Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Quilt Show Dissapointment


I don't exactly know where to start this post. I went to the quilt show put on by the Pine Tree Quilters (Maine State Guild) and was sadly disappointed. I went for inspiration and found very little. There were two over-the-top drop-dead-gorgeous quilts from nationally known quilters and a handful of very nice quilts but the rest was remarkably mediocre. I don't intend that to sound mean or condescending. The workmanship was great, but the spark was missing. I had taken my shopping list because I thought this would be an opportunity to see a wider variety of fabrics than my two LQS can offer. I was so wrong. The vendors booths were full of kits and pre-cut assortments (jelly rolls etc). The few bolts, FQ and 1/2 yards they did have were either Amy Butler clones or reproductions. Does it say anything that there were 500 quilts on display and I only took 43 pictures? And I often took more than one photo of a quilt.

We seem to be living in a quilt world full of Turning Twentys and Yellowbrick roads brought on by jelly rolls and bali pops. I'm sorry, how much creativity does it take to pick 5 fabrics from a collection, cut squares and rectangles put an edge-to-edge pantograph on it with a stitch regulated machine and do the binding? They are great for quick projects and wonderful for beginning quilters. But no one understands how to change block sizes or increase quilt dimensions. Maybe I sound like a granny but "when I learned to quilt" our first class started with drafting blocks and how pieces worked together and the sanctity of the 1/4" seam allowance.

I have stopped all my magazine subscriptions because every one is full of un-remarkable patterns that use a single collection. When was the last time you saw a pattern list fabrics as "dark, medium or light instead of something like Aviary floral calligraphy #6543-921?

We seem to be living in a period of "No Quilter left behind". Bonnie Hunter of Quiltville posted today about her fears that no one will be looking for a book with nothing but bed-size quilts. I think her book is just what the quilt world needs more of! Her quilts use lots of fabrics, not just one collection. They have lots of pieces and still can be made quickly enough to satisfy the time-challenged quilter. These quilts have character and allow for self expression.

I actually overheard a lady at the show extolling the fact that this was such a nice show because a new quilter would not be intimidated by the quilts... WHOA isn't that what you go to shows for? to be inspired and challenged? To be exposed to new techniques that will help take your quilting/piecing/color choices to a new level?

I have recently gone back to doing some hand piecing and made some discoveries that have made my piecing more precise. Regarding the hand piecing- There is a quiet revolution going on at LindaFranz.com. Inklingo is bringing hand piecing into the 21st century. You print your cutting and sewing lines on the back of your fabric with your regular printer. Easy, Fast, Precise...what more could you want? The piecing help came not from the hot new designers book but in an out of print book by Judy Martin from the late 90's. I guess it all comes down to trends and I always seem to be out of sync with them. Whatever it is, I can't wait until quick and easy quilting gives way to something that involves a bit more challenge.

OK- Rant over and thanks for listening.

"Don't tell me not to burn the candle at both ends
Tell me where to get more wax!



shannon said...

leslie- i have been saying this VERY thing for 3 years now...i also long arm and let me tell you it's dissappointing to get the same quilt over and over and over...

i was taught quilt piecing the 'old school' way. drafting a pattern and cutting out templates with sandpaper glued to the back, the whole kit and kabble! the religious1/4 inch seam and how important is was...

i'm glad to see i'm not the only one who shares this view....i was thinking i was getting quilt diva-ish

happy stitching...

Jessica said...

good rant!
(I came by way of Shannon's blog-- congrats on your win, btw!)