Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Follow the thread

This blog has a bit of a split personality. The majority of the posts have to do with my professional work as a food/features writer for magazine. Other posts give a glimpse into my burgeoning, strictly amateur sewing life. This post does a little of both.

In the current issue of the Urbanite, I profile the African American Quilters of Baltimore (AAQB) who celebrate their 20th anniversary this year with a two month long show at the James E. Lewis Museum of Art on the Morgan State University Campus, August 7 through September 30. The article discusses the guild's history and members' perspectives on African-American quilting. And as a beginning quilter, it was fascinating, inspiring, and even a little overwhelming to hear how these women imagined and completed their own quilts.

The few quilts I've made have been for friends' newborns, like this one:

But this spring I took part in my first quilt swap via Modify Tradtion blog. In a nutshell, I told my secret partner what I like in a quilt and she made me this:

My secret partner recipient (not the same person who was making my quilt) told me what she liked in a quilt, and I made her this:

Sarah's quilt is beautiful enough to be included in a show. My technique still needs work. But the challenge of making something based on someone else's taste for someone I don't know one bit is an experience I'm looking forward to repeat, and the internet makes this incredibly easy. Although in our interview, one of the AAQB quilters speculated that fewer women are quilting, the plethora of sewing blogs, virtual quilting bees (where one quilter sends material and block patterns/suggestions to a group of other quilters who make blocks and send them back to the original quilter to put together as a quilt), quilt-a-longs, modern quilt guild chapters, etc. suggests to me that quilting is alive and well, even if the quilting community is diffuse rather than concentrated.

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