterbees…. how to miter a binding, or a border. I listened and when asked how I did it, I just told them…. “my way”. I chuckled when I found an article about “rules” in an Australian magazine. They listed rules that are now all broken…bindings, perfect points, coordinated colors, hand quilted….the list goes on. In the 40 plus years since I have been making quilts everything has changed. But if you attend a quilt show, or meander through a quilt magazine, you will see some fantastic art.
Thirty years ago, when I lived in Florida, I joined a quilt guild for the first time. I had made quilts for my kids beds but never took a class or learned the “proper” way to sew, quilt and bind a quilt. I used my tiny Singer featherweight machine to stitch the pieces and quilt the tops.I made quilts to put on the kids beds for a reason. A very large quilt, that goes from floor to floor on both sides of the bed and foot to top over the pillow makes making the bed easy. Just pull it up and no one knows if the bed is properly made, the sheets tucked in, or, in fact, if there is anything hidden under the bed, like yesterday’s clothes or old toys.
I entered three quilts in the quilt show in Florida, machine sewn and machine quilted. They were hung in the show but the committee that awarded prizes was not sure what to do with a machine quilted quilt. So they made a new category. I was awarded 1st, 2nd and 3rd prizes for my three quilts in their own category… and the only three in the show. My husband calls them attendance prizes.
Today it is a whole new story…. machine sewn, machine quilted, crazy array of fabrics, strange shapes- Quilting is in a whole new era. I don’t enter quilt shows today. I have another venue for my quilts.
I have had some hung in a local church. I have a few that have made it to a day care center. I gave some to a local hospital for their long halls and to a children’s hospital for the kids who have come in for long term care. I have seen them in local libraries.My daughter has some she hangs in her preschool class room. Of course my kids and grand kids all have quilts.
I was rewarded this week in a new way . A local children’s rehab office moved to a new location. I had made a few quilts for their bare walls and was curious if the quilts made it to the new location. I had to go and see and was rewarded hugely. My Eric Carle Brown Bear and The Hungry Caterpillar quilts were hung on the walls. In fact as I was given a tour of the rooms prepared for children’s rehab and play, colorfully decorated with bright colors and equipment, I saw one of my quilts on every wall, even one hung backwards as the design was faded but the bright fish fabric on the back was perfect . I was thrilled and am currently making a new fish quilt for their wall and another for a wall they missed.
This is my reward -award-for doing something I love to do, making quilts my way for people to see and enjoy, but not to pick at and ponder how they were stitched or bound.