Quilt top by Rosie Lee Tompkins of Richmond, California. Quilted by Willia Ette Graham of Oakland in 1986. From Eli Leon’s collection, from the exhibition Who’d A Thought It: Improvisation in African-American Quiltmaking at the San Francisco Craft and Folk Art Museum.

Just thought I’d share a few links from around the internet. I’ve been thinking a lot about quilting, obviously. Why am I buying fabric, cutting it up and sewing it back together? That’s odd. So I’m thinking about necessity, hobby and art. People quilt for those reasons and many more, I’m sure.

I’ve also been thinking about quilting traditions and the differences in European style versus the folk art, improvisational style of rural American quilts made in places like Gee’s Bend. What I keep coming back to is the fact that when I see a beautiful, detailed and perfect quilt, I am amazed by the technical skill of the maker. But when I see a graphic, improvisational quilt, I often have a strong visceral response. I think any argument about which quilts and styles are better than others is nonsense. Everyone should make what they want for their own reasons.

I thought this article comparing improvisational quilts to jazz was really interesting.

And in unrelated news…

If you are thinking about trying to publish a craft book, Kathreen’s series over on Whip Up is full of helpful tips and guidance.

I’ve enjoyed reading the Reflections and Predictions series over at Sew, Mama, Sew! If you missed it, it’s worthwhile to go back and check it out.

A college friend and photographer, Kathleen Robbins, has an achingly beautiful photography project featured on NPR, called In Cotton.

And I thought I’d mention the internet piracy bills again. It’s worth educating yourself about this topic and speaking out if you feel so inclined. Although SOPA appears to be dead, this will continue to be an issue and we should pay attention.

And if you live in Atlanta:

the beehive is having its giant warehouse sale this weekend, so go check that out. I love this shop and so glad to see local, handmade things close to home.

Speaking of, Youngblood Gallery is having a nice show of local artists in February, and of course they always feature great artists in their shop.

The new fabric collection, Washi, from Rashida Coleman-Hale, is popping up in fabric stores. You can head over to Intown Quilters to check it out.

4 thoughts on “Etc.”

  • I’ve been thinking the same thing about cutting up perfectly good fabric into pieces and the sewing them back together. In some ways it seems like such a crazy first-world thing to do. But the flip-side of that is viewing fabric as a medium, just like clay or paint

  • I just started reading the article that you linked to about improv quilting and jazz. While I could easily get into a deeper discussion of how as someone who was classically trained in piano and have a college degree in it I’m terrified to leave the notes on the page that someone else has written, where in quilting I only follow my own voice and never a pattern and how rewarding that is, what occurs to me is how beautiful the quilt you’ve posted here is and how so many teachers of quilting would criticize the waviness, the non-matching points, and the freeness that gives them that emotional depth. I want so much to emulate the “shoddy, artless work of unskilled craftspeople” and not worry about what a critic would say or how it would be judged in a show! I made a quilt for Christmas for someone and I realized as I was making it that I care less that someone open the gift and say “oh, how beautiful” when they see one of my quilts, but that they feel they know me that much better because they’ve seen what comes out of me going through the process of making.

    Obviously I have a lot of thoughts to work through with this, but thanks for the link and spurring the conversation.

    PS: In that article, the compound strip & medallion quilt are amazing, and I love love love the description of showing the two double wedding rings. Although I wouldn’t describe the second as “improvisational” – it’s definitely more folky, but there had to be a lot of planning there, too!

  • Love your site – combing through the older posts.
    Got to tell you there’s a perfect logic for cutting up and reassembling fragments of fabric – it’s magic.
    My tot tells me so.
    My mother’s day card this year (which she made at school) said “Thanks for sowing me my magic quilts”
    Apart from the sowing sewing spelling issue this made me really happy.
    I’ve made piles of (magic) quilts for both my kids and when I’m stitching them (both out of fabric scraps and perfectly good fresh pieces of fabric) I’m thinking about how the finished result will wrap them up at night and look after them. There’s love in those stitches and there’s magic in the way the colours and the patterns come together.
    So, yes, I’ve questioned all that ‘cutting and sticking’ as we call it in our house but it does make perfect sense.
    Also, just the other day I saw a 250 year old quilt and thought to myself – maybe, just maybe, these things will still be going when I’m long gone!
    All good things to you and your readers. xxx

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