Saturday, February 7, 2009

How to Make an American Quilt

I truly wish I knew you?

My first attempts occured this past summer. I'm making a crazy quilt. I figured a crazy quilt was a good place to start since you don't have to stick to a pattern (and I have a major problem doing that. Guess I'm too rebellious!) I know. I know. Crazy quilting is meant to use up your scraps and I also know that many people don't consider crazy quilting a true form of quilting. Again, the no pattern thing won me over.

How this all started -

Ten years ago I finally watched the movie "How to Make an American Quilt". If you haven't seen it you should. You may not agree with all of the actions that occur in the movie and it may upset your senses a bit. However, I've found that these scenarios are completely accurate in most people lives, unfortunate as that may be. Please don't misunderstand this as an endorsement for living your lives that way. Sometimes our lives are made more palatable by knowing that others experience the same problems.

If I recall correctly this movie came out about the time of "Fried Green Tomatoes", which is another movie you should definitely see. Actually, if you're so inclined, I recommend purchasing both of these movies because you'll probably want to watch them over and over again.

Anyway, back to my original thought. "How to Make an American Quilt" follows along the story line of a Quilting group that makes various quilts together over the years. The movie tells of how the group came to be together and provides other stories that make up the participants lives. Together, this group makes one beautiful quilt after another. Without further giving away the story line I'll say that making these quilts has become a source of release for them, good and bad.

Quilting is an art form. It's an expression of the creators inner most thoughts and feelings. Like all other art forms, the object can be kept private or displayed for the world. The maker can also choose whether or not the item can be utilitarian or just for looks. This movie illustrates these points and tugs at your heart strings. It instills in you a deep desire to create something that can be passed down through your family for generations.

The point -

The crazy quilt I am currently making is designated for one of the walls in my living room. We have an older cottage that stays cool all year round. This tendency is fabulous during the summer but terrible for chilly winter days. Being a history buff, I remembered that larger homes originally used tapestries to ward off winter chill, thus the idea to create wall hangings. My children are welcome to pass the quilt on or keep it for a similar use.

I wish that the fabric swatches I'm using meant something to me personally. There are people that save their children's clothing to make quilts for them as wedding gifts and such. There are others that simply save every scrap of fabric they've ever owned to re-purpose them. The fabrics I have were skirts from a local thrift store, chosen merely for their color or oddities. I suppose there will be little to reminisce upon when looking at the finished project.

Perhaps one day I can aspire to be one of these "savers of memories". It is on my to-do list. And maybe by the time I finish my quilt I'll have a unique story to share about the journey...

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