Saturday, in the midst of what is to us, a heat wave, the thermometer topped out at 32 Celsius (89.6 F) and we had our first Quilt ‘til you wilt in our new location. And what a treat it was! The room has so much space - tables and chairs - for about 18 people (and their machines), has great lighting, lots and lots of electrical outlets, access to a small kitchen with microwave, fridge, a nice big sink, washrooms very close by and is air conditioned! What more could we ask? We only had a small group of five for our first ‘wilt’, but considering it was a beautiful sunny day in mid-July, we weren’t really surprised. I’m sure in the Fall the numbers will swell. Here are Kim, Marianne and Sonja busy with their projects. Lois and I were manning the cameras! As you can see – we had lots of room to spread out! This is a classroom in our local university satellite campus and because one of our members is a nursing instructor there, we don’t have to pay any rent for its use.
I’ve been thinking a lot over the last week about Prairie Quilter’s blog post “Another one bites the dust”. When she initially posted her blog, I immediately responded with some of my thoughts, and I’ve read everyone else’s with a lot of interest. Everyone had great responses, but I was particularly interested in the post by Kathy Hylton on Saturday. She wrote about the gentleness of the craft and how it now seems to be ‘how fast can you get it done’, the hurried pace, the rush to completion. It really came home to me Sunday morning when, in my in-box, I had an e-mail from Keepsake Quilting with the subject line “Quilting Quickly Fall 2014 is here with 12+ exclusive kits”.
And I think that’s part of the problem. The magazines. Lots of wonderful patterns. And a kit for every one of them so you can get that top finished ‘quickly’. Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy the magazines and they showcase the newest fabrics, many of which I would never see if the magazines didn’t exist. They often include directions that help me with a new skill and I like to see what’s new in the quilting world.
But for me, part of the enjoyment of quilting is finding a pattern that would be just perfect for (insert name here), going to a quilt shop, touching the fabrics, imagining how the finished quilt would look and feel with this fabric or that fabric, choosing just the right shade of blue or green to go with that piece that I bought three years ago with no set plan for its use, but knowing that eventually the right pattern would come along and I could make a beautiful quilt with it. When it comes to bed sized quilts, I don’t buy kits because I want to choose the fabrics myself. I want the finished quilt to reflect my personality or the personality of the person that the quilt is intended for, not the personality of the person who made up the kit. I have purchased a few small kits – for placemats or bags and other small items, and I do buy the kits that come with the paper pieced wall hangings I make, but for the most part, I’m happier buying the individual fabrics. And if it takes me a year to finish a project, so be it.
Like all things, quilting is changing. I could see it in the classes offered in my LQS over the past couple of years. Machines that do everything – from the most basic of stitches to the most intricate embroidery were the hot item in the shop. Many of the classes offered were for the ladies with embroidery machines and yes, they made some lovely items, but it wasn’t quilting. And with the changes, I guess the buying habits of quilters are changing as well. The small shop just can’t compete with the huge on-line presence of the fabric companies. It’s rather like the small mom and pop store trying to compete against Wal-Mart and Costco. I think we are the poorer for it.