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Can’t We (Quilters) All Just Get Along?

April 15, 2011

The quilting and sewing worlds are abuzz about a series of posts by Sandi of Piecemeal Quilts.

Dresden Plate Pillow - very traditional!

I first read about the series through Craft Gossip, one of my favorite sites for all things creative.  (Think of it as a Google Reader that’s already set up for you!)

Here’s my nickel version (but do read Sandi’s three posts!): “Modern Quilters” are holding back those learning through them and not encouraging growth in the art.  The labeling of techniques as “intermediate” for a modern quilter vs. “beginner” to a traditional quilter can do more harm than good for someone turning to the internets to learn to quilt.  (Please note: This is just my opinion of the three well-written posts on Sandi’s blog – mine condensed into a few sentences!  Really, though, read Sandi’s posts and form your own opinions!)

Scarlett Burroughs who moderates the Quilting area of CG posted a well-worded, gentle opinion piece in response to Sandi’s posts.

Here’s where I stand: I see it both ways!

I was not fortunate enough to be taught by my mother or grandmother.  In fact, my mother and I both began quilting very recently.  It’s been fun to discuss this new connection.

Anyhoo, I am one of those sponges who can absorb anything through words and pictures.  I bought a book and taught myself to knit.  I opened my sewing machine’s instruction manual and learned to sew.

That said, I love the “Modern Movement” that’s happening and all the not-so-stuffy quilters’ blogs out there.

Close-up of my appliqued wall hanging for Spring

I look around my studio and see whimsical machine appliqued pieces.  I also see very traditional Log Cabins with perfectly straight lines and precise intersections.  Next to them are wonky Log Cabins.  The idea for me is to learn one technique then step outside my comfort zone and change it up a little.  (Wonky wasn’t part of my vocabulary a few months ago!)

When I first began sewing a little more than 2 years ago, I had no idea where to start.  So, I Googled quilt shops in San Antonio and landed myself in Seventh Heaven Quilt Shop.  I must admit: The flowery fabric background on the shop’s website and the photos of women older than my mom sewing stars didn’t make me want to hop in the car and zip over.  But, I needed fabric and advice, so I grabbed a cupcake, freed my mind and headed to Alamo Heights.

I was greeted at the door by a tall, white-haired lady.  “Great,” I thought, “I’m going to get that what-are-you-doing-here look” (like I got by the women at the Evil Fabric Store).


Dixie, Seventh Heaven’s owner, welcomed me right away and immediately began to ask if I was working on a particular project, was I looking for a certain fabric, did I have any questions and let her know if I needed her help.  She gave me a quick tour of the shop, showed me where the sales fabrics were and introduced me to Judy at the cutting table.

Then she complimented the necklace I had made.  Well, more like, she wanted to see it and study it.  Then she took it – and me! – to a back room where ladies had gathered for a class and passed my necklace around and told them I had only been sewing a little while.

There was this room full of women who’ve probably been sewing longer than I’ve been alive acting so excited to see something new!  It was that moment that my heart danced because sewing is something that transcends ages, generations, styles, qualities and trends.

Books and blogs have taught me great techniques, but spending time in local shops have taught me what sewing and quilting are all about: Creating something that makes you feel good.

I love meeting other sewists and quilters and discussing what we’re working on, what we’re struggling with, where we shop and what we want to do next.

I love that I walk into Seventh Heaven and Las Colchas and am welcomed as an old friend – from the first time I stepped foot in the shop to yesterday when I went to Las Colchas to pick up some fabrics.

I love that the ladies who work in these LQSs want to see pictures of what I’ve just finished.  They hug my children and know their names.  They playfully jab when I’ve been absent for a while.

Most of all, they offer the insight of “traditional” and embrace the movement of “modern” and love both just the same.

~ ~ ~

Please note: This post is in no way meant to condemn or condone the opinions expressed by others.  These are just my opinions in what is a hot-button issue!

Seventh Heaven Quilt Shop
6706 N. New Braunfels Ave
San Antonio, TX 78209

Las Colchas
110 Ogden Street
San Antonio, TX 78212

Evil Fabric Store
Shall remain nameless.  If you live and quilt or sew in SA, you know who they are!

4 Comments leave one →
  1. April 30, 2011 9:30 am

    Hi I honestly bumped into your blog not even sure how –link party I think. Anyway I love your style of writing. You drew me in right away. Thank you for this post it was insighful and inspiring. I am a BRAND new sewer and quilter and so it was very fitting for me.

    • April 30, 2011 12:46 pm

      Hi Becky,
      Thank you for your kind words! Writing is something I love, and my style is just like I talk. (Well, minus even more goofy puns and random laughter!)

      Welcome to the world of sewing. It’s fun and frustrating, inspiring and challenging, relaxing and stressful.

  2. May 8, 2011 3:40 am

    Hi Mary Anna –

    I do live in San Antonio and I do know which is the Evil Fabric Store!

    • May 8, 2011 1:11 pm

      Hi Robin,

      We’re so lucky to have some great ones too. I’m partial to Las Colchas but am also on a first-name basis with the ladies at Seventh Heaven. Memories by the Yard, Sew Special and The Quilt Haus are worth the drives too.

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