Thursday, July 22, 2010

dakota cabin quilts on 'the lost arts' . . .

Good things can definitely come from the FabShop Hops. For one, you might, JUST MAYBE, be selected as one of the MAJOR prize winners. I've never been, but people have, so shop-hopping paid off for them. It's paid off for me in several ways . . . twice I've won coupons to online stores (which I've promptly used) and I often stumble across quilt shops that I might not have otherwise found.

Such is the case with Dakota Cabin Quilts.

I came across this site looking for that elusive, fast hopping bunny, and found a quilting shop's site that I truly enjoy. It's well laid out and is neat and organized. I even signed up for the newsletter, which I love to read. In fact, by permission, I'd like to share some very poignant words from the July 18th newsletter:
Good morning.

I recently overheard a casual observer refer to quilt-making as a "lost art". The man and his wife were standing in front of a beautifully pieced quilt on display. They were talking about the quilts made by their mothers and grandmothers, then sadly lamented, "it's such a shame that quilting is becoming a lost art".

I couldn't help myself. I introduced myself, and politely explained, "Quilting is the number one indoor hobby for women in the USA, ahead of scrap booking. Fortunately, the art of quilt-making is alive and well."

"The total number of quilters in the USA now exceeds 21 million, and 14% of USA households are home to at least one active quilter," I said, quoting the most recent Quilting in America survey. As we visited a bit, I urged the couple to visit their local quilt shop, or attend a quilt show.

I know quilting isn't a lost art. Far from it. But why not? Why did quilt-making stand the test of time, when other textile arts such as tatting, spinning, weaving, smocking, and some types of needlework are not as commonly practiced as they once were?

I have my theories. I'd like to talk to an expert, and I really should go to Lincoln, Nebraska, to visit the International Quilt Study & Museum.

But, in my mind, a variety of factors contribute:

1.) Tools. I know, I know, I'm a "gadget girl". But, the invention of the rotary cutter, accurate acrylic rulers, and self-healing mats transformed quilt-making forever. That, along with wonderful sewing machines & long-arm quilting machines, made a world of difference.

2.) Useful beauty. Set art quilts, wall quilts, and decorative quilts aside for a moment. Bed quilts are really useful. In fact, I don't know what our family would do without them. Car quilts, picnic blankets, sleeping/sun mats, or a warm wrap on a chilly day. Wedding, graduation, baby, or Christmas presents. Lap quilts, throws or bed quilts. Warm seasons, wet seasons, cold seasons... Quilts come in really handy. Dedicated quilters make a lot of quilts, and immerse themselves and those around them in their creations.

3.) The quilting community. From the leaders in our industry (pattern/fabric designers, educators, historians, award-winning artists, and more), to the quilt guilds, and the families and friends who stitch together, quilting is about the people. We're a pretty cohesive group. It's hard to sum up in a few words: creative, artistic, passionate, hard-working, dedicated, generous, and at times just a little crazy. Of course it never hurts to have a great sense of humor about life & it's challenges.

Case in point. A quote from an "Itty Bitty Witty Knitty" card: "A queen-sized quilt is 83” x 92”- 3,435 of these little jobbers… What do you suppose are the odds of finishing the top before Jesus comes back?"

We all know there's something a little bit strange about starting with a lovely stack of fat quarters, carefully cutting them up into little pieces, arranging and rearranging them, and stitching them back together again. And yet, we do it. For the simple pleasure of making something unique and beautiful with our own two hands.

Quilting is not a lost art.

The reason?

It's you.
Wasn't that wonderful? Dwell on that for a while -- we're forging a history for quilting that will be quite unlike any other of the textile arts she mentioned. How cool is it to be a part of that movement?

Very cool indeed!


ps -- now go visit Laura at Dakota Cabin Quilts and sign up for her newsletter! :)

6 expressed . . .:

Pat said...

LOVE that reflection about quilting. As for the online shop-hops, I was NEVER able to find that bunny on any of the shops I visited, so I gave up after awhile. Maybe you'll have to give me tips so I can be more successful the next time!!! :)

Lisa Leggett said...

Hi Denise,
Thanks for popping in to my blog today! What a great article you've shared with us! I'm in the process of making my first quilt and really enjoying it! I knew quilting was popular, but I had no idea it was *that* popular! And thank God for it too!
Have a great night!

Quilt Hollow said...

I used to play the shop hop game and look for those bunnies all the time and did have some good wins. However...between quilting and blogging..I have no time for those little bunnies and will leave those for you! :-) Good luck on your wins!!

Linda said...

Hello Denise, I just came across your blog from Charming Chatter - I'm one of the Charming Girls. I've really enjoyed your blog. Today post was very interesting. As are the quilts based on cards. It's nice to meet you.

Micki said...

What an interesting post about quilting. You really do have a way with words!

Linda J. said...

Hi Denise, I found your beautiful blog today. I so admire quilting. Many of my friends here in Kentucky quilt.