Last night I went to my guild meeting (The Berry Basket Quilters, Medford, NJ) because I heard that the owners of Bellwether Dry Goods in Maryland were going to be the speakers. I wish I could take credit for the beautiful quilt in this post, but it is one of theirs.
Bellwether is a company which sells antique quilts, new quilts from old fabrics and most importantly, offers the most amazing hand quilting services I've ever seen. Dick, the husband in the venture does all of the quilt marking, then the quilts are sent out to one of their contract quilters (they have over 100) and hand quilted. The majority of these quilters are Amish or Mennonite women and they range in age from 18 to 80!
Dick and Georgina Fries, the owners have the most engaging personalities. They must have shown between 50 and 75 quilts last night, many of which are for sale on their website. But, as I was taking copious amounts of notes, I came to a realization about my quilting journey and the projects I make.
Most of the quilts that called to my heart last night were very traditional, simple patterns, done in traditional colors. These are quilts in my "comfort zone". As I looked at them, I realized that I don't have to work outside my comfort zone. These are the quilts that sing to me, that make me want to do more quilting. Whenever I step too far out, although I often am pleased with the results, the quilts just don't find their way into my heart. As I looked at the beautiful hand applique (which they design from old quilts, then send out to Hmong women to applique) I knew that I needed to more of this, in colors I would be comfortable with.
I often feel pushed to work with bright colors as I read articles in magazines, thinking that if I don't try these new colors, new designs, new methods and techniques, I will be "behind the times" and out of sync with what is happening in the quilt world. I guess I'm easily swayed by advertising! It occurred to me last night that these antique designs are timeless...they are as attractive now as they were 75 or 100 years ago and I CAN make them and be delighted with the process and the result!
It was a revelation for me. I was furiously writing and sketching in my notebook, not thinking about what I was putting on the page. Quilts made with simple blocks were sketched, quilting ideas included. Here are a few of my notes:
Use up brights, get rid of them!
Simple blocks make striking quilts!
Sort stash by style...brights, comfort colors, neutrals
Dear Jane - make my own version with blocks I like. Why duplicate hers? Think outside the box...BE MAVERICK!!!
I came home all fired up and ready to sew. But...it was 10:00, I'd been up since 5:45 and reality set in, so I went to bed. I can't wait to get out of school on Monday and set to work in my sewing room, sorting stash, designing quilts in EQ5 and sewing. I'm so looking forward to summer!