I’ve got mixed feelings about pre-cuts. Initially I thought they limited creativity, in the same way that I sometimes think lines of fabric do—everything seems to be thought out for you and there’s not a lot of challenge. But I’ve found that they can be just the thing to kick-start some original thinking. A while back I made a quilt with pre-cuts and it sparked my creation of a quilt without a pattern. That might not seem like much to some of you whose brains think in blocks, but I was quite pleased with myself, as that’s not how my head works.
This morning I got up and started thinking about an upcoming wedding. I wanted to give something personal, but to be honest I wasn’t looking to create an heirloom. I knew earth colors would appeal to the bride-to-be, and I remembered a layer cake of Deb Strain Cherish Nature fabrics I’d picked up a year or two ago. The colors and images were perfect, and so I made a simple quilt of just squares.
It turned out to be a completely satisfying way to spend a few hours. Laying the fabrics out to distribute lights and darks took nearly as long as sewing them together. Just like last weekend, I was reminded how much I enjoy being in my sewing room, listening to great Saturday programming on NPR (Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me, This American Life, The Splendid Table…a total treat, one right after the other), watching Pearl look out the window, listening to the rain. This top and the one I made last weekend were both speedy, but both reminded me of the pleasures of sewing, inspiring me to think about making quilts of more complexity and challenge when I have the time.
For our 25th anniversary, a former neighbor stitched for us a very simple quilt. She made it extra long so that it would cover Paul (who is 6’5″). We still use it, nearly 10 years later, and love it. I wasn’t a quilter at the time, but I was so touched by the the time and thought that went into it. There is a time and place for the quilt police, and for blue-ribbon quality quilts, but I’m a true believer in every kind of sewing and quilting, even if the outcome isn’t something that will wind up in the quilt history books. The pleasures of making, and giving, and hopefully of receiving, are more than enough.