Another quilt! This was another of my spring break finishes, and it’s just a small wall hanging version of the Home Street Quilt from The Blanket Statement. I was immediately drawn to this pattern when it was released and decided to participate in the quilt along Erin hosted. My hope was that the quilt along would offer a few tips and tricks to help me expand some of my basic quilting skills since this is a self-taught hobby for me and I’ve been figuring it out as I go. And I did, indeed, learn some really valuable stuff from the quilt along—stuff that ensured that this quilt turned out well but stuff that I’ve already applied to other projects. So it turned out the be a really useful experience and a nice middle point between just trying to learn from working with a particular pattern and taking a more formal class.
Speaking of resources for self-taught quilters, the actual quilting I did on this was inspired by the “gentle curves” motif described in the book Walk: Master Machine Quilting with Your Walking Foot by Jackie Gehring. This is such a great book, and I’m glad I have my own copy now. I really enjoy the process of quilting with my home machine with a walking foot, and this book offers some really helpful tips for success and then a bunch of different examples of motifs you can easily achieve with a walking foot. I generally like the look of fairly dense, fairly minimalist quilting, but I also don’t want to just stick with straight lines or basic grids without ever trying to branch out. And this book has some really helpful examples of motifs that I think will help me continue to stretch my skills but that will also always help me find just the right match for whatever quilt top design I’m working with.
I made this piece to hang in my office on campus. The fluorescent lighting probably isn’t doing it any favors in terms of displaying it, but I like getting to look at it everyday. This is one of my favorite things I’ve made, and its nice to be able to look up from my desk on a particularly frustrating day (of which there are many at this point in the academic year) and just be reminded that, at the end of the day, I can make some pretty cool shit.
Since I came back from Spring Break, I’ve had a few different things where I have to engage in prolonged professional small talk, either with people I only know through work or don’t know at all. And I’ve been struck by the fact that when people are talking about what they do in their free time (or whatever free time they’re willing to admit they have in these situations where people feel compelled to present themselves as working constantly), I actually have very little interest in talking about the things I make. I’ve talked about shows I’ve watched and books I’ve read and things my kids have done or said. But I don’t feel inclined to share my craft interests, and when I have shared a bit, I’ve kind of wished I hadn’t.
I think there’s sometimes an innate value given to things like writing poetry or playing music or even cooking and baking. There’s less of a sense of craft as clearly valuable and interesting. And I don’t have any shame or any apologies about what I do or how I spend my time—I mean, I wear the clothes I make and use the backpack I sewed and have decorated my office with quilts and needlework projects. I’ve written about making my own clothes. I have this blog and a public Instagram account. People vaguely know that I make things, but a lot of people don’t really know what that looks like for me. And that is fine. I don’t feel like I need to hide anything, but I also am not particularly interested in being a craft ambassador. I’m happy to talk about this quilt with anyone who asks about it, but I prefer to wait and keep the fuller view of my creative life in reserve to share with people I know will respect it.
- Pattern: Home Street Quilt from The Blanket Statement
- Quilt top fabric: 4 prints from a Ruby Star Society Heirloom fat quarter bundle plus cotton chambray shirting left over from a previous project and some undyed muslin
- Quilt back fabric: an old (pre-Ruby Star Society) Cotton + Steel print that’s been in my stash forever
- Batting: leftover 80/20 cotton poly batting