SHTF Quilting

The Des Moines Quilt Show is this weekend. I’m bugging out for some much needed Stitch ‘n Bitch time. As usual though, I’ve got my opinions and SHTF thoughts that need sharing.

What’s with all the Rhinestones?  – Modern American quilting has really gone off the deep end with the bling. Many of the winners of the top prizes last year had rhinestones in between every stitch of the closely spaced hand-stitching.  Every. Stitch. Sure, it’s pretty I guess, but who has the time/money/patience/space to do that? I enjoy the quilts with more traditional materials, materials I do keep on hand.  These quilts inspire me to do new things with what I have on hand, and give me ideas for the Works-in-Progress that are languishing.

No Workshop For You– One of the highlights for these quilt shows are the workshops led by knowledgeable quilters of the American Quilters Society. Sadly, the best of the workshops are before 5 on weekdays.  *sigh*  So, any of us quilters with day jobs, are totally out of luck.  I count myself fortunate that I can carve out time to head down on Friday.  It’s probably just as well there aren’t any good ones during times I could go, at 45$ or 75$ a pop, (plus material/pattern) these workshops are not cheap.

Where’s the Focus? – Sure, the AQS would love for me to attend an all day workshop on how to best stitch a quilt to get the maximum amount of rhinestones on it. But, really, does that match with any our lives?  I want to know things like: is it possible to reuse thread from old projects? What’s the best part of an old quilt to save? How should we choose quilts for refurbishing?  What’s the best alternative batting material when factory made cotton ones are hard to find or too expensive?  If I had cotton, how would I go about turning it into a nice flat batting?  What’s the best/strongest/easiest way to hang a window quilt?  What’s the best material to maximize the R value? (either on a bed or on a window/wall.)  These are topics I would spend money to go learn about with a knowledgeable quilter.

All that aside, I am looking forward to the time with the quilting women of my life.  I have projects and gossip to share. I love seeing all the local quilts up on display. I love all the crafting booths with lovely ladies peddling their home-made fabrics, yarns, threads, embellishments, kits and supplies. A lot of these crafters are entrepreneurs, trying to make a living with something they love doing, and it shows in the quality of goods available.

I’m certainly not about to stop quilting or going to quilt-related events.  It’s a craft with a long history of making lives better during SHTF events. And I love the useful items I can make for my family. Even if the current batch of quilters seems more interested in bling than warmth, at least they are making something that won’t disappear in a market downturn.

Do I have any fellow quilters among the SHTF readers?  What are your thoughts on the turn modern quilting has taken?  Non-quilters, got a quilt with a story? Do share.

– Calamity Jane