Monday, February 11, 2008

Coming Out of the (Scrap) Closet

This is not a quilt that would ever accompany me to a trunk show. I gave you a glimpse of this quilt in an earlier post, but I didn't have the courage to show you all of it until now. Thank you for all your lovely encouragement about my scrap quilting; it means a lot to me!


Made from old curtains, an old lady's scrap collection, some Wal Mart and remnants, lots of old skirts and blouses, an apron, and some thrifted stuff. Border from JoAnn fabrics on the Mainland somewhere (because we don't have one here).


You know, sometimes it takes some courage to make something you really love, especially if it's out of the mainstream. You sometimes have to ignore what your friends will think or what your public expects of you. You must be brave enough to make a quilt that not everyone...maybe not anyone but you...will like. Worst of all, if you show it to your friends or guild, you'll have some explaining to do. Puzzled faces abound.



Frankly, I have never come up with the perfect thing way to explain it. Why is my quilt made of shabby old scraps? Why do the quilts I like to make look like rumpled up pajamas? Why don't I always make my quilts elegant or tasteful or artistic if I'm financially able to? Why do I waste my time on simple patterns and cutting up old clothing? Why am I delighted when I run out of border fabric and have to make do with patching in something else?




I can even afford to send my quilts away for professional quilting--which of course would look a whole lot better than my own attempts, but I don't. I like my crummy little machine quilting squiggles. They're mine and I love them.

I wish I could explain what compels me; I don't know why I love to make quilts like these. These scrappy quilts just speak to my heart in ways that "elegant" quilts or quilts made of new fabric do not. I CAN make beautiful, trendy, intricate quilts; they just aren't my favorite. They don' speak to my soul. That's my only explanation.


Everything I truly love to make looks homemade and well-used. Homely. Sincere. Soft. Old. Sweet. Cherished and well-loved by its owners. I hope these are the words that will describe me as I grow older. Hmmm...maybe I've just figured me out a little bit more....


Day two of the Mailbox Vigil. Waiting for my Monica-made Strawberry Needlecase from Happy Zombie to arrive. Bleah. Just bills and junk today. No needlecase yet. I can't wait!!!

On the walk back to the house, a beautiful sunrise hibiscus beckons.

22 comments:

Vickie said...

wow Lisa I love your quilt too me it looks fantastic-I admire those then do totally scrappy,I'll get there one day..and wow that quilting is great-did you do that with a domestic machine or is a embroidery machine,
cheers Vickie

jan in nagasaki said...

you don't know me... but I just learned a whole lot about you from this post. I too, cut up old clothes. I feel huge great pleasure from creating a quilt from stuff on hand. I have dozens of books and magazines with hundreds of patterns and I find amazing satisfaction in just sewing the scraps on hand. I counted and I have made 11 quilts in 11 years. ALL hand sewn, all hand quilted. Probably not "winners" but loved by all who have snuggled in them. I say MORE POWER TO YOU and keep on just enjoying it.

really great post.

Su Bee said...

You love those rumpled old pajamas because they are us. Those are our histories and our hugs and comfort, and the makers of those wonderful twice-warm quilts are the true practioners of our heritage as quiltmakers. (how's that for high falutin' language?) But true - it's why we love our Grammas more than we love the scions of high fashion. Your quilt is wonderful, and it's too bad you don't have freezing days to cuddle up in it with cocoa by a fire.
OK, so it's not too bad, ROFL!!

anne from finland said...

Hi Lisa, Your quilt is just perfect! There are memories and love sewn in it! The real quilts are always made of used fabrics. I´ve saved my children´s baby sheets for quilts. Earlier we also used to cut old clothes for weaving rag rugs, but not any more so often.

QuilterSal said...

I can't add anything new to the comments already posted...Your quilts are lovely, in all their glory. I, too, have a tough time making 'art' quilts, or non-traditional quilts. I just love the 'old-time' patterns, just like your spool quilt there. That pattern is on my list of "Want to make someday" quilts. Love, love, love your work. Can you freeze potato salad?????

CONNIE W said...

To me the quilt in the photo is beautiful, beautiful and says "quilt" in every way. I love the scappy fabrics and it's a treasure.

Donna said...

I too love this quilt and all your quilts. The whimsey and comfort your quilts have is just what one needs in life any more.

Andrea said...

My true love is definitely scrappy - art quilts leave me cold. Nothing like snuggly, scrappy and "lived-in" quilts. I love your machine quilting - I need to practise something other than a meander.

upstateLisa said...

I love scrappy quilts too! and yours looks great!!!!
I wish I could see some flowers today as lovely as yours! We are just buried under snow and below zero temps!

Karyn said...

