Hi Boys and Girls!
We are in the age of aquarius...uh-oh...I am showing my age! Really, we hear a lot about "going green," "getting back to basics," "living a green lifesyle," "quality of life rather than quantity," and on and on. What does all this mean? Well, from my viewpoint, we as humans are seeking a simple life filled with all that is good and things that truly make us happy. Look at the revolution of cooking meals together? Hasn't that really made a resurgence? You know in your own life it has. Turning the TV off during dinner and playing a board game after dinner keeps the family interacting. Well, we do see a change in our world...Speaking of world...how about the quilting world?
My world was rocked last weekend! I attended a 2 1/2 day machine quilting seminar with the Mother of Machine Quilting, Harriet Hargrave http://www.harriethargrave.com/. She is the guru of quilting and I am in awe of her work. Harriet is sort of the Elizabeth Cady Stanton http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elizabeth_Cady_Stanton of the quilting world. That may seem like comparing apples to oranges to many of you but just think about it. Thirty year's ago machine quilted quilts were not accepted for judging at the Houston International Quilt Festival http://www.quilts.com/. All of you young'ns out there may not realize it, but machine quilting is relatively new. Elizabeth Cady Stanton initiated the first women's rights movement in 1848. Where would we women be today without women's suffrage? She was a daring woman!
Harriet Hargrave is the first woman to have a quilt accepted for judging at the Houston Quilt Festival that was machine quilted! That was a big thing and caused quite a stir in the quilting world! Trail Blazer...that is what Harriet was and still is. She was a brave woman!
Well, this machine quilting seminar was sponsored by Common Threads in Waxahachie, Texas. http://www.commonthreadsquilting.com/ Not only is this a fantastic quilt shop, it is in the cutest, old town you would ever want to visit! http://waxahachietxcoc.weblinkconnect.com/cwt/External/WCPages/
I am getting off track, right? And you are saying, "What does this have to do with getting back to basics?"
Well, I will tell you. Harriet Hargrave is old school. She believes if you are going to do something, do it right. My dad ALWAYS said that! Harriet has been sewing all her life and learned from her mother. Where they differed is in the quilting world, Harriet's mom was a hand-quilter and Harriet wanted to use her sewing machine. And so it goes...brilliant minds with different ideas. But they both had a common ethical thread or value of quilting...do your own work and do it well. And so evolved the mission of Harriet Hargrave: to teach the love of quilting using a sewing machine. Here is the dedication in her book Heirloom Machine Quilting: As always, this book is dedicated to my mother for the love of quilting and sewing that she shared with me throughout my life, and to the many thousands of students who have shared their time with me these past 25 years of teaching. Together we have brought machine quilting to standards of skill that we couldn't have imagined in the beginning. This sounds like a dedicated person to me. You can find this book on Amazon. Be sure to purchase the 4th edition. You can experience the workshop like I did but without Harriet. She actually taught the book.
Each room had a theme. This picture is the Thirties Theme. There was also the Civil War theme, Thimbleberries theme, Batik theme and a lot more. Each bed had a homemade quilt. The bathrooms were spacious and shared by 4 roomies. All the food was homemade and served to us in the dining room. We did not even have to take our plates to the kitchen! Boy, it did not take us long to start loving that!
The work area was huge. This picture only shows 1/3 of the space. Work chairs were provided so we did not have to bring our own from home. This is very important especially for machine quilting. Often we sit for hours at our machines and lose track of time. Harriet suggested we stop, look up and out the window for a few seconds and then get back to work.
A lot of my quilting friends say they hate binding their quilt. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=buCKs-Fgvb4
This video on YouTube will show you how to bind a quilt. Well, some people hate this part of the construction. I love it. To me it is the final stage and my way of saying good-bye to this quilt that has been my friend for months. Yes, I have cried during this stage!
It is hard to describe what an enlightening weekend I had with Harriet Hargrave. She not only taught me the basics of machine quilting but also gave the real story behind batting, threads, needles and the fabric world that we all love.
No, I will not be quilting my own quilts right away. Some of us made a commitment not to start another project for 6 months! Yes, you heard correctly....This does not mean no shopping! Of course, we can continue to work on our current projects. But the theory is this: if you start another project machine quilting will be pushed back a bit more. Each day it is pushed back makes that pile of unfinished quilts a little higher. So, I made that commitment. I want to own my quilt that I started. I want to say "I created this work of art from the beginning to the end."
Thank you Harriet Hargrave!
So go out there and do what you love doing! Make it yours...if it is worth doing, it is worth doing right.
Until next time...call your mother, give something away that you really love, stop and smell a flower,
feed the squirrels, take your kids to the park, love yourself!