Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Quilt Month: 1

Well, alrighty then! I've been meaning to write this post for quite some time now, and Mr. Monkeysuit's quilt month is a good reason to do it! Though it's the 17th already. Heh. Ahem. Oh well, better late then never! (That's my thought on getting quilts done as well, if you hadn't noticed:)

So, my issue is with the controversy over tied quilts. This was my quilt from when I was a kid:

Notice it is tied. Which mean, of course, that I grew up with my quilt being a simple one. It was a few yards of cloth, sewn together to make a full sized sheet, backing and batting added, and then tied. It now looks like this:

Why would I save this? Because it was mine. I remember it from my childhood, it has always been around. This wasn't done by my family, but it was done by the women of my Great grandmother's ward, for my mom, 30 years ago. This is literally a piece of my family and community's history, even if not done by family hands. What was done by family though are these:

My son's quilt, pieced, tied...

My daughter's quilt, pieced, tied...
I dare say that it isn't the stitched quilting that makes it a quilt, but rather it is the effort involved, the love that is put in, that makes it a quilt. Mom made both of these, plus others, for my kids.... And yet I am told that they aren't "real" quilts. So lets look at that, shall we?
QUILT: a coverlet for a bed, made of two layers of fabric with some soft substance, as wool or down, between them and stitched in patterns or tufted through all thicknesses in order to prevent the filling from shifting. (

Tufting is tying, really, and all "quilting" is are the stitches placed to keep the three layers together. Tying is simply stitching with a greater distance between the stitches then a more traditional stitch. I say traditional because it was once necessary to stitch closely to keep the batting in place. Modern battings have made tying a very viable option for quilting and for me is the preferred method. I have tried machine quilting, and I have to say that I prefer cuddling with a tied quilt. They fluff and become squishy because the batting is allowed freedom to, well, squish.
Really, what it comes down to is semantics and personal preference. Tying is claimed to not be quilting, and I say it is only the distance between stitches that changes peoples views. Well, are we now going to be stitch Nazi's? With tape measure in hand to see if it's "real" quilting? Please read my smile into that statement, but really, think about it. There are those that claim it is only a "real" quilt with "real" quilting if it's done by hand! Well then, tying is more "real" quilting then machine quilting is, as it's done by hand:)-
My point is that to define a craft that is done to share love seems to be a sad way to perpetuate joy. A quilt, 2 layer's of fabric with a batting in between held toghether with stitches, is a physical embodyment, and manifestation, of warmth... Joy... Family... Friends... Home. It is not lightly that I share my quilts with people. And, possibly, why I don't make all that many. Quilting is personal, I've seen it first hand just what a quilt can achieve in the right hands. So, please, don't judge a quilt by the distance between stitches. Judge it based on the love it represents, and the joy it brings.