I completed this quilt months ago and it juried into QuiltCon 2016 in Pasadena in February. This is one of my all-time favorite quilts. Its beauty may not come off well in my photos but it is a quiet quilt. Quiet quilts do not tend to do well at shows or in competition.
This is probably my favorite quilt to hold in my hands. It is feather light and very drapey. The quilting gives it a texture that is delightful against the skin or to rub your fingers over. As I hold it in my hands it just simply delights me.
There is a message behind this quilt and its title: QBI (The Quiet Beauty of the Imperfect). It’s a personal message for me. I love the imperfect. It’s a preference. There is beauty in both the perfect and the imperfect. I love to hold things that are beautiful and revel in their imperfections.
There is a trend in the judged quilting world towards striving for perfection. It is rewarded by the judges. There is a lot of skill and art in that.
There is also a trend in the domestic sit-down machine (dsm) world to make our quilts mimic long-arm work. That is not for me. I will occasionally use a ruler if for some reason I want a dead-straight line. But I have no desire to do curved cross-hatching, perfectly straight lines, perfectly formed ovals or circles. Nope, not for me. At least right now…
Now hear me: Every quilter builds their own quilting world. I do. You do. In MY quilting world, dead-straight lines do not fill me with joy. I don’t want my work to look like it has been long-armed. I delight in the simple, quiet pleasure of my domestic sit-down machine. I do not hold a secret desire for a long-arm machine…even if I had the room…and the money, etc. That’s my world.
So QBI was hatched from my appreciation of imperfection. My design inspiration came from Yoshiko Jinjenzi’s book, “Quilt Artistry”. I was smitten by her white whole cloth baby quilt onto which she hand-quilted designs that mimic patchwork, and then added an adorable Prairie-Point edging. Such simple beauty.
From there I decided to create a white whole cloth quilt with 7″ squares with 1″ sashing in between each square. It’s an odd size, 7″, but that was the maximum size of block I could quilt relatively straight lines in. Any larger block would have had seriously wavy lines. And all of this was faux because it was whole cloth-there was no piecing. I wanted each square to be different, so I set about creating different designs for each of the 20 squares. Then I added a 5″ faux border with a more improvisational quilting plan.
A disturbing event occurred along the way to this quilt hanging in QuiltCon. I received my acceptance letter in December. QuiltCon is the most difficult of all quilt shows if you go by numbers-there were something like 1800 entries for less than 400 acceptances (if you have exact numbers, write me and I’ll correct it). I know that to be way more than Houston or Paducah. So I was accepted-whoop!
A month later, I’m teaching at Craft Napa and I open an email while on break titled “QuiltCon Entry Issue with QBI”. The email stated that there was a problem with my entry, as it was determined that my quilt was copied from a pattern. I needed to get permission from the artist and only then would QBI be allowed to hang!!! I was flabbergasted, insulted, angry, embarrassed, humiliated and indignant. I felt as though I were labeled a poser, a thief, a fraud. This is a MONTH after my acceptance!
I limped through the day and composed a short e-mail simply expressing my confusion with what had just happened. I received an email early the next day with this first line: “I made a mistake and sent you the incorrect email. Please disregard my previous email with the subject line “QuiltCon Entry Issues” and accept my sincerest apologies.” The rest of the email contained a form letter about how to send my quilt, dates, etc. No explanation. What happened? I’ll never know.
That was one of the worst feelings I have ever had in the quilt world. Someone thought I was copying someone else’s work and calling it my own!
One of the hardest of all things to do when quilting on a dsm is to quilt a straight line. So I knew my lines would have wobbles. I did mark some of the lines in each square or it truly would have been a mess. When I first started quilting this, I knew that initially I would be cringing over each bobble. But I also knew that as the imperfections grew, the more purposeful they would look and I would achieve that “perfectly imperfect” look.
So this is a quiet piece. You have to slow down to appreciate it. When you move it around you see different patterns of shadow. I love that. Also I love how the cotton shrank when it was washed, leaving randomly dispersed wrinkles. Hmmm, kinda reminds me of myself.
I haven’t had it professionally photographed yet so it’s not the best representation of the quilt. White is really hard to photograph, for me at least. Coincidentally I am driving to the Bay area tomorrow to try a new photographer. Wish me luck! I did not want to wait to post about this quilt as it has been a long time since I posted anything personal about my quilting world. I still have one or two more quilts that I have not yet written about.
Next week I will be teaching at the International Quilt Festival Chicago. My classes have filled up nicely with one completely full. After the show I will get to see my future daughter-in-law, and then my son and I will drive to central Illinois to visit with my Aunt. We will stop by my hometown to see an old high school friend before my son drops me off at O’Hare. I’m excited!!
I’ll be linking up with Nina-Marie’s Off the Wall Friday. If you haven’t checked it out you should-there are some excellent links every week.