Andrea used the perfect word to describe the quilt -- "snuggly." Isn't that what quilts are supposed to be all about?

It's really beautiful.

sewfun56 said...

Hi Lisa....gee...and when I thought I have seen all your quilts....another pops out of your closet!

Cute quilt!

I'll go back to now...to my Red Monkey!

lunachick said...

That quilt is beautiful. I loved your book, "That Dorky Homemade Look" It had me laughing and crying at the same time. I only started quilting a few months ago but yet I instantly felt like you knew exactly what I was thinking in my little quilting world. Scrappy quilts are the best. My grandmother made one for every one of her 10 kids and 20+ grandchildren and we all love them more than any others. Thanks for sharing!

happy zombie said...

I feel like I just follow Connie W around and add "exactly what Connie said"! Connie said so well what I was thinking, but couldn't find the words. Your quilts are EXACTLY what a quilt means to me. Full of love and beauty.... every thing I think a quilt to be. And your quilt is beautiful and it would be a CRYIN' SHAME not to have it in a trunk show!

I see quilts like yours - your style, your scraps of treasure - and this is the kind of quilter I want to be (though the pull of my LQSs is too strong... much too strong). One of the reasons like like to use muslin on quilt backs or pieced quilt backs is I feel like I'm making do, using what we have - like back in the day.

Lisa... you inspire me so!!! And your Hibiscus is amazing! Too bad they only last one day. :o(

happy zombie said...

I guess I should proofread BEFORE I hit "publish". Ugh.

Mary Anne said...

I gotta tell ya ...... I LOVE that quilt !!!! It looks like Aunt Bee and Mayberry !!! Very comfy and cozy !!!! Now we need to sit on the front porch and have some homemade apple pie and ice cream .... and leisurely stitch another quilt .... (big sigh......)

... and .... your quilt in your previous post ...... also gorgeous!! (and I don't think making a quilt over the course of YEARS (plural) is such a bad thing .... in my book, it's the only way to fly .....gives me quality bonding time with my quilt-in-progress !!! (I know, I know,.... some would just see this as a rationalization for not finishing projects "in a timely manner" ...... hmmmmmmm.)

...oh, and I'm envying your walk to your mailbox ..... I had to put my boots, mittens and snowsuit on to walk out to mine today....

cinnamongirl93 said...

I just adore true scrap quilts. I'm glad you ventured out of the closet to share it with us! Scrap on!
P.S. I think the sunrise hibiscus is just stunning, I have never seen a hibiscus like that one. I'll have to search for the seeds so I can grow it here in the summer!

qusic said...

I followed the "zombie" link to your blog and I am stunned, such a cozy quilt. I am sitting here in fabric heaven between lots of new bolts and I can say they do not stir me much . What stirs me to create a new piece are tiny old(er) scraps(thought I was a little bit crazy, but as I read your post,I feel at home with I what I believe is important in quiltmaking). And we all are not a guild group, beware! I do not like them much, but a bunch of excited girls oohing and aahing over the pretty and cozy
traditional treasure you made.
Christiane delurking ;)

Fiona @ Dragonfly-Crafts said...

What a beautiful idea for a quilt. I'm sure I can find more fabrics in my old clothes in my wardrobe too. Thanks for sharing, you are giving me sooooo many ideas.

Dawn said...

And you, my dear friend, speak to my soul when you write about what motivates your passion for quilting....that same need & desire that moved so many beautiful women before you...which is actually an extension of who they were/are. They took their thread-bare garments and fashioned them into things of beauty and love. And that is a priceless expression of what they/we really are.

Thanks for expressing that, Lisa.

J said...

Your quilt is beautiful! This is what quilting is all about, to me. This quilt has something interesting to say, many interesting things to look at...and shirts, remnants and rumpled pajamas came together to make something lovely. Perfect, flat, boring, made-from-one-line-of-fabric quilts do absolutely nothing for me. Nothing. If that is what mainstream is, then I am definitely, happily, out of that loop.

Marit said...

I love your scrappy spools quilt!!!! Maybe it takes a lot of divertion in the choice of fabric to create such a beaty. I am planning a scrappy spools quilt, an am hugely inspired by you. Thank you for posting this.

Amanda said...

I guess I missed this post of your gorgeous scrap quilt. I was scrolling along trying to find your Corn and Beans (gorgeous, too) when I saw this beauty.

I would carry this quilt with me wherever I go, even a trunk show.

I love scrap quilts, and ones made with clothing scraps from my Mom sewing for me or me for my children, are what's best. A lot of times my scraps are memories of fun quilt shop trips that I have made with my quilting friends, too, or fabrics that they given me.

Thanks for showing with us your quilt.