Tuesday, April 05, 2011
Here are some patterns I’ve bought over the years. I have used one element from one pattern in a quilt I made (a horse head called Horse Happy from Chickadee Charms). I didn’t feel I wanted to go through all the work of figuring out a simple horse head when there was one I liked easily available. On the top of the pile is the very first pattern I bought in the early 1990s called Nasturtium Quilt by Sally Lampi.
When I bought it I did not know how to appliqué and the directions were confusing to me. Nowadays, I have the skills and I could make the quilt but I don’t want to. I still think it is lovely looking.
The first quilt I made didn’t use a pattern. It was just simple square blocks for a baby quilt in 1993. I had a quilter friend, Carole, and she went to the fabric store with me and helped me pick out appropriate cloth. She showed me how to sew ¼ inch seams and how put the blocks together. I bought cardboard alphabet letters at a teachers’ store and traced around them on fabric and fused them to some of the squares. I did an embroidered bead stitch around all the letters so they would not come loose in the wash (that quilt was washed and washed and washed and passed on to my grandson’s younger brother). I quilted random stars on it by machine and hand quilted around all the letters and blocks.
I still plan to make The Wild Onion Jacket by Susan Conn Italo. I’m going to get to it any minute.
All this rumination was sparked by a comment on my last blog post. Gerrie Congdon said, “I think this whole process is very interesting - as someone who never uses patterns . . .” I thought to myself, “never uses patterns! How could that be?” Oh dear. Then I realized that I hardly ever use patterns even though I design and sell patterns. I do buy patterns however. I make some art quilts that are more spontaneous than a careful, patterned quilt.
Here are some reasons a quilter might never use patterns:
1. You don’t like pieced quilts, they are old fashioned. 2. All quilt patterns look alike to you. 3. Patterns are too expensive. 4. You sprang from your mother’s womb knowing how to make a quilt (and you don’t use cooking recipes, either). 5. You can look up a traditional block in Barbara Brackman’s Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns and draft your own on graph paper. 6. You have a computer quilt design program and use the blocks in it any size you want, and you design your own unique patterns. 7. Or, as Kathy Schmidt said the other day on the QuiltArt list, "You paint, you stamp, you screen print, you burn and melt and do some stitching to hold your layers together." 8. You only like appliqué.